[End of poetry excerpts from Fear Not the Fall]

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Where Are All the Colored Men?

Fear not the fall.

Better to fall from the strength

of the sound of one's voice

speaking truth to the people

than to spend a lifetime

mired in discontent ...

Fear Not the Fall

III.  FIVE DECADES OF LIVING

II.  VOLUNTARY VOICES

Black Beauty

You know, hair is a political thing,

Like beauty it can make or break you.

If you think this is an exaggeration,

try letting your imagination

run home with you for a while ...

The Hair Poem

I.  CHILD OF TOO

... After five decades of living, I learned

when you heal yourself,

you have to walk

backwards to wellness

through the various stages

of your getting sick –

painful as it is –

in order to go forward,

in order to heal yourself


A few things I learned from scratch

about depression

and being down in the dumps;

Do not expect others to listen to you.

Be glad if they do.

(People rarely listen to themselves.

If they did, do you think people would say

the things they say to you?)


In five decades of living

I learned that people rarely

hide themselves from you

and when they manage to do it,

it is only because they didn't know

who they were in the first place ...


Five Decades of Living

Brief excerpts from poetry in
Fear Not the Fall
(a poetry collection & a play)
by Billie Jean Young

I know you.

I know you better than you know me,

I started first grade wih you.

Oh, you didn't ever see me.

I saw you all the time.


In my Black school that was curiously yours,

I saw you.

Hiding in my first grade reader,

jumping rope, skipping along with Tip,

going uphill to look for water,

and calling yourself Jack and Jill,

Dick and Jane, and Tom and Jerry,

with your crew cut hair and your yellow ponytail,

I saw you.

Coming 'round the mountain when you come,

driving six white horses when you come,

I saw you.


​I saw you ...

I Know You

... Counselor sent me to the charm school,

wanted me to learn how to walk and talk.

"Don't bounce up and down,

don't shake when you walk,

Don't open your mouth

keep it closed when you talk."

Who? me? I just a Black beauty be.

All loose and free,

and trying to be me ...

The world is at war,

does anybody care?

Somebody is leading us headlong into war

and the new unemployment line

is the draft office –

for colored men

and even the yellow line got long

and winding and inattentive,

and Uncle Sam closed his hands

over his chest

and said, "Enough colored men."

So it's off to the prison cell,

by way of the street corner

and pimp talk

and pushing a little something – anything

to put a few coins in his pocket,

selling whatever is handy

wrap us his mama in a sheet

and sell her for white –

selling everything in sight.


Colored boys standing on street corners

in Knoxville, Tennessee,

little miniature mafia men

pushing dope right in the middle of the projects

hand it over to the customer bold

so all the ladies sitting on their steps

trying to keep cool in the bricks can see it

and know

that Little Big Man

selling dope in the middle of the kids'

marble game is tough.

He playing for keeps –

too tough to die.

​But not too tough to go to prison and rot.

Yes, die a slow tortuous death

midst other dead, dying colored men

who don't know what happened either.