ImageLangston Hughes once asked, “What happens to a dream deferred?” He offers rather depressing suggestions to answer his own eloquently asked question before asking a grand rhetorical question: “Does it explode?” And I never really knew what that felt like. Because I’m safe. I play it safe because I don’t want to take risks, because risks can get you into irrevocable trouble and risks sometimes do not pay off. I’ve often felt that, if I cannot guarantee that positive things will  happen, I cannot jump in and take the risk. It’s the way I was brought up.

But Langston Hughes had everything to lose on the outside, on the margins of what was then considered ‘society’. And he is the only person who could have asked this question and answered it in such a way that it not only hopes for, but demands an answer. It’s for these reasons that this has been my favourite poem, and for these reasons that I’ve realized: it does explode, it will explode, and it can’t not explode. First it dries up, yes; then it festers, then crusts, then it explodes. It’s coming. It might even be here. I just need the final ‘okay’.


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