Louis Ellenwood Barlowe
M. Harrell, Jr. is a native
Chicagoan, born and raised on the Near North side of the city – in
the very shadow of the Cabrini-Green Housing Projects. Young Curtis,
along with his family, migrated to the South Side of the city, to
the Morgan Park neighborhood, in the very late 60’s, immediately
after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. made staying any
longer in the old neighborhood impossible. Nonetheless, he never
forgot his roots.
Angel In A Dark Place
Come, close your Golden Eyes once more,
And fall into the dim and hellish abode.
There, in the Womb of Darkness,
They will surround you, each to every side,
And put your mettle to the fearsome test.
With lustful envy, and cackling glee,
They yearn towards, and flutter from,
The innocent fervor in your eyes,
And the guileless passion of your tears.
They are the Despised Ones, the Hated Ones
The ones who would dare strip your fledgling wings
Of their vast and magnificent power.
Their fiendish lord will pursue you
Through the rain-soaked, crooked alleys of Fear,
And strive to immolate your tender soul
In the fiery tomb of his own self-hatred.
His minions will hunt you, and stalk you, and corner you,
Battering down your upturned arms
Again and again and again,
Until it seems as if the entire world will
Bulge forth and burst, for want of holding back
Your raging sorrow.
But fear not.
For behold, I am as a Shield
Upon that upturned arm,
And never will I abandon you.
Even as the Shadows, closing all around
Attempt to swallow all, but the very purest heart,
And just as the malevolence without, imperils the virtue within,
Then, even then, will I be at your side.
When the tempests come screaming down
From black clouds unseen,
And the daggers of an icy heart are more sharp
And more cold
Than tortured skin can bear, or tormented soul can heal,
Then be stilled, and be heartened,
For I will strike them all aside,
And cast off their wicked ardor
Like rose petals in a soft wind.
Therefore, be not afraid,
For though they may test the seeming strength of you,
Believe this; that your best strength is not yet known.
And though they would besiege you
With torrents of numbing anguish,
Know that I am with you, and near you, and of you.
Know too, that I am you, and our strength
Will carry us forth
Until the very end of Life, and Time.
© Copyright, 2015, Louis
Ellenwood Barlowe .