• The Box 69: TAN





    #36
    Color: Tan
    March 6, 2011
    Song: "You Gotta Be" Des'ree



    For my friend Elaine Porter, who dropped some serious history on me...over cawfy...with love.


    Tan lips
    Sip tan cawfy
    Glow tan in the sun
    Talks of tan youths
    in the tan sands of outer Pasadena
    A place we've never heard of
    A place we've never been.

    This was a new place
    This old Pasadena.
    1959...
    1972...
    All points in between
    All hell broken loose
    And ran free
    Over my tan sistah.
    California was the new land
    The wild west made tame
    Sandy tan beaches
    With dune dudes
    And good times.
    But a closer look
    Revealed specks of truth
    Hidden in the desert.
    Little tan children
    Tan teens
    Sent to far away schools
    in the tan sands of outer Pasadena
    A place we've never heard of
    A place we've never been.

    When you've only been around your kind
    Tan has no meaning
    because you're the same.
    Right?
    No.
    We see the difference.
    We see the shades
    And the complicated hues
    From different avenues
    All so unique
    And rich.
    But they see all the same
    Just tan
    and suddenly
    resting at the edge of the 1960's
    is the tan sands of outer Pasadena.
    The Massachusetts busing from Compton
    The Virginia massive resistance in the desert.
    The Mississippi spit and curse
    In the tan sands of outer Pasadena
    A place we've never heard of
    A place we've never been.

    Tan stands out
    Bold pop in the white school walls.
    Tan stands back
    Observing a foreign land
    Tan stands up
    Marching forward in change
    Tan isn't boring
    Or dull
    Tan leaves its mark
    A reminder of being pioneers
    In the tan sands of outer Pasadena
    A place we've never heard of
    A place we've never been.

    Today I sat and listened
    An act of love
    Tears streaming
    Remembering every grain
    The 50 year hour glass
    Drop like a brick
    Land quietly as a feather
    Silently so that no one knows
    No one asks
    What happened
    In the tan sands of outer Pasadena
    A place we've never heard of
    A place we've never been.

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