In the Black

And these, my hopes,

now come to stillness,

spent in small and looping

hopeless, frothing eddies,

broken on stones

upon this lifeless shore.

 

The angels weep on me.

Their sobs are thunder.

They snap their saddened sodden wings

to the rhythm of

my racing, raging heart

and sear the sky

with lightning.

 

And out there, my dreams…

There! Floating on the rising tide,

are sailing far and fast,

eluding me forever

with full-wind sails,

but a

cracking mast….

They do not know.

Let them drown adrift,

as my sorrow

in my cups.

 

For now, though despairing in black,

beneath black clouds,

by black water, in black mood,

I yet await

the shining sun,

and

the turning tide.

 

 

 

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?

 

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…

 

 

 

A Moment of Weakness, A Lifetime of Pain

Your life upended,

just wanting to feel good

for a moment,

 

The serpent slithered down

and flicked your ear with

a silver tongue

 

Betrayed, you were

hung up

strung out

and dying slow

 

The jester bested

the king

 

And the pain of your need

dimmed the light of your soul

 

You’d say anything

Do anything

Kill anyone

 

And now

the programs sprout

like mushrooms

pretty with disease

nutritious with bacteria

 

And you live in

cold and wretched

shadows

 

in cold and wretched

places

 

with a cold and wretched

heart.

 

and cold and wretched

voices in your head.

 

I would reach out to you,

but you won’t put your hand out,

except to pull a weapon on me

and have me supply your

demon’s need

 

Sometimes I just gave it to you,

because I knew you once

and recognized your shell.

 

I can’t return home,

And you can’t leave.

 

Is this goodbye?

 

I wish we knew

I wish it wasn’t

I hope it isn’t

 

but as we idolize

the parasite

that infested you

as he drives his Escalade,

his rims spinning as he goes

nowhere, a reflection

of both of you,

 

I can only look in from

the outside,

and say

I’m sorry

our

friendship

our

brotherhood

could not make you

feel good enough about

you

 

I still hold out hope,

my brother, that one day

through your nightmares

a dream will come instead,

and

you too, will remember

the man you

used to be

 

I’m standing in the light

calling

waiting for your

crawling shadow

to pass the dirty window

 

I’ll still be here

when you answer,

if you answer,

but

it’s up to you now…

Breaking Chains

These chains

seized

my hands

and

my feet

 

Forced my eyes

to look up

at the searing sun

of my homeland

retreating as the

waves took me

to foreign, hostile

shores

 

Long did I wear them

and suffer under their weight

 

Long did I fight against them

and when they resisted me,

I fought some more

 

 

Against my flesh they

burned and chafed

and pressed me down

 

Against the stones I

slammed them

over and over

 

We fought for days

Decades

Centuries

 

And yet you do

not understand…

 

 

I was forged

into a weapon

by these chains

 

You carried me

and used me,

made me privy to

the intentions

of your heart

and the schemes of

your mind

 

 

And now

after all this fighting,

the chains are loose.

 

But if you think to bind me

again

to your service

at my life’s expense

 

You will see

that I am a

Warrior

now,

and no man’s

Slave,

 

My mind,

Unsheathed

 

My flesh,

Unbound

 

Not to your peril,

but to my own

Benefit

 

And these

broken chains

no longer have

Dominion

over me.

 

For Real (or Ode to a Conspiracy)

Author’s Note: I remember standing on the stoop of my grandmother’s brownstone in Harlem, and we watched a line of people form because the drug supply had come in. There were young men in business suits, mothers with baby carriages, and wide mix of ages. My grandmother turned to me and said, “This sure is a weak society out here.” Given the time she grew up in, and the circumstances she had to endure, I had no answer. Did our ancestors really fight so hard, so long to survive, so we could kill ourselves, and say it was someone else’s fault?

 

“The CIA put drugs in our neighborhoods.”

And we used them.

 

“The government put guns in our neighborhood.”

We used those too.

 

So let me ask you: If I put a bomb on your doorstep,

and you take it inside, and it blows up on you,

who’s responsible for the damage it caused?

 

The key to countering conspiracies is sabotage,

not compliance.

 

Break the strings

 

Become a real man

instead of a ‘real nigga’

 

And free yourself.

For real.