There Is Only Old People Here. All the Children Are Gone

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Art work by the author

There’s no hope for a better tomorrow.

There’s no vision or dream for a better reason.

The paths are darkened by fear and evil forces that dwells in the darkness that roams the corners of the street.

There is only old people here.

All the children are gone.

Children cannot be a child, playing the games of innocence.

They play with toy guns that shoot real bullets and a child becomes still with death and a friend lies dead on the cement. They play a game of hop-scotch, hide and seek, jump rope and baby-doll.

The fun is cut short when a ride-by shooting casts a shadow over the games they played and leaves an inexperienced, ungrown child without a spirit and becomes a numerical fact of unknown faces.

As the hop-scotch drawing on the sidewalk is covered with blood and the jump rope lies   in silence like a sleeping snake, the bullet sought and found a small innocent flower and took its life away. And the baby-doll cried, “Momma-Momma!”

There is only old people here.

All the children are gone.

The young minds and souls live in fear and they’ve lost their childhood to the oppressors and they become enslaved to false advocates of life.

Their teachers are the ugly faces, deluded minds, smiling teeth of lies and death.

The crack cocaine chieftains, heroin lords and marijuana mambas spread their poisonous venom of confusion and doubt into the minds and souls of children.

And their innocence is snatched from their little souls and placed on the street and sold for man’s profit. Without concern for the young and tender unspoiled life, with no experience, no knowledge beyond their childhood.

Society of man are the evil villains of the street. Their minds are locked in murderous and devious thoughts, as they prey upon the innocent little bodies. Without emotion, compassion or empathy.

They are pulled from the classroom and playgrounds;

recruited into their evil world, of crime, and negative attitudes.

The children become mature and grow into adulthood and bear fruit from a child’s womb in a desolate place without wisdom and without understanding.

The children are led into despair with no dreams to dream and no fairy tales to read.

There is only old people here.

All the children are gone.

Guns, drugs and gangs lead the way into the darkness of black shadows of people in the street without feelings.

And they say, “What’s love got to do with it?”

Destruction foams from the skies and promises of wealth, fame, and good times and the money is easy.

All they have to do is sell their souls. Just follow the path to riches, glittering like gold. But in reality, it is death which is not very far. The children live in deprivation of not knowing right from wrong because they were not taught. Not caring about today or the future—and they die without a full enriched life. Babies dying on the streets: killed by babies. Not knowing what living is all about or the meaning to exist.

The symbols of the games, the designer clothes, scribes of tribes on the walls of the city and colors are shown, telling the world, “I am here and don’t mess with me.”

A baby Hood waves a gun and says, “I am a man and I do as I please.”

As they hold the cold, deadly steel in their childlike hands, they say, “What have I got to lose?” Bang! Bang! You’re dead!

There are only old people here.

All the children have gone to the graveyard bed.

Where there were smiling faces, there are only angry and sad faces pictured in the streets.

There are no kind words from their lips and they carry hearts that don’t care. Only these words are heard: “Hey, my man! I need a nickel bag!” I need to go where I’ve never been before and may never go again. I need to stand on the rock and ride the white horse to my destiny and feel Mary’s hand touch my soul for today I live and tomorrow I may die. There’s no cause to look for a new horizon or a different direction.

The children are lost in a society of measured white-collar politics, contaminated minds of the men in the executive seats.

They are wandering aimlessly in the corridors of humanity without souls, without victory and without justice.

Books are closed to the learning factor and the doors are locked to empty minds and the slaves are in the master’s house and they replaced the books of learning with guns that shoot bullets without names and drugs that are not gracious. A mother holds her child to her heart; she has picked up the small limp body from the curb of the street and she weeps.

Everyone stands and looks with arms folded and stone faces for no one hears her cry. There is no one to blame. Only the night knows the story and it holds the secrets, but it will not tell. The brutality of the systematic killing field of genocide takes another young life to the graveyard bed.

There is only old people here.

All the children are gone. They are dead.

Mrs. Cleveland is an artist, writer, and playwright who is inspired by her admiration for the experience and endurance of African Americans through the centuries. She was born in Louisiana but has resided in Urbana for many years.

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