Kacie Starr Long and I celebrated a wonderful holiday weekend. We ate good, went to a birthday party, enjoyed some powerful Worship and Word at Influence Church from Pastor Scott Gerken.
And then we binge watched episodes from “The Corner”.
The Corner filmed in 2000, crafted a devastating and authentic portrait of the crime and poverty that has been wreaked on the city of Baltimore by a combination of the drug trade, corrupt public institutions, violence and an apathetic public that’s allowed it all to happen.
The show came from a book called “The Corner: A Year on the Streets” which chronicled the real life stories of several different dope fiends living on the streets of Baltimore.
The eerie and sad thing about The Corner is how it mirrored my experiences on the corners in Chicago in the 60’s and 70’s. I could put a name from those days to almost every character on the show.
Even sadder is that the same crime, the same poverty, the same drug trade, the same corrupt public institutions, the same violence and the same apathetic public is wreaking havoc on our urban areas in 2020!
I thank God for Jesus who lifted me from them corners in 1974. I’ll never forget from where God delivered me and I will always take the Gospel back!
I wrote a poem that depicted my misery and God’s deliverance that came from living life on them corners titled “Lord Please Help Me”
“Lord Please Help Me”
Day breaks, and I got the shakes
My mind is numb and my body aches
I woke up this morning with those familiar heartaches
I drink some wine to maybe ease my mind
Hang on the corners to pass some time. I need some dope that great false hope
Cause I can’t cope
And I’m bout to let go of this rope.
Lord Please Help Me!
Yea, everybody plays the fool and it ain’t no ception to that rule. How did I get this way?
Well, let me see....
Was it my parents, my neighborhood, my teachers, my Blackness?
No, something is wrong with me.
I am angry, miserable, bitter and full of sin
Can anybody tell me when this will end?
When it started, I thought I was cool, I didn’t follow no rules
School, that was for fools.
I played with life, like it was a toy
thought I was a man, but I was still a boy
I did not know the devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy
Game recognizes game or, so they say
Players play, but you going to pay and when the reaper reaps
He is playing for keeps
Could be your life, now that’s getting deep.
Lord Please Help Me!
Man, this corner is getting tight
I’ve been out here hustling all day and all night
And it don’t look like no relief is in sight
Happiness I can’t seem to find
And I’m about to lose my mind
Man, what happened to all the time?
Well! Well! Here comes my lady, Ms. Slim Shady
Hey sugar, help a brother please
You know you my main squeeze!
She laughed, Ha, Ha and said, “Fool you and I are through
I thought you knew.” But I didn’t have a clue.
Let me go see my man, Pimping Joe. Hey Joe, man hustling’s been slow, And my money is low.
Brother, can I get a play, on a dime bag today? So I can go somewhere and lay.
Joe said, “Man I ain’t got time
To hear you whine I’ve got to get mine!”
Lord Please Help Me!
Who is this walking down these bricks?
It’s that sister from round the way; she used to turn tricks. Heard she was saved, whatever that means
Now, a blind man can see that she’s fresh and clean
I wonder if she got any green.
Yo my sister, what did you say?
She looked through me and said, “Jesus is the Way!” He died on the Cross-, for your sins to pay.
Confess with your mouth, the Lord Jesus and that He rose, believe in your heart!
Jesus paid the price; can you do your part?
Pray with me, my brother, and, you’ll see
He’ll unlock your soul and set you free!”
I said, “Girl, don’t play with me
Can’t you see, I’m in misery all my life I’ve been praying, Lord Please Help Me!”
Well I’ve tried everything else; I guess I’ll try God
Maybe with the Lord on my side, life won’t be as hard.
All I have to lose is this pain and shame
I can get out of this game
And maybe obtain a new name.
Well, I asked Jesus in my heart and now I can say
I am a new creation; old things have passed away!
I finally have a Friend on whom I can depend
He said He would be with me until the very end!
God is real; He has given me hope.
I can cope, and I do not need no dope!
If God did it for me, He will do it for you
Because every Word out of His mouth always comes true!
God answers prayer and now I can see
How He answered my prayer,
Lord Please Help Me! - Pastor Alfred Long
Most of my friends died in the drug and apathy pandemic that swept them corners but God brought me out...Hallelujah!
(Psalms 103:1-4 NLT)
“Praise the LORD, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits–
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion”.