on freedom (7/4/16.sorrowland)

Speed Limit flag

you can’t be but so free

in a sorrowland

a place

you were forced to


discarded to find a way

out of no way with obstacles

piled higher than the mast of

the good ship jesus some of

your ancestors were stole away

on taking them to death where

they still waiting

to inhale can’t breathe

still underwater even the ones

who did not jump from the ship

we are free to limbo free to continue

in limbo free to pop up from the bottom

of the ship to the white house but

can’t free ourselves from the narrative

of being disposable shot down regularly

like animals we

are preyed upon some

times preying on one another master

was sick and we still sick trying to make

our ice as cold as his

we seek recovery from

pig scraps kool aid and commodification

while they make america great again

you can’t be but so free when you

when you wreak

or Ellison’s invisible blues while hyper

visibility dehumanizes you makes your

children targets

targeted for

destruction called public education

a prelude to incarceration or domestic

deportation eaten by a machine

we can’t touch but are crushed by

can’t be but so free when you

hooked on the hooks

but you think you fishing

divided against yourself

wondering why you can’t

get over as you look down

at your feet counting the

steps you took to get nowhere

in a rigged game where

lies like independence are celebrated

by conquers

you can’t be but so free

less you understand your duty

to resist exercise the freedom

to try be free enough to

dare to struggle and

prepare to win like a promise

waiting to be fulfilled

till you do that

you can only be

but so free

in a sorrowland



(art for sale on a website that caters to racist) — you can’t be but only so free…






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times of fire

it is a time of fire

an age of rising

like waves on a

black sea we are

the pouring over after

being pressed down witness

fire on the water we are

the lesson of the lynching tree

the answer to cotton

the trespassers of language

undressing the weapons

hidden in ink

we are the dreams

projected from projects

the residual of slave hollars

before the rebellions

we are the pouring over

after pressing down

we have walked

miles in the rain & not

drowned we will light

the sun we come with

fire we are of fire & water

we are closer to the dust

knowing we fall like seeds

we come forth in abundance

thrive in the flicker

of the slimmest chance

we come bearing fire

born in a time where vanity

rules truth tellers are slain

poets are labeled mad & fire

is born tended

carried in bellies

hearts minds souls

hot like fire baby

we don’t want new dealers

we want to write a new deal

renegotiate the treaty papers

the terms of engagement

the boundaries of the public

sphere & all thoughts of

manifest destiny

we come with fire

fire heals & destroys baby

we don’t want a new dealer

in this time of callous

disregard the unwashed

walk along the river’s

edge wrapped in the echo

tapped out on iron

Ogun proceeds

Shango gathers the rear

the sound conjures

an unslave ditty

with a free style

cadence breaking

the air of ignorance

disrupting sinister off-key songs of

self-divined too big to fail

democratic failures playing

one note  on the backbones

of the oppressed wrapped in lawless

law ink weapons protecting

invisible war criminals above

law stealing lying dirty hands

operation stealth cloaked in subliminal

sound bites selling us crazy

at market rate

talking heads full of schemes

no quarter offered

none asked

we have come with fire baby

to light paper houses

deconstructing language

writing the narrative of

rebellion burning with forward

motion on our breath

prayer is better than sleep

action more divine than prayer

movement is life we moving

proof of life baby

on fire with no more

time to dance you a jig

juggle two realities

pretend like you make sense

truth is a sword we got

one reality we refuse to

be crazy for you

might be a good time

for you to stop pretending

like you crazy too truth

is a sword cutting through

concocted innocence

perceived fragility

& delusions of supremacy

one reality

not invisible

carrying fire

forward motion on

our breath armed

with fire & truth

hot like fire baby








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the way we walk

body art artafria ethopia surma

the story is being written

madness majick and infamy

spilling off the page too heavy

to carry we tip over under the weight

that rides dead center inside keeping

us off balance stumbling up hill

sometimes you got to grow wings

feed it to the wind go where the water

flows without sound we walk wounded

through lean slivers of real life distracted

forgetting to count the blessings

essential to the thought of continuing

we smell of struggle overcoming or the

effort of trying to distance ourselves from

that narrative hard to find even ground

movement is life so walking forward

is written on the inside of eyelids sewn

shut to reality like a nailed window shade

the light still spills through shadows every

where especially in bright light and in the

contemplation of the quantitative quality of

our lives we grow schisms like mushrooms

tended in the dark confusing side of complexity

hanging like the moon off center

sometimes invisible

but still omnipresence

even when you can’t decipher its shape

we step over the bones

sometimes falling where other have fallen

sometimes using their falls to propel us

we keep walking going forward because

movement is life and we are alive walking

wounded on the bones of the fallen

and those who stood on them

before us holding up the sky

singing in the dark


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mud and flower black girl painted

sometimes you look at your feet

you think where you done walked

you remember the holes you fell in

the times you were underwater

before you learned to swim

you forget you are walking that

the dirt remembers you

you let go of the power in that

in all of that

you let go you look down

watering all that with tears

it’s the world

you standing in the world

you look down

measuring the world

you can’t dream another

because it is all your story

for real it’s the tale of you

it is all true

it can’t be denied

it’s the road you walked to get here

standing on ground that remembers

you while you give away the power

of still standing still breathing not done

still here could just as easy turn my

head look at the sky

remember coming out the water

learning to swim dancing when weary

because movement is life

facing the morning

after praying for the dawn

getting out

getting over

getting out from under

i could look at the sky

dream another world

but sometimes you get stuck

stuck can’t go forward

cause you looking at your feet

you look down into the abyss

you are climbing out of

you recall the bones the hole

is lined with you remember the

hot breath of fear the taste of disappointment

the too late not enough the winning without reward

the debt that can’t be paid

the promise still unkept

of the sheer enormity of

hill you are standing on

where I could turn my head to the sky

count the stars like possibilities

look at the void like an opportunity

for the contemplation of  flight with

the wings I been building by pushing

one foot in front of the other

one foot in front of the other

going forward to now

crossing the wilderness of my existence

headed always towards Zion

I could celebrate my pulse

my warm blood

the taste of determination

the ground on which I stand

the hands that lifted me

or I could look at my feet

look at the sky

look at the hills in the distance

look at the all in all

and feel it rumbling in you

holding your hand

calling your name

saying go forward

movement is life

the ground remembers you

remember how you walked this

far remember you are

remember the story is still

being written

look up

go forward

one foot in front of the other

into tomorrow

look up

one foot in front of the other

into tomorrow

look up




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she who holds up the sky


earth woman

holding up the sky is

dangerous business

but someone has to

how will the sun set

where will the moon rise

if the sky falls

she who holds the sky above her

arms extended neck craned

to make sure the stars are

properly placed that there is

water in the drinking gourd

the north star pointing to

freedom the twins boxing

someone has to do it

so that those who won’t

can go forward in the storm

sometimes stars fall

hard to distinguish them

from her free flowing tears

bodhisattva for the world

for the unknown and

the unknowable

for the known

and for those who won’t

know the knowable

for the blood

singing her reality

for the dreams for the bones

for the bones

she who holds up the sky

feeding the ocean with her

tears sacrificed to Olukun

dedicated to Yemonja

who washes her feet

as she stands taller

than she should

her breast bared

her arms extended

above her nappy head

holding up the sky



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horse day

thin horsethin horsethin horsethin horse

sun baked day

like all days

just a day

until it is

something more

the horses came

two lean large eyed

looking hungry



prosperity after

hunger after want

after white light

so bright blinded

now we can see

what the hard ground

will yield when we

have more muscle

only as good as the tools

we use he used to say

pride in his dark eyes

leading thin horses

up a rocky hill

our horses

our hill

our chance

a extra hot water

cornbread day like

sunday on tuesday


signs of our right

to be lucky

to continue to struggle

in the storm

to continue performing

the miracle of


our skinny life from the dirt

god sent horses

we will eat only

beans for a month

to pay for them

say hallelujah and

pass the hot water

corn bread pour the last

of the syrup we fall down

to get up always reaching

we go forward no chance

turned to slim chance

we dance thankful

for the promise

in the horses

we will fatten them

planting hope in them

like the seeds we

will plant

in hopes of harvesting

more than ill will

rolling down like

the rain we pray

up in the heat of

0ur deep hunger

in soul to rise like

the sparse shoots

that defy odds to

keep us just alive

enough to want more

two horses

lead by a slender rope

harnessing our future








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hell must be a hoot

the devil laughs

why wouldn’t he

laugh loud deep & long

hell is proably very merry

for the devil & his minnions

hail hail the gangs all here

hell must be one grand

monsters ball all the bad

guys together forever being

bad boys for life eternally

birds of a feather all

gleefully roasting together

if there is laughter in

courtrooms and jail-houses

chortles in the morgue the coroner’s office

in hospitals offices of funeral homes

the offices of funeral homes

then hell itself must be a high class

hollar full of fat rich men

and low women

in bourbon

and sin swimming

makes ya wonder

why its

so easy to get in

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