The Poetic City: “The Secret of His Serenity 9/17/2016”           


Fire Company Mausoleum (photo by: Derek Blackadder)


The Secret of His Serenity
He claimed to know one thing 
and one thing only: that it didn’t matter
if you were black or white,
rich or poor, man or woman… 
we are all heading to the same place.
Over and over I heard him repeat 
his litany of the obvious…
And, if Fred had not been Fred, 
it would have whizzed past me
with hardly a “so what.” 
But Fred was Fred:
poor, Black, uneducated, and
always behind the eight ball. 
He lived in half a shotgun double,
with his wife and four children.
He worked a hot dirty job,
drove a shiny second-hand car
that was nothing but trouble, 
and he had no prospects 
for advancement.  
Yet, Fred was the most peaceful 
man I had ever met. 
It was New Orleans, 1968,
and the world was aflame 
with assassination and anger.
I needed to understand the secret 
of his serenity…
So, I studied Fred every chance I got…
Every time we talked, I listened.
Until one day it dawned on me why 
he was saying what he had to say 
every time he had the chance to say it. 
That it didn’t matter whether you 
are rich or poor, white or black, 
man or woman… We are 
all heading to the same place.


You must login to post a comment. Need a ViaNolaVie account? Click here to signup.