We are all unique and amazing. With this notion bouncing around inside me I offer to the world what I have to share. The words inside my head have reached to overflowing and in an attempt to keep from exploding I have taken to writing. What follows is the result of purging my mind. If you like what you see, SUBSCRIBE at the top of the page.
Before you judge me, what do you know about me?
Jun 15, 2019
At 19 years old I moved from rural South Jersey to NYC to pursue a dream of performing on Broadway. I only knew one person who had performed on Broadway and had no idea how I was going to manage the task of getting to the Great White Way. Some of the beauty of being young and clueless was I did not have to know the way I knew the beginning and I knew where I wanted to go the rest I would fill in by living. Not long after I arrived in NYC I heard a radio news report about the life expectancy of young Black men in urban areas. The news report stated that 3 in 10 Black men in urban areas would not live to see their 30th birthday. Although I had grown up in a rural area the life of the performer was lived in urban areas. I had a legitimate fear and the threat was the city itself. Every day I would hear on the radio or see on the news reports of young Black men killed in cities around the country. Many of these young men were killed because of mistaken identity. Some were killed for being Black in the wrong place. For unsuspectingly walking through gang territory wearing the wrong colors. For looking like the vague police sketch and fitting the vague police description. For appearing as a threat while wearing the hood up on a hoodie at night to keep a bald head warm. Some even for running down the street and making the police on the beat suspicious. With each incident my fears were pushed further. Each time a youngBlack man was gunned down I wondered if I would be next. Each night that fell while I lived in an urban area I did not know if I would return home alive. To coin a phrase “I kept my nose clean” I did not hang with the wrong crowd, I wore colorful bandanas with rainbow unicorns on my head so that no gang members would suspect me of being from a rival gang. After all who would have a beef with the rainbow unicorn gang? I truly hoped no one would have a beef with the rainbow unicorn gang. As I drew closer to my 30th birthday I felt that each time I stepped foot out of my apartment I was tempting fate. While living in San Francisco in the early nineties there was a murder of a well known activist one block from where I was living. Having such a horrific event happening so close to home is unnerving and this event had a compounding issue. The report of the suspect was for a Black man 6 foot 4 inches with a mustache and goatee between 200 and 220 lbs with an athletic build. That was me. Each day I would walk in the neighborhood I would slow as patrol cars passed me. I would make eye contact with the officers. I would smile. I would give the officer no reason to suspect me to be a murder. I would also brace myself for the arrest. Two full weeks of this occurred before the suspect was apprehended.I did not breathe a sigh of relief. I gave a silent prayer that they had gotten the right guy. My silent prayer was that they did not get another Black man like myself who was trying every day to survive being Black in the city. As I reflect a little smile comes to my face. The smile comes like a sigh because I would say I have lived a realatively stress free life and yet fearing for one’s life every day for a decade does not sound stress free to me now. One might asked “so why would you subject yourself to that kind of stress when you could easily resolve the issue by moving?” The only place I knew that I could ply my trade at the level I wanted was with urban areas, that is why. I am grateful that I survived. I am grateful that the career I sought materialized. I grateful that I could share my passion and my success and some of my struggle with other young Black men along the way. I hope those others received the hope for survival that I wished upon them. So before you judge me maybe this will give you a different perspective of who I am.
Each morning I write my poem for the day. Okay that is not completely true, some days I write two and three poems or a long poem with multiple stanzas. I have posted a poem a day on twitter and facebook since April 17, 2018 and will work to continue with that until April 17, 2019. I have learned much about the process of creating work on a daily basis. My work has previously been motivated by my desire to create work, it was not something I had to do or was expected of me. A poem a day must happen whether I feel the need to create or not. There have been many days where I had to motivate myself to write the words. I have had to give myself prompts such as a week of themes (i.e. for the next three days I will write about trees). I even made myself write haiku for a couple of days. I can actually feel growth in my work from the process. More importantly for me, I feel that I could share this process with anyone. And I feel that I have learned much about guiding someone else through this path a growth and development. A poem a day has already spawned a project to succeed it but I will wait until April to share it with the world.
Happy New Year! 2019 is here and with it new resolutions, new goals, new challenges. I have never ascribed to making resolutions for each new year, instead for the past for years I have set goals for the year. My goal setting is conservative, last year I set 5 goals and achieved them all. This year I will most likely do the same by setting 5 attainable goals. My goals last year included speaking engagements, publishing my writing and working as an actor. Each of my goals required a laying of a foundation, some research and lots of follow through. Each of my goals required help I could do most of the work but I needed someone else or others to attain successful completion. My goals for 2019 are not necessarily bigger and better than 2018 some are extensions of 2018 goals and some will be the next steps past 2018 goals. At least one will be nurturing a goal I had set years ago and let whither. With my goals in mind I look to you and with you more than just a Happy year, I wish you a Focused, Love filled, Healthy, Prosperous, Safe 2019.
#ApoemAday: Tweet poetry, the latest collection of poems from William Forchion is now available at Amazon.com. just in time for the holiday gift giving season. #ApoemAday is the first installment of William's year long poetry project of the same name. Beginning in April, National Poetry Month, Willam began writing a poem a day and posting on his Twitter (@actorbat) and Facebook accounts. After the unexpected death of his mother, William's biggest fan, in June he decided to continue the project for an entire year in her honor.
Into each life a little rain must fall. 2018 has proven the year of torrential downpours in my life. Early in the summer I was ordered to move out of the house I believed I would die in (in old age) as the result of divorce proceedings. Most of the rain during this portion of my life was coming from my eyes. I reeled twisting like a flag in a hurricane to find a place suitable for me and three kids (Serenity and I will split the parenting 50/50). Only days after finding out I must leave the house my mother died unexpectedly. Yes, she was healthy as an ox (a very healthy ox) and we had just made plans for her next visit to Vermont when she drowned in a Float Spa. There is a little comfort in knowing how much she was looking forward to taking the relaxing float she needed. I miss my mother dearly on the regular. I had only found a place to live the day before she died. I so looked forward to sharing the fields and the old house with her. My mother was my sounding board as I transitioned out of marriage, as I rediscovered who I was in the world and the community. In a very brief time I was introduced to two major life transitions that I had no choice but to live death and divorce. I have questioned how to share this information with my community of family, friends and colleagues as I felt great shame in the divorce and an unbearable pain at the death of my mother. Some of the sleuths out there have read deeper into my poems and writings and posts causing them to private message me about life. I have shared with a few of you as I seek a healthy way to deal with my grief and shame. So this is the rainy period of my life. My mother was a gardener who never lamented the rain. There was much I learned from her including ways to process life now. This is a transformation just as the trees transform each year growing leaves, processing sunlight and rain and earth nutrients, then dropping those leaves. Human lives can do the same. Just as in the spring when the new leaves sprout the tree becomes different (possibly new). Quite possibly this is my time to shed leaves and take a moment to become new / different. As my mother the gardener did not lament the rain, I will drink of the substance of life allowing it to feed my soul for growth. With each rain the gardens grow to produce that which we need to sustain ourselves. I pray, may there be rainfall in your life, enough to sustain you and sunshine enough to grow. And I pray the same for myself.