Sunday, June 2, 2013

Poets Show Lighter Side of Trenton

TRENTON-- The week before last, I had a great opportunity to visit an open mic poetry event at First Baptist Church in Trenton, New Jersey. The event was hosted by Neikel Butler, the director of a poetry program at the Boys and Girls Club.

During this event, poets, young and old, recited their work. One in particular, Raul 'Polo' Cortes, took the stage and provided the audience with words of wisdom by saying that we need to renew the mind and keep the candle lit, metaphorically speaking. Another poet did a piece on 'pride' and recognizing the importance of practicing humility. Another poet said that it was important to be who you are, reminiscent of Shakespeare when he said, 'to thine own self be true'.

Another bard went on to chime in with a refrain, "I'm going to the bank, the bank, to invest in MY PEOPLE", something that is needed in a community like Trenton where people that 'make it' financially leave or flee instead of giving back.

All in all, it was a great Friday night that inspired me to keep fighting. Alas, living in a place like Trenton, I recognize that the city has seen better days and needs more events like this one that show its lighter side. All too many times, when people think of a Friday night in the state's capitol, they automatically think 'its gon' be some trouble'. And to be honest, who can blame them, when we hear stories from the Trentonian that report that there were eight (count them) eight people shot during Memorial Day weekend alone, it seems as though people's fears may be justified. Yet, I say that's only one side of Trenton.

There's a lot of positive things going on in Trenton. From Union Baptist Church's Quick and Clean Car Wash today to the Comedy Show they are having at the War Memorial, the people here in the city are moving and making things happen. I, for one, want to build upon that momentum and see more positive things happening. I am presently working on a Book Fest that is scheduled for sometime in July.

I think there is a real need to encourage people to read and imbibe in the written word, especially in the city of Trenton where the literacy rate is dismal according to the Times of Trenton. So I will keep you posted on this special event in July as new developments arise, so stay tuned...

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