Standing Outside of History
by Randall Horton

Old School has lived decades in another world
from two life sentences dating before the carnage
of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church.  He missed
the movement and the revolution, has no point
of reference to bellbottoms and tear-drop collars  
or a disco strobe light splattering a jury of stars
against the dance floor.  He’s never felt a bass line
thump his insides at two in the morning while
Sugar Hill created a new maxim in music, issuing
the mandate:
Somebody Scream, the birth of hip-hop.
The sight of erratic fiends crawling like cockroaches
throughout the streets in the name of a white rock
is alien to him. He can only search each new inmate’s
slang and mannerism for an era that was missed,
and it is all gone, years he will never see, gone.


Randall Horton is a poet originally from Birmingham, Alabama,
now living in Albany, New York.  He was runner-up in the Main
Street Rag Book Award and his manuscript,
The Definition of
(Main Street Rag, 2006), was published in their Editor’s
Select Series.  Horton is also the co-editor of
Fingernails Across
the Chalkboard: Poetry and Prose on HIV/AIDS from the
Black Diaspora
(Third World Press, 2007) and a Cave Canem

On “Standing Outside of History”:
When I set out to write “Standing Outside of History,” I was
thinking about an old man I once knew in prison who’d been
incarcerated since the ’60s.  He went to jail around the time
I was born and here he was getting ready to be released in a
few months.  I was 37 at the time.  I could only think about
everything he had missed, and I knew the world he was coming
back to was not the world he had left.  He would often tell me
how he studied new inmates to see what he was missing on the

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 2, Number 2
(Fall 2007)

Copyright © 2007
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.