Poetry: Calamity

AFABW Int Poetry of the Month

March 6, 2023 – Los Angeles: Rodney Johnson’s passion for poetry and education is tied to his deep-rooted Rastafarian beliefs and love of community.


Moving out is a calamity
Going from a warm bed to a yoga mat is a tragedy
Replacing chicken wings and collard greens with rice and random veggies is challenging
My hard head doesn’t allow for softening
I first moved out at 14
I was not ready.

Keith a good brother of mine stopped my couch surfing before it started
We bonded that summer
Learned that we both felt discarded by parents
He was orphaned.
I told him I wish my father did the same
By the time my mother saved the day it felt 2 years too late
What she realized is her first son was filled with rage
Tongue quick to disrespect any authority sent my way
That was not the heroes welcome she deserved.

The worst move you can make is leaving yourself without one
After 3 months without one I came home
Broke. Broken. And bed bugs buried in my clothes
My mother looked at me the way you look at a calamity
Not sorrily, but unwavering.
Never taking her eyes off of me
I realized then that black women are storm chasers.
Will weather their own whole seeking yours
Will not abandon you if it turns to catastrophe
Would only leave if you’re not brave enough to face yourself
I still wasn’t ready to move out
But at 22 my mother told me to chase my dreams
Even if they cause a calamity.

by Rodney Johnson of Washington, D.C.
Copyright © By Rodney Johnson. All Rights Reserved.