Poetry Challenge Day 30: The New Jim Crow

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:

Continue reading

Poetry Challenge Day 28: The Awakening

Crisis, chaos, hope deferred.

Shooting, Occupations, debts

defaulting.

Hate speech, suicides, domino effects.

Spiritual not religious,

seekers are now finding.

Questions that were mysteries are now
being answered.

Soulmates, twin flames, cosmic
connections.

Love, Joy, Healing, Hope restored.

The Caterpillars and Phoenix are rising

into a new birth.

A revolutionary seed is now coming into
full bloom.

The divine alarm clock says it’s time.

The Awakening is happening.

Are you asleep?

20120721-211819.jpg

Poetry Challenge Day 27: A Warm Whisper

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.

Poetry Challenge Day 23: I Sense You…

I sense you,

but I can’t see you.

I know you,

but you are a “stranger”.

I follow you,

though I don’t know where you are going.

Our paths have crossed and are about to cross again.

Destiny’s date is with us.

We will recognize each other at the ordained time.

Until then I will Love, Laugh and Live,

in the knowledge of our coming joyous

love.

20120715-152411.jpg

Poetry Challenge Day 21: I Will Keep Writing….

I will keep writing,

I will keep pushing,

I will keep smiling,

I will keep laughing,

I will keep loving,

I will keep walking

Though I may face pain, rejection and rain.

I will keep on because so many have sacrificed for me.

I will press on because God has empowered me.

I will rejoice in a love that will last for eternity.

Sculpture created at Project Onward a gallery and studio for artist with developmental disabilities. -projectonward.org

 

Poetry Challenge Day 20: Black Beauty

Black Beauty,

Black is Beautiful.

Beholders Eye,

Behold Me!

           Take by me at the 2010 Armory Show Artist Unknown

 

 

Poetry Challenge Day 19: Unbonded

I must learn again to bond

after losing my first friend, sibling and wombmate.

I must learn again to trust

after feeling abandoned from day one.

I must learn again to share

after losing the first person I ever shared food, water and shelter with.

I must learn again to light the flame of love

after my twin flame was snuffed out.

How can I mourn a loss that was so early?

How can I mourn the loss of someone that only mother and I knew?

Silence suffocates.

I am grateful for all I have today

but I still feel that someone has been missing.

I need to cry 30 year old tears.

If we were home in a Yoruba village

we would have been given a healing  ritual and divine guidance

but we lived in the ghetto so loss was expected.

At least this Black male would not know the

pain of stop and frisk, hustling and gun shots

he would die eventually so why not today?

There was no ritual, no tears, no village to raise us;

one on earth and the other in ancestorland.

No knowledge that there is no separation

between the living and the dead.

Just my mother’s silent tears and

my unspoken fear that I won’t ever be able to bond again.

                      Taken at Museum of Natural History

Poetry Challenge Day 18: A Psalm of Joy

Today’s poem was inspired by a prompt from Writing the Sacred: A Palm Inspired Path To Appreciating and Writing Sacred Poetry by Ray McGinnis.

Divine parent-mother and father, human and divine,

I give you thanks with my entire being;

before the sun, moon and stars I declare your praise.

You pull the orphan close feeding her with the eternal milk of your unconditional love.

When I was invisible you saw me in my distress;

even when others refused to look upon me.

Your grace and mercy follow me all of my days,

like twin companions  flanking me on each side during this sojourn we call life.

Who can quantify your ways or figure  out your favor?

With joy I will share my testimony with all who need encouragement along the way.

Your praise will continually be upon my pen as I write of your just ways.

Your divine love will light my path as I illuminate the darkness for your glory.

                                  Photo by Onleilove

Poetry Challenge Day 16: A Poetic Balm for a Weary Soul

Covered in dust and sweat he came to the end of another demeaning work day.

Smiling when he had every right to frown, laughing when the joke was on him.

His hands blistered from the hard labor and his heart callous as well.

Each day he felt their sickness towards him take root deeper and deeper into his soul.

As he arrived home and walked through the threshold he felt like he was crossing over

from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light-

her light, her smile a balm to his soul.

He worked so hard to shield her from scrubbing floors and tending children not her own.

As she welcomed him home it all seemed worth it.

After the children were all tucked in she read Hughes, Angelou and Baraka to him.

As they lay in bed with his arms wrapped around her,

she administered this poetic balm and he was healed to go on another day.

Image

                         Taken at Chicago’s Lake Shore

Poetry Challenge Day 15: By Harlem River We Sit & Weep

20120707-171606.jpg

      From http://www.nyc.gov

By the Harlem River we sit and weep.
By the South Negril River we sit and weep.
By the River Mantua we sit and weep.
By the Mississippi River we sit and weep.
By the Volta River we sit and weep.
By the Nile River we sit and weep.

Our silent tears can not erase the pain-filled years.
These tears fell on the riverbank’s soil and fertilized it,
from this soil grows hopes and dreams that must be harvested by future generations.
We wept not only for what was lost but for what will never be.

Our melancholy can not be seen through stonewashed saginn’ jeans.
Our depressed affects painted with the finest Pink Friday MAC lipstick.
The joker and clown always wept the loudest when alone.
Our home is abandoned and the finest have been carried away in chain-gangs.
We serve and protect a king not our own for a few crumbs from the royal table,

“Look at us now we getting paper.”

Exiled to a stolen land,
we feel as if the divine mother has let go of our hand.
We wept, but many have forgotten why.
We wept, we yell, we cry, but many think our pain is an inconvenient lie.