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As a poet and writer, I deeply love and I deeply hate words. I love the infinite evidence and change and requirements and possibilities of language; every human use of words that is joyful, or honest or new, because experience is new... But as a Black poet and writer, I hate words that cancel my name and my history and the freedom of my future: I hate the words that condemn and refuse the language of my people in America.
To be glad of life because it gives you to chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars- to be satisfied with your possessions but not content with yourself until you have made the best of them- to despise nothing in the world except falsehood and meanness, and to fear nothing except cowardice- to be governed by you admirations rather than by your disgusts- to covet nothing that is your neighbors except his kindness of heart and gentleness of manners- to think seldom of your enemies, often of your friends, and every day of Christ; to spend as much time as you can in God's out-of doors- these are the little guideposts on the footpaths to peace.
For those who believe in God, most of the big questions are answered. But for those of us who can't readily accept the God formula, the big answers don't remain stonewritten. We adjust to new conditions and discoveries. We are pliable. Love need not be a command or faith a dictum. I am my own God. We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state and our educational system. We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.
If we say I love you, it may be received with doubt, for there are times when it is hard to believe. Say I hate you, and the one spoken to believes it instantly, once for all. Love must be learned, and learned again and again; there is no end to it. Hate needs no instruction, but waits only to be provoked.