One Night In Chicago
By Curtis Johnson
In the black of night, it was an uninviting neighborhood; but there I was, all alone. During the day, all seemed trouble free, but the darkness creates a whole new world. Even though new to the community, Why did I not know to be vigilant at nightfall? At nineteen, whether naïve or unthinking, I paid the painful price via a strong armed robbery.
About midway down the block I saw two bodies turn the corner, heading in my direction. Although I had never been robbed, I felt an uneasiness and the sense that this will not be good. When we met, there was no verbal exchange between us. They reached into my jacket and took the money where they apparently had observed me putting it. There was a gun, and certainly I was afraid. I didn’t know what to do, but I was calm. No words; no resistance.
I was simply one among thousands who are victims of crime in the big cities. I was also among the many who refuse to be immobilized by the fear of criminals. What was it within me that compelled me to carry on with my plans for the night? Why did I not rush home in panic mode, and lock myself inside until the break of day?
There is a “God planted” device in the human spirit that overflows with sheer determination. There lies within the human psychic a mentality that will not be bullied into a lock down zone.
Conscious or not, there is a voice within us saying, “I’ve got people to see and things to do”. 'There are people who need me; I’ve got places to go”. “Fear can’t bind me; so stop me if you can”.
That is why I was able to go home, freshen up, and walk right out the door to catch another bus on those same dark and dangerous streets. Recovering drug addicts on the North side of town were waiting to go to church that night; and as a volunteer driver, it was my job to take them. They enjoyed their night, never realizing the terror of mine. On that one dark Chicago night in the early 70’s, I lost the $90; but I gained a sense of focus and sheer determination that have served me well for a lifetime.
No, there was nothing different or special about me; Yes, like me, thousands on a daily basis refuse to be held captive. And yes, my small framed and bold hearted grandmother would have said to me, “Get on it, and get it done”.
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.I would like to translate this poem