Nobody said, when I was born:
This one will be raised a racist.
And I did not, with my first gasp,
make any decisions at all.

It was just in the web of threads
I walked through as I was growing,
wrapping 'round my mind from watching,
sticking to my mind from lis'ning.

It mixed with all the other threads
running unseen through the weaving
of my personal tapestry.

Then from the corner of my eye
my teenage mind glimpsed awareness
of the threads doing their weaving
of the threads already woven.

And there, flowing bright and shiny
was music, a thick strand of it,
and that thread was weaving more threads
each pushing forward new questions.

What was it that blew in the wind?
What should I do with that hammer?
What needed to be overcome?
Where, indeed, had the flowers gone?

Alongside these pulsing questions
was other music woven tight —
love songs I couldn't get enough of.

Walking in the Rain, Stand by Me
This Magic Moment, One Fine Day
Baby, It's You, He's a Rebel

And the thread binding them to me
did not have a distinct color,
just the hue of the human soul.

From this came a profound knowing:
The singer's color didn't matter
and if it didn't matter in song,
it didn't matter in anything.

So through weaving by my own hand
I added this resonant thread
to my still-growing tapestry.

And though unwanted threads remained
— we are all stuck with what we've lived —
better threads of our own choosing
can make our weavings worthier.

Harry W. Yeatts Jr.