Wednesday, May 20, 2015

How Richard Pryor Saved My Life in 1980

Back in the late '70's
before it was the OC,

stuck in a high school of
blonde, born again Christians,

I was the Mexican outsider.

Every June
I sighed relief
which lasted all summer
until I returned
in the fall
feeling very Mexican.

Until the summer of 1980.

In a used record store
I found a stack of
Richard Pryor albums
for 25 cents apiece.

Something about those
album covers,
that face,
brown, comical and dangerous:

"Bicentennial Nigger"
"That Nigger's Crazy" and others.

I didn't know
what I was looking for
but it damn sure
felt right,
and I immersed myself
in these sacred texts.

He taught me
and that brown had
its own feel
its own soul
and it was good.

He was my supercool prophet
rarely bowing to authority,

dismantling hatred with ridicule,
especially my own self-hatred,

and he made me laugh
so much and so hard.

So, wherever you are
thanks, Richard.


  1. Love this, Mosk. Once again, you had me at title. I love getting you in my email inbox. :)

    1. This was an early turning point in my life. Thanks, de.