After hearing Maya Angelou speak this morning at the Children’s Defense Fund National Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio I visited the National Underground Railroad Museum & Freedom Center and it was a powerful experience. Pay special attention to the Haunted Slave Poem because it was written in the 1800’s and shows the power of poetry to transform society. I hope these photographs inspire you all!
Today is the last day of my 30 Day Poetry Challenge! I can’t believe I am done. Today I am in Cincinnati, Ohio for the Children’s Defense Fund National Conference
which is convening thousands of child advocates, faith leaders, Social Workers, community organizers and activist to build a movement to protect children in our country. This morning at 6:00am young leaders convened outside the convention center for a time of silent reflection on African-Americans, especially young men in the prison system. What many may not know is that the U.S. has the largest prison population in the world and it is overwhelming inhabited Black men. Author Michelle Alexander calls this phenomena the New Jim because many of these men were led to prison due to economic and racial circumstances. After getting out of prison most ex-offenders lose voting rights and can’t get jobs which means they are basically a separate class. The poem below was inspired by poems I read this morning that were written by young people in prison, their poems touched me and reminded me that I was born and raised in one of the 12 communities in NYC that sends the most people in the state to prison. To read my poetic reflection:
Write my love across the sky,
when you see tears of joy fall from my eye.
With pens of joy, hope and light write my love for all to see.
My love is imperfect,
but the image it was made in is not.
Love is not if it is hidden within the heart.
Why must we hold divine truth within ourselves
due to pride, ego and “propriety”.
I will not hide Love within my heart,
though foolish I may seem,
so write my love across the sky for all to see.
Crisis, chaos, hope deferred.
Shooting, Occupations, debts
Hate speech, suicides, domino effects.
Spiritual not religious,
seekers are now finding.
Questions that were mysteries are now
Soulmates, twin flames, cosmic
Love, Joy, Healing, Hope restored.
The Caterpillars and Phoenix are rising
into a new birth.
A revolutionary seed is now coming into
The divine alarm clock says it’s time.
The Awakening is happening.
Are you asleep?
When the storm arrives where will you
Where will you turn for shelter?
Who’s Arms will protect you from the wind?
When lightening strikes will you see?
We dance in the sunshine but can’t
withstand the rain.
Life is invigorated by the sun,
yes this is true,
but without the rain to cleanse us we can never be born anew.
When the storm winds blow will you
Or topple like the houses you’ve built with vanities.
A warm whisper.
A gentle caress.
Assurance that greatness can come from gentleness.
Exhaling self doubt,
Inhaling self love.
We rest in the knowledge that light has drawn us together,
and the depths of hell can not tear us apart.
Through sickness, pain and rain,
our joy is full because our love was built on the solid rock of divine timing.