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Poetic Roots of My Beginnings

By Mark Anthony Hall

Have you ever wondered who you are? I mean things like your behavioral nuances, your quirks and your idiosyncrasies? I have always found it a fascinating ride of discovery, finding out who I am, by studying my parents.

My dad is a man of African-American descent (along with a host of other influences), born in the state of Alabama in the year of 1921. My mother is a woman, also of African American descent (along with a host of others), born in the state of Oklahoma in the year of 1926. As of this writing (2013) they are both still alive and have been married to each other going on sixty-four years come May 1st.

Because of the times and the era into which my parents were born, their strategies for survival and personalities were shaped and developed by fire. Alabama, affectionately called, “The Heart of Dixie” by its citizens at that time, challenged every fiber of my dad’s soul.

My dad is a strong minded man, but most of all he was witty. He was influenced the most by his grandfather who was a “Circuit Preacher” in Marion County and beyond. He was progressive, yet he learned the art of not ruffling a lot of feathers as he moved forward. Alabama of the 1920s demanded this kind of style.

On the flipside, my mother was an outspoken Oklahoman. She would not only tell you what she was thinking, she would give you solutions on how to correct what you had done wrong. After a period of strong progress post-emancipation proclamation, the African-American people of Oklahoma witness terrible riots and were subjected to bombings and murders; that the history books of America rarely like to tell. Nevertheless, these two unique individuals found each other and I am their offspring.

This collection of poems and prose is a true but small view into their worlds and eventually my world. There are three chapters in this collection, Alabama, Oklahoma and Chicago. Chicago is where they met and married. Chicago is where I was born. Welcome to my fascinating discovery of me! There is so much more, because the roots go so deep. Hopefully understanding will lead to some sort of peace and real progress.

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