Keith Charisma, author and lecturer, has a devotion to exposing the plight of the families who comprise Black America. A devoted father, he commits to a style of writing that is experiential, comedic, and laced with a reality that his children can relate to and his wider audience can appreciate. He lives in Lexington, Oklahoma, surrounded by a cast of characters who are sometimes portrayed in his work.
A CONVERSATION WITH A TREE
A tree will never reach the sun, but that doesn’t stop it from trying.
I lack the motivation of that tree, I’m not even lying.
I’ve been deceived, manipulated, and fallen victim to myself.
I know I should read the Bible but frankly that’s a book I tend to leave on the shelf.
You see, I’ve always had a hard head -was never one that believed crap had a stink.
That hard head led me to a dungeon – isolated misery in every thought that I think.
But when you have no man to tell you how to be, trial and error become your father figures, permanently.
That’s why I’m so tired – I’ve bumped my head for too damn long.
I might as well be honest with you; my life is a perpetual Mary J. Blige song.
I’ve asked men to help, but they just stare at me.
Guess I’ll ask this old, sturdy, lifeless tree.
“How do you stand in a storm? How do you know when to bloom? “Why is your bark so thick? Does it grow through and through?
“Who planted you in the soil – right where you are?
“Did you do this yourself or did you follow a pattern written in the stars?
“Your leaves have an odd shape – mutation or planned?
“And what makes you better than me – after all, you’re a tree and I’m a man!
“I can cut you down and chop you in pieces.
“I can break your limbs – at least the one’s my height reaches.
“I can join an army and be all I can be.
“All you can do is stand here and be a tree.
“Why don’t you say something – or are you afraid of me?
“Defend yourself or lose my respect permanently!
“Oh, I get it. You’re the type who doesn’t answer what you consider foolishness.
“Silent, strong, reserved. Well, your silence is disrespectful, so I’ll digress.
“Hey Tree! The wind is blowing! Duck and hide!
“And it looks like something is being hurled into your side!
“Wait a minute – why are you shedding your green turned brown leaves?
“And that fragrant emitting – is that from your flowers, Tree?
“Talk to me! Tell me something! A simple man is what I’m trying to be! “The source of your strength is still a mystery to me.
“I discovered a diagram of what I think you’re trying to hide,
“It shows me that you’re as tall and strong as you are on top of the ground on the inside. “Your roots run deep and they hold you in place. “They’re strong and vast, full of potential, time, and space.
“A plethora of life they bring to you – and they provide the strength you need to bloom.
“They clutch the earth because theirs’ and your life depend on the clods.
“They do all the dirty work while you reach for the stars.
“The laws of gravity try to keep you from outer space – but your root system supports your ambition – what purpose, what grace!
“As you reach up, they reach down – you go for the sun and they chant ‘Go for it’ from inside the ground.
“You have a support system of me – roots that support you and help fulfill your destiny.”
A tree will never reach the sun but that doesn’t stop it from trying.
And a strong man I’ll be the day I give myself to my dreams and let my roots support me.