The Words We Leave Behind

No more impassioned pleas of poetry

to pour into the ears of poisoned people.

Fattened snakes, they peer through narrow slits

for more morsels than they can consume.

They can’t hear their vomit splatter on

the opulence they claim to own,

luxuriating in their greed

though they rot the same as street urchins.

The clashing of cultures and colors

consume the country.

The passion of misguided zealots

wars with

the passion of misguided fools,

though they have

more in common than not.

The poets read to rooms bereft of thought and innocence.

The writer’s craft crashes,

crushed by corporate creeds of false benevolence,

revealing itself a malevolent presence sitting on

the writer’s hand.

We are blind to the irony of a gated community,

and when there’s no one left to bear the blame,

we will hurl each other out to be first in a

wasteland of liberty.

Our words will be the legacy of our spirit’s journey.

The words we leave behind will be the journals

of our departed souls.

For now, for better, for worse,

for a future we won’t see,

we write in the darkness,

ever moving toward the light.

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.

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?

 

A Story Told in Song

From the savannah

the deserts

the grasslands

the veldt

and the jungle

 

The music played

 

On the ship

In the cabins

In the master’s house

and 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

and chain gangs

 

The music played

 

Through hard times

and celebrations

 

Through vibrant

ululations

 

and 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, through Newton,

and Martin and Jesse

 

The music played

 

Through the first black…

 

The music…

 

We must teach the songs

that kept the voices lifted

though hearts were heavy

 

Kept the flames lit though

our dreams of freedom were

constantly extinguished

 

 

Kept hope alive through our best

writers, artists, and orators.

 

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 Children from a Distance See

Our children from a distance see

We only say that we are free

 

If we were pharaohs, queens and kings

what good was it to be those things

 

if we are not united here

and walk in self-hate, terror, fear,

 

when those that came before us fought

and those who learned were those who taught

 

and passed on knowledge, trade and thought

that cost the flesh the whip had wrought?

 

I think if we are truly free

We can’t keep blaming slavery

 

For our condition in this land

It’s time to take another stand

 

For Martin’s gone, and Malcolm too

It’s up to us now what to do

 

Together it takes you and me

To change the things our children see