father and son
Bill Holmes (author) as a child and his dad, William L. Holmes, Sr.

Three Generations


Pop-Pop was born on the 29th of March,

two eras removed from slavery

where lynchings and segregation

were commonplace in postbellum,

southern states to keep Jim Crow alive,

making sure that Blacks knew

and remained in their place

but he believed in the promise of

better days and opportunities

for a better life imagined,

so, Pop-Pop walked,

stepping into an uncertain future

as part of the Great Migration North

rather than risking his chances of

being tarred and feathered or worse

living in a Tar Heel State,

settling in the City of Brotherly Love

doing his to make

a way for self and family

despite the demons

tormenting his soul

and his pride holding him back

from furthering his education.

bill's granddad
Bill’s grandfather Clifton Boddie


Dad was born on the 9th of April,

the eldest of eight children

in the heart of the Great Depression,

learning to juggle at a young age

that most children weren’t expected to do so

growing up on South Philly streets

where the odds to succeed were against him

due to poverty and the color of his skin

but he too believed in the promise of

better days and opportunities

for a better life imagined,

so, Dad ran,

traveling faster than the wind

using skill and determination

to spring towards excellence at track meets

from high school contests

to Penn Relay competitions at Franklin Field

applying lessons learned

through athletic discipline along

with ingenuity and creativity

to also create a better life

for self and family

once his running days came to an end.

Bill Holmes


Billy was born on the 27th of March,

at the beginning of the carefree 70s,

where young men were drafted and entrenched

in the unjust Vietnam War

and Muhammad Ali, the Greatest,

shook up the world for the second time

by standing his ground as

a man of his convictions,

raised in Southwest Philly

and surrounding suburbs,

psychologically scarred by

one too many traumatic incidents

from being bullied to grief and loss,

but like his father and grandfather

he too believed in the promise of

better days and opportunities

for a better lie imagined,

fueled by Pop-Pop’s advice

to stay in school and

Dad’s Sunday afternoon outings

at the Philadelphia International Airport

watching airplanes depart into the blue skies,

so, Billy flew,

ascending over creative mountaintops

from childhood days indulging

in superhero/sci fi fantasies

to breathing life into adulthood dreams

expressed inside spiral notebooks

shared on thousands of

open mics and literary pages

for not only self-healing

and self-empowerment,

but to honor and represent

family, race, and community

for future generations to come.



Copyright © 2021 by Bill Holmes.

All rights reserved.


Bill Holmes is a writer, poet, and author of the poetry book Straight From My Heart; the spoken word CD, The Air I Breathe; the ESSENCE bestselling fiction novel One Love, and writer/director of the independent, award winning, short film, The Program and Butterflies. As a poet, Bill has opened for artists such as The Last Poets and jazz musician Roy Ayers. Bill’s work has been featured in publications such as 50BOLD, African Voices, and ESSENCE. Bill is also the founder of the creative-writing course Write Here! Write Now! which he taught at Temple University in Philadelphia through the grassroots, non-profit organization PASCEP.