July 8, 2020
“Poetry in Our Times: Protest and Pandemic” Conversation with DeAnthony Carter

During the month of July, Indiana's Poet Laureate Matthew Graham will explore the themes of protest and pandemic with Hoosier poets. This week, he highlights DeAnthony Carter's poem, "Broken Expectations."

Poetry in Our Times: Protest and Pandemic
Curated by Matthew Graham

This is not a time to be silent, especially for writers. If COVID-19 opened the door to a national awareness of long entrenched and unacknowledged social and racial indignities and injustices, the murder of George Floyd blew that door off its hinges. As State Poet Laureate, during the month of July, I’ll be posting poems by Indiana writers addressing many of the issues that have come to light in the last four months. I hope these poems will begin or continue important conversations we need to be having.

I’m starting the series with a poem by DeAnthony Carter entitled “Broken Expectations.”

DeAnthony Carter will be a senior this fall at Purdue Polytechnic High School in Indianapolis. Earlier this year, he won the Poetry Ourselves competition for original poetry by youth in Indiana. During his free time, he enjoys reading and writing creatively. He is also a singer and song writer.

Here is what he has to say about his poem:

“In reference to some things that encouraged me to write ‘Broken Expectations,’ it was based on my thoughts and feelings of the stereotypes placed upon African-Americans and how we are negatively portrayed on television. It’s very seldom that you see Black excellence being highlighted. I wrote the poem to combat the stereotypes. To encourage others like me that despite the negativity, we can still accomplish lots. And lastly, to remind everyone that no matter what color our skin is, we are all human beings with feelings. If everyone reads the poem and takes away at LEAST one of those points, I have done my job.”

Broken Expectations
By DeAnthony Carter

I find myself in the midst of shattered glass,
puncturing the soles of my shoes,
cutting the bottom of my feet.

Out of the pieces of glass, I pick an unbroken piece.
It’s frigid to the touch;
dim like a midnight sky when the stars have fallen.
Written in luminous letters, is the word “stereotypes.”

I’m sweet like my chocolate skin portrays me to be,
not bitter like the taste of death
and less, is what you ignorantly consider me,
but we both share the same breath.

I stand in the midst of shattered glass,
puncturing the soles of my shoes,
cutting the bottom of my feet.

I live a life you have labeled poverty
and for years made a mockery.
What an atrocity!
Evidence of a scholarly
product of your animosity
because the inequality
that you threw couldn’t conquer me.

I stand in the midst of shattered glass,
puncturing the soles of my shoes,
cutting the bottom of my feet.
And even when you didn’t lend a hand
on my own two legs, here I stand;
in a land that thought they could end this man.
The descendent of the hands that built this land.
Oh, and isn’t it grand
that in the end,
my feet will be stained with blood and pierced with glass,
because I have crushed yet another one of your expectations.

 

Views expressed in this blog post do not necessarily reflect those of Indiana Humanities.

Posted In: Poetry

2 responses to ““Poetry in Our Times: Protest and Pandemic” Conversation with DeAnthony Carter”

  1. Marsi Lawson says:

    This is an excellent poem and I appreciate your sharing.

  2. Marilyn S Groves says:

    Thanks for sharing this excellent poem. I have forwarded it to my granddaughter who is trying creative writing this year in high school.

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