A Story Told in Song

From the savanna,

the deserts,

the grasslands,

the veldt,

and the jungle,

 

The music played.

 

From the empires,

the gold and diamond mines,

and the pyramids,

The music played.

 

From the ivory tusks,

the red clay,

the ebony wood,

and the skins of war drums,

 

The music played.

 

On the ship,

In the cabins,

In ‘massa’s house,

In the whipping sheds,

and the cotton and tobacco fields,

 

The music played.

 

And at sunset,

Heads lowered over

Unmarked graves of

Old men and

Innocent children,

 

The music played.

 

From the Underground Railroad

through the rise of Pullman Porters,

 

The music played.

 

Through Jim Crow,

chain gangs,

and Sunday morning services,

 

The music played.

 

Through hard times

and celebrations,

and through vibrant

ululations,

and our rising expectations,

 

The music played.

 

In the Deep South,

through the screams

and cries wrought

by night riders

and cross burnings,

 

The music played.

 

Over the sound

of barking dogs

and high pressure hoses,

 

The music played.

 

Through Malcolm and Dr. Huey Newton,

and Martin and Jesse,

and Barack Obama,

 

The music played.

 

Through the first black…(insert pioneer name here)

 

The music…(still playing)

 

We must teach the songs

that kept the voices lifted

though hearts were heavy,

 

Kept the flames of joyous spirits

and the love of hearts

lit,

though our dreams of freedom were

constantly extinguished.

 

Kept hope alive through our best

writers, artists, and orators,

Proud Black Men

and Beautiful Black Women

united in one purpose:

Us.

 

The music played, and plays still…

 

And it will play on

as long as we remember.

 

And if

we

teach it well,

long after

we’re gone.

Our Future

Looking into

the distance

her eyes

contain

the vision

of herself

 

On stage

in front of

thousands

 

But now

the working through

the struggles

and failures

 

the pain

and the waxing

desire to quit

and leave it all

behind

 

Until tomorrow

when the

echoes of

thundering applause

and the phantom scent

of

bundles of flowers

 

And the

smiles and tears

the fruit of her

labor of love

will generate

 

will one day

no longer

be only

echoes

and phantoms

 

So, my people,

 

Let us strive

Together

toward the reality

of our dreams

Lifting not only

our voices

but our

Souls

 

 

 

True Formation

These
Black Men
proud,
determined,
tired of being
treated as less

tired of their
People being
treated as less

made a statement
took a stand
took action

See the
seriousness
in their eyes
in their demeanor

Protecting
those
who would be
brutalized

Yes, they were a hate group

They hated
oppression
police brutality
injustice

They hated
seeing children go hungry
because there wasn’t
money to feed them.

They hated
living in
neglected and
downtrodden
communities,
and didn’t wait
around for
the government
to change things

And for
all of that
they were
betrayed
infiltrated
and
destroyed

Pull up your pants,
and make
something
of your life
besides
another
tragic tale.

De Value

Well, let’s see…

 

We’ve been

 

Categorized as subhuman

 

Documented as inferior

 

Theorized as violent

 

Despised as unintelligent

 

Valued as garbage

 

Discarded as worthless

 

“They’re:

 

Not worth getting to know

but worth keeping out.

 

Not worth hiring

but they only want welfare

 

Not worth educating

but they’re thugs

 

Not worth any money

but we destroyed their

prospering towns

 

Not worth access to power

but they’re violent.”

 

So if you truly believe that,

Let me ask you this:

 

Why, for one second,

would you pretend

to be something so…

 

worthless?

 

Just Say Know

No thermostat heat

No central air conditioning

No storm windows

No waxed floors

No cafeterias

No new books

No shiny desks

with compartments

for your stuff

 

No high tech lighting

No cell phones

No smart boards

No desktops

No laptops

No gaming consoles

No wi-fi

 

No bullies

No nonsense

No cheating

No missing homework

No disrespecting teachers and elders

No smartass remarks

No sagging your pants

No midriffs and cleavage

No smoking to get high

No cutting class to have sex parties

No baby daddies

No baby mamas

No drug dealers

No gang bangers

 

No dropouts

Just say Know…

Know technology
Know reading
Know math
Know science
Know history
Know music
Know mechanics
Know carpentry
Know electricity
Know geography

Know your brothers
Know your sisters
Know your purpose

Know your future
is in

your hands

You do know that, right?

 

No Turning Back

how

Savage

must you be

to beat a

Savage

 

how

Beastly

must you be

to conquer a

Beast

 

how

Uncivilized

do you become

when you

enjoy abusing the

Uncivilized

 

how

Low

do you descend

when you

torture

one you call

Lower

 

how

do you remain

on

your pedestal

and put others

on

auction blocks

 

Do you appreciate

the irony

in the phrase

“lazy slave?”

 

Our bleeding

and crying

and dying

mirrored the

Uncivilized, Low,

Savage Beast

back to those

who branded men such,

even though they

smiled and laughed

at it

 

But underneath their

mirthful cruelty,

eyes yet smolder

and

blood yet boils

 

 

And that is why

we must

be indifferent

if

our pride offends,

and

our standing up

to grab the lash

strikes fear

 

For while no longer afraid,

we have learned

 

You never turn

your back

on the feral…

 

 

 

Why You Leaving Now, Daddy?

Back then

the shovels,

picks, hoes,

rakes, pitchforks,

axes and scythes

were held high

on tired shoulders

that had to make it

through

one more day

to eke out

a hardscrabble

living

under people

with hardscrabble hearts

 

They sang and joked

and laughed between

the grunts of effort

that went into

breaking ground

 

Their sweat brought

the flies and mosquitoes

 

Their existence brought

bullies carrying violence

 

But their thoughts were

on their wives and children,

who knew that when their men

left them

it was to make the

best life

they could until

they could do better

 

There was hope in their toil,

and love in their hearts

and it hurt them to see their women

standing with the children waving, sad smiles on their

little faces, and his wife with

worry in her eyes even though

she smiled too

 

He might run into the wrong man today…

 

Coming home tired,

to a cooked meal,

and children on his lap,

and a warm bed with

the love of his life

holding him close.

 

So

 

Now that the chains are off,

Now that you’re free

Now that you can dream your own dreams

and lift up the next generation

 

Why you leaving now, daddy?

Why you in jail now, daddy?

Why did you shoot that other Black man?

Was he a daddy too?

Why you don’t come by to see us?

Why is mama crying?

Did you hit her again, daddy?

 

Don’t you love us anymore?

 

Daddy? Daddy?

 

Don’t go…

 

Why you leaving now, daddy?