Under the Clouds the Children Play

Breathless giggles

and

toothless smiles,

bright-eyed innocence

and

unconditional love.

See the children

play in the sun,

the shadows

of their faces

filled with

light.

Their small throats full of

improvised songs and memorized prayers,

both offered freely to

the pale blue sky.

For hours,

For years,

For decades.

Life settles on them,

lifts them up,

as the melodious bells of innocence

turn to a

discordant death-knell,

and  flowers wilt

away the will to live.

And the questions

in their eyes

take root,

and grow

unanswered.

And now clouds gather,

dark and threatening,

full of dread powers

and

poisoned winds.

A shadow of a

human being watches

from the edges,

its stench lost

in the wayward

wind.

It approaches

One,

alone

in its sandbox,

putting its life into

an hourglass

to be flipped over,

and over, and over…

Wind-driven rain

drowns the cry for help,

and now a toothless smile

slowly slips on the mantle

of the lonely

One,

now sitting in its window,

clear as rivers,

who dreams

it was one

of the children

playing

under the clouds.

 

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

 

 

 

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?

 

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?

 

 

Across the Miles, Across the Ages

Across the miles

Across the ages

Parchments

Scrolls

and ancient pages

 

Tell of Beauty

Dark and Sweet

from palace royal

to city street

 

Our daughters

Mothers of the earth

The queens of men

of noble birth

 

Protect them

Love them

Make them strong

while death yet tarries,

but not long

 

Instill in her

a sense of self

that no man

places on a shelf

 

And father,

when you’ve gone away

with her inheritance

she’ll say

 

I want a man just like my dad

who saw the worth in what he had

in me and mother with his love

that he now shares in skies above

 

Across the miles

Across the ages

Parchments

Scrolls

and ancient pages

 

Tell of Beauty

Dark and Sweet

from palace royal

to city street

 

 

 

 

I Wanted to Surprise You

I wanted to surprise you

I’m hoping that I did

I had to steal these flowers

because I’m just a kid

 

You see I had no money

to buy them on my own

because it seems you only

earn money when you’re grown

 

But still I hope you like them

although I couldn’t pay,

because they mean I like you

and that I’m going away

 

I wanted to surprise you,

I’m hoping that I did.

I’ll be in jail an hour;

I have to do my bid

 

 

You see, the cops are coming

to put me in the jail,

but I’m returning for you,

so be here without fail.

 

They’re only gonna keep me,

and call my mom and dad.

I hope you like me too though,

‘cuz I’m not really bad.

 

I wanted to surprise you…

 

There Are No Monsters Here

Knock-knock

within your closet

child

There are no monsters here

 

Knock-knock

beneath your bed

my child

There are no monsters here

 

Knock-knock

upon your dreams

dear child

There are no monsters here

 

They’re all inside your head

my child

That’s where the monsters dwell

 

I promise in the morning

child

you’ll find them in the well,

 

For there they find

the entryway back into

childhood’s hell.

The Eyes of My Elders

The eyes of my elders

Defiant and Bold

 

The eyes of my elders

hold secrets untold

 

The eyes of my elders

saw wonders and pain

 

The eyes of my elders

see spring in the rain

 

The eyes of my elders

have knowledge of stars

 

The eyes of my elders

are healing my scars

 

The eyes of my elders

saw friends to their graves

 

The eyes of my elders

sailed harrowing waves

 

The eyes of my elders

know babies by heart

 

The eyes of my elders

keep music and art

 

The eyes of my elders

the stories they tell

 

The eyes of my elders

are tolling the knell

 

The eyes of my elders

spread love all around

 

The eyes of my elders

now look at the ground

 

The eyes of my elders

are closing to sleep

 

The eyes of my elders

are now mine to keep

 

 

 

Leiko and the White Wolf (cont)

Ko walked down to the ferry, the mud squelching under her feet, pulling at them when she went to take the next step, as if the ground didn’t want her to leave.

The man who’d stopped her merely watched her board, watched her father skulk away in the pouring rain, soon lost even to his sight.

He took note that Ko never turned to watch him go.

She stood with her back to him, saying nothing, her hat her only real protection, and her hands bunched up her clothes as she swaddled herself, trying to keep in what little warmth remained.

A weight fell across her shoulders, a shimmer of color, and she realized the man had given her his own robe, a bit too long, but warm with his own heat, and a tinge of something between musk and mandarin, not unpleasant….but not her father.

She murmured a ‘thank you’ over her shoulder, still not moving.

He gave the order to move, and the ferry creaked and groaned and listed slightly.

Ko grabbed the rail for balance, and stumbled a bit as she got used to the motion.

The current seized the boat, and it swerved, then straightened, and glided across the water as if there were no rain at all.

Realizing what happened, and not wishing to know, Ko watched the river water spackled with fat raindrops rush past them.

“You are using magic to make the ship resist the current.”

“No, Ko. Magic is in another realm; I am using power.”

She turned that over a moment, then told him the truth.

“I don’t understand.”

“That is why you are here.”

“I am here,” she sighed, “because my father is a poor fisherman.”

He chuckled, to her surprise.

“That is a level-headed conclusion, but not entirely the truth; I sought you out, Ko.”

She turned then, watched him, though he was still looking out over the stern of the ferry.

“Sought me out?”

He turned and walked toward her; he was slender, but strong, and moved with confidence on the wet deck.

His face was kind, but authoritative; he was handsome, in a way the men of her homeland were not. His skin was darker, and age had stamped a seal of authenticity to it that he would probably die at sea.

His facial hair framed the lower part of his face, neatly trimmed, and tinged with gray.

His eyes had radiance to them, not natural, but a soft light seemed to emanate in the whites of his eyes. Ko couldn’t be sure if it was real or her imagination.

“There is much to explain, but the journey is not long; take your ease under the awning, and think on your questions. I will answer them all.

“You have nothing to fear, Ko, not from me, or any man on this ship, or where we are going.

“Do you believe me?”

She sensed this was some type of test, and knew what he wanted her to say, but she decided not to say anything anyone wanted to hear; she was the victim, after all.

“No, I don’t.”

He said nothing, but inclined his head, looking at her in a new way.

A small smile flashed across his lips, and he went back to looking over the stern, as she went underneath the awning.

Sitting down, she watched him watching the past, his bare torso pelted by the rain, as she sat shivering, not entirely from the cold, under the awning, and wondered what her future held.

Justice = Just Us

So as a cop, you don’t even have to engage the tween with the TOY gun in the department store. No criminal record, no threat to you, himself, or anyone in the store, but he never even got a ‘drop your weapon.’

Just pull up, and bang.

When we’re innocent, cops plant evidence.  Alabama ‘police’ did it for 10 years. Where’s the outrage from #ALLLIVESMATTER?

Make up your mind:

Don’t want us ‘thuggin,’ but won’t hire us.
Don’t want us on welfare, but don’t want us educated.
Don’t want us holding political office, but it’s okay if it’s a ball or a microphone we sing and rap into, as long as we’re not decrying supremacist / oligarchal bullshit disguised as ‘policy.’

Then redline the districts to remove black representatives, and put them in districts where prisoners can’t vote.

Then talk about ‘reverse discrimination’ when it used to be called ‘hiring on merit’ before.

Worried about terrorism? Guess it takes one to know one.

Time to segregate, on our own terms, for our own reasons, to rebuild ourselves, our youth, and our communities. Stop celebrating Kwanzaa for a week when we’re not living out the principles 24/7/365.

We weren’t brought over here to live, but to work, and as long as we’re not turning a profit for anyone else, we can ‘go back to Africa.’

But let’s get back to Black Wall Street instead. Let’s build schools where our youth will excel and begin to invade the halls of power: science, law (and its enforcement),  finance, technology, and trade, in the same numbers we seek to invade the NFL and NBA.

We’ll be talking about a different country then; help is not coming from the outside, and for damn sure reparations are not coming for slavery. You’re paid less for the work you actually do, as opposed to the work you didn’t, where no one was paid at all.

Stop rapping about money and hoes and guns and drugs, and pull your pants up so you can stand up and man up. You do know by now that showing your ass means anyone can screw you, and screw you over?

If you ‘love your hood,’ stop poisoning its people with drugs imported from countries that don’t like you either, and shooting your brothers, and impregnating your sisters with babies you can’t take care of from behind bars. You leave them vulnerable, like Tamir was vulnerable.

Stop riding around in expensive cars through neighborhoods that look no better than bombed out Syria, talking about ‘I got mine’ before the cops add it to the Criminal Forfeiture fund to pay for their bodycams, which they’ll turn off the next time they aim for your heart.

Poverty is a mindset; it just manifests as an economic factor.

Wake up. Strap up (your mind first, your home second).

The revolution has started, and it’s not only televised, it’s being broadcast all over the world.

Resolve in your spirit, now, to answer this question:

How long are you willing to remain a target?