I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I write.

June 3, 2020
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I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I write.

I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I write.

My family moved to Prichard at the age of seven. I had severe case of dyslexia and got lost in school. Back then, people in the South didn’t recogniz dyslexia and they used the term ‘retarded.’ I had to fight my way through. I moved up North in 1967 because I didn’t have much structure and didn’t know how to do much. I got a job with ConEdison in New York and was sent to school to see what I was capable of doing. They taught me the fundamentals of reading and sent me to a psychologist. Both helped me understand myself. I started learning how to put the words together. They told me to stay with it and not give up. I practiced reading every day. I stayed with ConEdison for 34 years.

Opening a book and not being able to put words together is shameful and scary. To get rid of that fear, you have to keep after it and try. About 40 years ago, I started putting words on paper and started writing. At first the words were all  scrambled up. I also had a problem with one of the vessels in my head. The fluid was messing up my equilibrium and eyesight. I was driving a truck to Queens. As I got there, my eyesight disappeared. They called my wife to come to get me. A neurosurgeon put in a shunt and my eyesight came back two days later. After that, I was able to think better, and the writing  began.

I retired from the company and we moved back home. I sat home for a year-and-a-half fishing and working in my yard, but there was not enough to do. I filled out an application at the employment office and have worked as a security guard at Strickland Youth Center for three years. It is hard to get through to kids these days. If they had structure at home, they wouldn’t be in trouble. The parents come in worried about everything else but their kids. The kids are frustrated with themselves, their parents, and what they think is going on with the world. They don’t have people telling them the right things to do. 

I understand what these kids are going through. I dropped out of Blount School in eight grade. I was passed that far because they felt sorry for me. I wasn’t learning anything and was lost in the shuffle. I started working at the State Dock when I was 14. I boosted my age to make a couple of dollars. At 16, I worked in Mississippi on a fish boat. As a kid, I watched my stepfather beat my mother down and do all of the stupid things except what a man should do. I learned to live with love and understanding and do the right things. There are bumps, bruises, and curves in life, but you have to be strong to get around them. We all have our good days and bad days. 


My learning came from working hard and teaching myself, and also from my wife. I married her when I was 18, my mother had to sign for me. We have been married for 53 years and she encouraged me and showed me how to do things. I made sure my kids got extra help at school and stayed on top of them. I didn’t want them to go through what I went through. 

My second book of poetry came out in February when everything hit the fan. I have short stories I want to publish. I write for two hours each day. If I can’t write, pick up a book, or work a crossword puzzle every day, something is missing. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I write.”

Wake up brothers so you can see,

Take the blinder off, let it be

Brother’s don’t left life pass you by.

See you gotta get your piece

Of the pie.

The sky is the limit brothers,

Take the blinder off, can you see

How beautiful life can be

This world owes you

Nothing you see

And don’t forget your slice 

Of the pie

Don’t left life pass you by.

Brothers wake up

Open your eyes, focus on what’s real

Brothers learn to take

And learn to give

Accept each other with love

That’s real

Wake up brothers

Take the blinders off

The sky is the limit brothers,

Brothers this ain’t lotto

But you to to be in it to win it

Wake up brothers

“Wake Up Brothers”

Here is Mr. Boyd reading the poem: My Movie 55


(Ledell Boyd’s book of poetry, “Love, Heartaches & Pain” is available on Amazon)

4 comments on “I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I write.”

  1. Lequeita Dicks says:

    Congratuations, Mr. Floyd, on a live well-lived.
    Your poem is beautiful. And you have lived up to it in spite of the disadvantages you were born into, not the least of it, dyslexia.

  2. DeSaavre Paige says:

    I bought Love heartaches and pain and the emotions jump off the pages at you!! Kudos Mr. Floyd!

  3. Bonita Black says:

    Mr.Boyd Congratulations

  4. Willie Mae Gullette says:

    So wonderful to hear about you and learn of your life’s story. Very interesting and inspirational. May God continue to bless you, your family and your writing.

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