Thirty Poems in Thirty Days National Poetry Month 2015

I accepted the 30/30 challenge offered by a group of fellow poets. This is the result. Thirty poems written in 30 days.

Poem#30 (4/30/2015) North American African Poet

i am a poet

language and ideas

are my meat & bread

the eye a tool

that captures the light spilling

on to the fully dressed fig tree

the flight of birds

the wind over the grass

the pain in a mothers eyes

the hunger in a childs

the anger in a mans

i listen for the meaning behind the words

waiting for the truth

like an off schedule bus

reflecting reflecting reflecting

like a mirror the

things that pass

through me living with the things

that will not pass away

but cling stubbornly to life

myths that crumble when examined

lies manifest to protect the guilty

the unevenly cut pie

the wolves selling merry-go-round tickets

law in the land of the lawless

the ugly secrets bandaged by

a flag and an anthem

living in the nation

buried deep within the nation

there is another rhythm

a steady rising wave

another drum beating

real reality lives here

not the story in books

funky non commercial real

realness is Africans dancing

in front of the white house

demanding freedom and the american

way come out to talk

its telling the truth no matter

what it sounds like

or what they want to hear

its not caring when they see

you point the zombie finger &

make that high-pitched squeak

that denotes they have noticed

you are awake traveling in stealth

with the sheep when wolves smell

lions and guerrillas  they panic

cause they are unruly

refused to be ruled by wolves

won’t ape the story

on the news they are noisy

hard to control and known

for waking sheep i like lions

& apes

& sheep that are

awake so for them

i tell the truth

i write the songs

& the eulogies

explain the difference

between what is &

what needs to be

i am their poet

eating their pain

carrying it inside

trying to transform it into

food for the battle

bandaging the wounds

sucking out the poison

outing wolves

urging them to move forward fearlessly

i am the drum beating inviting the dance

i am the drum beating calling the dancer

i am the drum beating

i am the drum

Poem#29 (4/29/2015) No Apologies

i offer no apology

for my tone

the tilt of my head

my gaze

my embracing of my intellect

or my clear thought

not one

god gave ’em to me

deal wit ’em

Poem#28 (4/28/2015) Today

the sun rose & so did i

a new beginning for the

moments it takes light to

reach the brain then one remembers

i am she who remembers when

i wake up freedom is on my mind

Baltimore has stopped burning for

the moment dreams deferred have been

tucked back into frayed pockets underneath

quiet pleas for peace which confuse me the

flames signal the lack of peace so what are

the pleas for are they a request to let the

dream keep sagging like a heavy load

it may still explode Baltimore is not the end

sadly awake i know this the litany so long we

end it with & thousands more will roll on

rebellion is an answer we need answers we

refuse to dance on killing floors we will

stop the party send the band home if you

force us you are forcing us  I am awake

Mumia is dying being killed by the system

which has confined & penned him because

he was awake wolves like sleeping ship

i am awake the anger finds me & i am forced to sit in

bodhisattva for the world to find my own

compassion in a world which is short on

empathy awareness of the possibility of other paths

& evidence of a interconnected humanity

i am awake the sun is shining & the anger has been

placed in a quiet room so that i can travel from the

nation in the nation to through the nation

carefully standing behind the veil

dealing with the matters of life going forward

in the storm even as the wheel turns &

the jaws of wolves snap on the necks of

those sleeping as they walk through the

world i am awake

sleeping sheep & wolves on the path

as i go forward doing what i was told to

do knowing no other way i

dress my soul for the day

step out into the world

with three eyes open

Poem#27 (4/27/2015) Veteran

he lives in a tent under the overpass

trying to over his past get behind change

to make a future but the ground is moving

he is not life is passing him sometimes it

stops with water food spare change but his

change is slow in coming trying not to die of

exposure he exposes his tours of duty in the service

of his country he does not tell me how he slipped

and fell only that he is having a hard time getting

up but he still dreams about rising high enough

to touch the taste of life being lived on its terms

he has children grandchildren they do not know

he has fallen he will wait until he gets up

if he gets up he will go to them whole but

not in the pieces pushed in a cart after

being in service he is looking for services

from the country he protected he needs

protection from the wind rushing the top

of the faded tent he needs the promise to be

true he needs to cash the check the country wrote

but it won’t clear today maybe not tomorrow but

he has faith that something great is coming

his sacrifice will be met he is confident it won’t

be much longer and the nightmare will end

he dreams America and waits for the

curtain to rise as he rises over the past

walking away from freeway underpasses

into life maybe sharing spare change

with strangers whose faith was not as strong

Poem#26 (4/26/2015) The American Dream

America the dream

equality  prosperity freedom

justice its the American way

one for all and all for one

American

land of opportunity

exceptional

where rags to riches is real

pulling yourself up by bootstraps

is possible there is a chicken

in every pot two cars in the driveway

money in the bank work for willing hands

the land of milk and honey

the american dream

down sized

fewer jobs & chickens

paychecks don’t go as far

as they used to rent too high

factory closed war came it

never left hard times for returning

vets sour milk & tight money

are we still dreaming America honey?

tell me again about the dream

America sing loud enough for

us to hear it outside in tent

towns small houses moving

moving moving moving no

chickens no driveways

living under freeways

outside in the rain

after night falls

on our dreams

of the dream and us

outside of the dream

trying to find a way in

again trying to find a

way in trying

to find a

way

whats the dream again?

Poem#25 (4/25/2015) For the Trolls

(bgal24 this is for you & the gaslight crew)

i know you read me

i know you discuss me in forums

you are so brave on the internet

saying what you want to say to my face

but lack the courage how do you have

so much time so little business you

can mind mine who are you i know

you writ large but not the you of it

the men and women at home behind

computers lobbing bombs into the lives of others

you are fascinated by me love to gaslight me

truth is i terrify you this lets me know

you are intelligent enough to be afraid

lets me know you are aware of your sins

those you inherited and the fresh ones

you committed in the name of privilege

you like to throw shit

dressed up as your  free thought

you have thoughts of me falling down

staying down beaten finally knowing

for all time my place but it aint your place

to judge me you ain’t god to me in all likely

hood your god is not my Godz it does not

bother me that you fail to understand me

i operate in a different epistemology

my paradigm ain’t your paradigm

i have no sympathy for you in your small

cruelties hiding behind your screen with

a mouse by the neck being a big man

i am used to your type i know its cowardly

sheen have smelt your stench in my flared

nostrils and I recognize the smell of hell fire

you are sick so sick you will most likely die

in your ignorance and usually i do for your

what your god will not do

i ignore you

you are beneath me

you are beneath my thought

you are less than nothing

you are an abomination

walking death talking death

strewing death before you on

a blood-red carpet your kind spend

lots of time making others feel small

so you can imagine yourself a giant

you would not survive my world even

my dreams have fangs be careful not to draw

my attention if you get on my radar I might

come for you like your tales of blue-eyed jesus

like a thief in the night running you up out the temple

serving reciprocity with the ease you offer

your opinion on my life which you know less than

nothing about if you had ever met me you would

be more cautious i am unstable dangerous barely able to

contain my anger on a good day asking nothing

from you but that you remember your humanity

not caring if you find it face down on the floor

i owe you nothing and try to give you even less

i am not for you i am not invested in your well-being

i like you uncomfortable i am what you fear but

not what you imagine never what you conjure

you have no capacity to understand me

alive knowing intelligent not under obligation

born free with dignity entitled to all you claim for

your self and determined to leave footprints a map

and light for others to follow this is liberation theology

meant to separate me from you and your dreams of

lynching trees to distinguish me from your naked greed

to set me aside from your dumb ass ideology & if

you want to know what i really think

read slowly and aloud

i don’t give a fuck about you

thanks for reading

Poem#24 (4/24/2015) Free Poem

this poem would like to be about something

other than poetry or why I write

it wants to be beautiful shiny to take you

somewhere you discover something so

beautiful you remember it

but this poem is already about this poem

which wants to be as free as I want you to be

this poem is off the reservation like I want to be

this poem does not recognize boundaries

it will go where it wants to and be all it can

it wants to shape itself and be what it

is in all its glory I want that too for

the poem for you or me so I have

let the poem be itself knowing it is as

close to perfect in itself as anything can be

so it is living in the now unencumbered by

its history my tendencies or your expectations

running on clean asphalt breathing deeply

smelling pine and eucalyptus reminding

me of walking to school though a meadow

that is paved over now but the poem remembers

the tall grass the wild fruit and the endless sky

of younger days before the lights came on

& I found less reasons to smile became serious

about things and let go of things to carry other

things the poem remembers cute boys in the

fourth grade with liquid brown eyes crooked smiles

and valentine cards it remembers light coming

though the skylight making patterns on the comforter

it remembers the cloud shapes and when I learned

to read them this poem remembers what you have

tucked into the drawer of your real life to live

the life you have it knows you dream of running away

to your real self it wants you to it says you should leave

today it does not want you to take the things

that tie you to the ground make you cry or feel afraid

just your joy it wants you to play to remember to be

the poem is over gone maybe to return probably not

that happens sometimes when you get the courage

to run away when you get the courage to be free

you never go back to the way it used to be

Poem#23 (4/23/2015) One Perfect Love

love

perfected

is generous

one is divine

undivided whole

one perfect love

love purely perfect

from soul

to souls

traveling the same road

together in the storm

the same with splendid

difference the same

heart

same struggle

fear

same pain

joy

same dreams

night mares

together on the road

walking the same way

hands in the air

mouths open singing life

out of the lean spaces we stand in

out of the thin air we breath

out of the courage we posses

we are all we have

standing on the bones

remembering when the sky

was cleared and the thunder

was our friend the earth our provider

the sun our light us multiplying one perfect

love unfolding like a rose or

a diaspora traded for a mother’s arms

we are everywhere together in

the no where wanting for our

brothers what we want for ourselves

one love

one perfect love

bigger than the oceans that separate us

as vast as the story that connects us

deeper than melanin

inbred racial memory

binding as blood

love perfected

we are one

indivisible from the inside

one love

one

one perfect love

Poem#22 (4/22/2015) Mama Connie’s Poem

some rooms pull me back

through time sometimes

its a song truth is I can

be interrupted in the middle of

a thought the ancestors are

calling clearer than a phone line

ringing they want to talk through me

they want to say something

they need a tongue I give them mine

today they want you to know there is

nothing new there have always been stars

we are cosmic dust fragments of all

that has ever been there is nothing new

only those who have forgotten

those who think this is all

now is not all here is not all they want

us to know there is nothing new

nothing unthought only unknown in the now

they want us to remember to remember

they say its important

there are things that get lost

the sound of someone’s laughter a gift

from on high forgotten floating somewhere

wanting to be remembered the sweat of a brow

furrowed in concentration falling into the dirt

to become a part of the all carried in the wind to

rain down again absorbed forever waiting for

its moment to be recalled the curve of a muscle

strained in burden holding lifting making the now

I stand in honoring that toil that honest labor often

free unrewarded but earnest there are stories of quiet

saturday mornings in the back seats of cars

no money but going somewhere looking seeing longing

for some future time not knowing those

precious moments would disappear under the weight

of those future days long and empty of the things

that rolled softly before them or were drug down long dark

hallways some lost on purpose others waiting

for thought to brush up against them

things like the sound of your dead great grandmother’s

name gasping for air waiting for you to say it aloud

they want us to know we are their future

yes the dead have futures we live them

they want us to know they left work for us

they want us to remember

what they tried but could not do

they want us to do it they want us to know we

are a promise they dream on

yes the dead have dreams

we are their dreams our rising and falling

our pain and our joy

they want us to know

they told me to

write it down and say it aloud

I am writing it down

I will say it aloud

Poem#21 (4/21/2015) Crooked

in the crooked house

crooked men run a crooked

game selling you a reality you

will never survive your future

rotting between their crooked teeth

jesus did not run all the money changers

out of the temple or they fled and moved north

to set up shop in ghettos cashing checks selling

you pork newports cheap booze marked up

toilet paper and ramen let you run a tab

between loads on ebt cards & infrequent

tokens from babies daddies drifting in search

of themselves in a place

they can’t breathe or escape the chalk outlines

waiting to embrace them if cells

don’t cage them their dreams their dark

thoughts of waves rising & their time

arriving with the fall of crooked men

digging holes for things they fear

like the return of Christ

the rise of a black messiah

black men

alive

black babies

in the womb

black women

for nurturing

black men & continuing to dream on

them knowing they are waves rising from

a troubled ocean floor

water seeking its level

life giving and deadly

given the right circumstance

look at the circumstance

crooked men hide behind

laws concocted to grow them

like fungus in a damp room

mold growing on everything

living fatalistically comfortable

with death and the constancy of

falling empire infecting dividing

remaking themselves like cancer

hiding in the machine which

is painted invisible & parked in

your living room

crooked men in a crooked

room counting on you falling down

betting on the odds

winning either way

engaging you in senseless conversations

smoke & mirror diversions

selling you designer dope

baiting you with pretty things

setting you against your neighbors

and the other folk they don’t like

because they can and we are adaptable

crooked men playing

a crooked tune

that we dance a crooked jig to

wearing pained crooked smiles

to hide the crooked shards of

anger cutting out our guts

as we dance a crooked

jig to crooked tunes

hummed by crooked men

with  your future rotting between

their teeth

Poem#20 (4/20/2015) Imperative

if someone broke into your home & stole

your children how long would it take you to

forget would you forgive the man who raped

your grandmother if he was unrepentant

would you forgive the kidnappers

celebrate them their kidnapping ways

join them in hurting others to prove

your loyalty to them in appreciation of

them not killing you even though they may

at times murder your sons fathers daughters

mothers put them in cages stripping them

of the status they have awarded you the right

to be one of them until they decide you can’t

burn down a town or hang your neighbors from

trees  burn crosses on lawns in your community

& continue to this day to dangle nooses

from trees in dormitories  in company trunks

to remind you that they remember

daring you to say you do

what would your imperative be

how would you show up without

bringing the anger that has to be

brewing somewhere unless you have found

a way to forget don’t remember never knew

just don’t care how much blood is on the path

to ignore that the moment is a blinding light

demanding voices attention movement wants

something that is missing needs to be

would mean pretending not to see

how the sidewalk holds us better than the country does

how every 20 hours bodies fall

next to the merry-go-round of the prison complex

industrialized to process the fodder from

schools designed to wash out

those who find it difficult to conform

those capable of coloring outside the lines

& those born with three eyes incapable of forgetting

adapting assimilating or shrinking to fit behind

the veil conjured to disavow their humanity

how do you keep from screaming

upon waking each day knowing you have to walk

though a charade in which you act the fool

with a history of

minstrels in celebration of your stepping and fetching

being the only way not to be bending and toting

how long would it take you to forget

to forgive to glorify to join to become

the cancer you swim in

at what point would your imperative

become curing the cancer

Poem#19 (4/19/2015)  Adaptable

I can’t cut myself into pieces

small enough to fit into the

boxes you have crafted to confine

me I refuse to be invisible

you should fear me

the sins of the fathers

ride with you unresolved

you eat the fruit of stolen trees

while denying me a resting place

in the sorrowland you stole me away to

I will not make peace with

your transgression will not forget

how I got here will not forgive

anymore than the bones on the ocean floor

will pardon you the remembrance

of holocaust you never asked for

forgiveness how can I adapt to that

I will not adapt to confinement

being lynched starved worked without pay

uneducated educated to serve you I

will not adapt to murder at will

will not stop breathing because

you want all the air I will not

be your stereotype

will not wear your dream

of me falling down

will not share your lie of me with my

reality of myself

will not seek to comfort you in

your psychosis you are ill

I refuse to ignore it you

can not make me wear the mask

when I refuse

the suit don’t fit

I will not shrink

my dreams are bigger than project

bedrooms that peer out on courtyards

without grass or trees they don’t care

about your bottom lines

endless need to build fences

my soul wants more than neon

& street corners it wants roots

reason rhyme dignity &

justice my history

belongs to me I hold it close

to remind me of being born free

my culture

is all I bought from where I belong

to this land constructed by the laws

of the lawless

it is fluid on purpose to keep you

off center it is alive you don’t

make the rules for the medicine

it is not for resale

after being remixed robbed of its

majick & infected by you

I have a beginning

a story I wrote in blood & tears

I remember it  & those who

died living it

I know where you fit

you can’t rob me of legacy

you don’t posses the power to unmake me

I will not give it to you

you are not my author

I will ever come to glorify my captures

think in your logic become you I am

what you stole in its raw form

following a different drum

connected still

held still

here in your midst

Big Black’s time bomb ticking

unsmelted not melting beyond your dreams

of assimilating me I refuse to be eaten I

will not be digested  I am

the substance of nightmare

& retribution

invoked by you

the genie out the bottle

sharpening swords

waiting for night to fall

I am not adaptable

 

Poem#18 (4/18/2015) Gaze

when you gaze at me

what do you think you see

do you look beyond

your perception

of me

can you see past

the tale of me

you brought into the room with you

who told you how to measure me

what scale did they use

who do you think I am

why do you want me

to conform to your idea of me

I am not an idea

I am human

blood coursing though veins

heat beating out my life

you do not know me

don’t know where I’ve walked

what I have carried

how heavy the burdens I

brought into the room with me

how I try to keep my mind open

enough for room for regret when

I am constantly disappointed

that you don’t see me

you see the things you think you know

the things you expect

the things you fear

disappointed in the way you

talk at me as if I were a thing

not a person trying to make me

accept things that are unacceptable

asking me to adapt to your peculiar

form of madness asking me to be

who you think I am

because that makes you comfortable

I am not invested in your comfort

can’t afford to care that you

have preconceived notions of my worth

I was born free

with dignity

I am not waiting for you to confer it upon

me I am not waiting for you to understand

that I am human I understand

I am sure of my worth

I will not offer you comfort by hiding my

discomfort my anger my consternation at

the audacity of your gaze that seeks to

undo me existentially

breaking me into small

pieces at war with each other

while you pray

for the reality of my

disappearance into

your myth of me

& the smelting pot

Poem #17 (4/17/2015) Choice

they told me god was in the details

they say the devil is in the numbers

i reside between heaven and hell

the details and the numbers of existence

one life infinite paths possible

one path destined

dangling between fate and faith

knee deep in details

with the odds against you

luck and hustle collide

faith in destiny is a detail

often overlooked

there is a reason always

if god resides in details

a reason resides in the chaos

of shattered moments

lost chances and found escapes

narrow and wide are doorways

each to rooms with windows

and other doors possible has

no number as hazards to

the soul are legion innumerable

so blessings are abundant unfathomable

we are wheat or chafe

dangling between

heaven

hell

fate

& destiny

Poem #16 (4/16/2015) Awake

the phone is ringing

she is miles away

my beautiful granddaughter

a piece of moonlight

shining in another part of the world

she is all tears frustration pours though

the phone line she has called to share

the fact that she is awake no longer asleep

her eyes are open  her dreams have changed

she woke up with freedom on her mind

she has discovered herself

she got the call

the one we know can come at anytime

reminding us of the borders of our lives

the boundaries we may not cross

the barriers to inclusion

the inbred entitlement

the sickness that divides and subtracts

she is a black girl

in a world that is killing black people

she is afraid

she is angry

she feels betrayed

she wants to know where the place for her

is the place where her brilliance will be

recognized and not colored by her melanin

her world has gotten smaller

she feels the weight of the burden in

her soul it is not her heart she is very clear

it is her soul that hurts to know

what she knows thought she could

live without accepting thought it was

an old thing that grannies thought about

thought the days of lynching trees and crosses

were firmly in my past she knows now its her

past as well knows that it does not skip over

does not make exceptions does not care

that she was open to being simply human

she understands the hues of her skin put

her in a different relationship with the world

which is much smaller this morning she has

also discovered her pride her love of her skin

how perfectly it suits her speaks for her is her

starting place in this world

I comfort her

welcomimg her transition from

sheep to warrior woman

I reminder her that if

ignorance is joy

knowledge can be painful

better though to know

better not to be a sheep

wolves eat sheep

my granddaughter will

not be eaten

she is awake

Poem #15 (4/15/2015) Poetry, Falling Shoes &Warfare

deep thinker

born with a sword like tongue

shield bearer

a warrior queen

instructed to go forward

capable of utilizing all means

from birth at odds with downpressors

first breath a scream

called articulate like its a clever trick

first there was the word

carving light from dark

creating reality and covering the tracks

running on invisible lines

composing myth and structuring structures

but three eyed water babies can see

the demons in the machine

the machine

& the little man behind the curtain

would it horrify you if I told you

I dream wide awake of killing the machine

the little man & his dog

murdering the master with his tools

or with bare hands thumbs on windpipes

pressing releasing the pressure building

would it bother you if you knew

that when you look down on me

use clever ways to remind me of my place

act like I am not standing in front of you

I climb down off a ledge in my heard

machetes in hand willing to destroy the thoughts

that make you feel entitled to do so

would you sleep well if you knew

how clearly I see you

behind the facade & systems

behind the institutions and oceans of ink

you invoke to bind me

does it frighten you to realize

I remain unbound

nappy wild dangerous

thinking

listening

knowing

& you know

I see you

I can smell your fear

& like a vampire its all I can do sometimes

not to release you to the righteous

reciprocity you await with sour breath

knowing that the shoe is in the air

and will eventually fall you

turn the screw and wait for the yelp

how much

how long

when

where will the shoe fall

paper does not

hold the rage

its helps spread the virus

I caught it from a poet who used to

be a Muslim still serves Allah

but always prayed in poetry

he traveled with an old socialist turned communist

whose fingers drummed as he spit

verses that rode black horses in terrible storms

both itinerant rebels spreading the gospel of get free

disguised as poetry taught me to load mental

nines and explode ideas that carry weight

burn though bullshit make noise in a vacuum

rearrange thought and provoke practice

inspire defiance validate transform

like fire able to kill and heal

knew I had it when the lady poet signed

the book saying most high gave everybody something

she said I got words

my weapons are

a story told & carried by many

verses dispersed hold the

keys to locks the antidote for

the venom of vipers decoded

catching the serpent in the tale

like a naked emperor

wolves are revealed

for sheep who are waiting

for a rallying cry

that springs from the page

hands clenched pulling

back the curtain

focusing the lights

grabbing both

the little man

& his dog

by the throat

silencing the machine

Poem # 14 (4/14/2015) Black Boys: An Open Letter

this is a love letter

a round unvarnished tale

drink this cup to the dregs

i brought some light for the head

& words for living

underwater without a boat

take the rope

seeing clearly maybe your only hope

there is a story

of you falling down

i read it in the paper

saw it on the news

you in cuffs

buying tickets for the merry go round

& they want you to ride

want you to cell till you in the ground

got you lined up to drink

the kool-aid you hot & they got the fade

you keep falling in the holes they made

especially for you

you heard of school to prison its true

there is a cell and a grave waiting for you

they are waiting for you to choose to

do what they want you to do

so they can lock chain exterminate you

its something about you

something about you

something that scares them

makes them need you to self destruct

they invent dope for you

special liquor too

took a continent from you

left you tossed up

descendants of warriors

content to rule street corners

claiming death before dishonor

with out honor

new school got broken rules

make as much sense as

brainwash schools

the ones you walk out of

trying to get your hustle on

you run fast most don’t run long

i see you dancing but whose writing the song

is this all you can be or

are you just singing along

there is a story of you falling

down blood on your hands blood

on the ground blood &

repeated rides on the merry-go-round

as they sing the song of you

falling down feeding it to your

peers & your sons

your are the future

as you grow so shall we

the nation in the nation

go what do you dream for us

we are in your hands dreaming

of you rising living becoming men

who will raise families who

will employ each other

teach each other

protect each other

see your self in one another

stand up for yourselves

educate yourselves

make a safe place for us to grow old

grow old

accept responsibility for what

you must change get

off your ass & in the game of living

going forward

making ways out of no ways

you are the Calvary

go

they have come for you

they are at the door

in the village

hunting you

to make sure you don’t escape

the slave catchers

the rollers

the police riding darth vader

task force

housing authority

sheriff

& the BART cops

FBI \CIA/Homeland security

& ink got you surrounded

in the land of the lawless

hard to get through alive even living

flawless but with all this

you are the future

of this unvarnished tale

burning in the street

trying to find the door to life

dying to live

living to die in cross hairs

hammer in hand

brain on pause

lost causes

we dream on you

we dream on you

there is something about you

something about you

something older than you

don’t let it drown you

understand it your father needed to know it

if he found it he told you

showed you where to find

your own if he never found his maybe

your grandfather was falling down

in time to the rhythm when he

should have been telling him but

maybe he was carrying something older than him

as well i know you got some twisted

things in the basket life served but

its what you got its what we all got

its all we got to make life from it

will have rain in it maybe more than your

share so you will have to find the sun son

you must if you want to be

we need you to be you are the future

you are the unvarnished tale

find the polish to shine up the sun son

we need your light the light in the baskets

wasted thrown away unexamined

you are light

you are precious

you are beautiful

you are important

in the tale of humanity flying or falling

you are a metaphor

a promise

our all

the tale

the song

the hope

be

there is something about you

something about you

be

Poem # 13 (4/13/2015) American 

i want to pull up

on America

where its at

the open arms the swelling

bosom the broad shoulders

the resting place for the tired

poor huddled masses longing

to breathe free

where she at &

can i get there from the nation

in the nation deep in the bowels

of America on the killing floor

behind the veil

can you point me to

America

I want to park sideways

& bounce out on the grass

got some questions to ask bout

the chicken that’s not in my pot

the 40 acres I never got

want my mule my milk & honey

I want to see where justice lives

I got some advice to give

take the blind fold off &

open your damn eyes

you might be surprised what

they do in your name if you knew I am

sure you would be ashamed

I just want to wake up your game

cuz you got so much potential

to be functional even instrumental

but you got to stop & drop them wolves

who got you in the pocket

to be really real to me

it might go better if you could see

I just saying …

& have you seen equality

she needs to have a little chat with me

about the way she divides

the sunshine & rain

joy & pain

I am riding with blood memory

& righteous rage

& both want her to catch this fade

tired of 99 in the shade

you get an f if you want a grade

show me where I can run up

on democracy so she & I

can philosophize on

American hipocrisy

see if she bleeds the same color

as me  I got a case of the white folks

done gave me the blues

got me seeing red

society are you listening to me

keep acting like

you ain’t heard what I said

if I could find you I would

smack you  right upside yo’ head

get you right

so I could sleep in peace at night

hey,

you seen America

I’m looking for her

Poem # 12 (4/12/2015) At Canticle Farm

we are sitting in a circle at a farm

us broken things neatly in a circle

circles are as old as the ritual we invoke

as old as the science of things coming from

the soil the infinite nothingness of all things

composted together growing all things  we

are cosmic dust microscopic fragments of stars

capable of reflecting the god light we are born with

somehow not knowing what we were born to know

disconnected from the path which has been overgrown

with the leaves of the narratives that fill books about

who we are what we can be the weight of our sins and the

unlikeliness of our redemption convinced we are beyond

cultivation there will be no harvest only wind and dust to

remind the world we were ever here we are weighted in the

mismatched chairs by the cleverness of a thing that is everywhere

yet no where wearing the black nooses you fashioned for us

considering where we went wrong and if we fell or were pushed

we are expert at dissecting symptoms but afraid to name the dis-ease

we are crazy folks with two faces afraid to even show each other

the scars that hold us together and the many places where wounds

lie on top of other wounds we own our brokenness blaming ourselves

we pick through the list of symptoms and find ourselves guilty and

accept the bandages offered as the cancer we are being consumed by grows

we speak proudly of our ability to survive to go on without

having the space to scream out the location

of the holes in the road and in our souls so

we count the others we have seen vanish into the pits

we adapt we want to

assimilate into the people who are not in the room

don’t carry the bags of sins we are

burdened with want not to be

separated apart outside beyond the pale

light that will guide you to the place society lives

in the big house with the lights burning brightly

fire in the hearth and the smell of warm bread inviting

you to sit at the table and be counted

when I asked what it cost us to get small

enough to fit in the gate

what did we have to let go

to slip into the key hole

it was silent

some of us cried may the tears

water the seeds I tried to plant

Poem # 11 (4/11/2015) At the Emerald Tablet

sometimes you wander into temple unknowingly

unexpectedly finding yourself in the sacred

you find your way there or maybe you

came to be fed to fill your spirit you might

have been invited to be a part of the ritual

unfolding if you were you feel

special when you realize you are in prayer

with other artist creating sublimity in

empty air out of full souls flowing effortlessly

sharing the presence they were gifted with

blessing the assembled who move with us

as one body we are the reflection of the most

high sacrificing our earnest offerings on the

altar of the stage leaving our blood our sweat

sanctified space where the spirit moves rides

enters flinging open the doors to your heart

welcoming the wounds that allow tears

to heal knowing you are not on the road alone

there are other flames burning brightly

we are making a new world a better world

the real world our world alive in color

now with each breath each hand clap

each verse spit song sung image flickering

we are making a new world

a better world

the real world

our world

sacred space

Poem # 10 (4/10/2015) This Shit

8 times in the back

running away

I can’t breathe

get up off me

why are you following me

its just skittles and iced tea

twenty one times in his doorway

it’s not a gun just a wallet identification

handcuffed face down on the BART platform

it was not a taser & why tase a handcuffed man

police man you abuse because you can

small sick coward man with gun in hand

enacting the sickness in the system

which has eaten us and wants

to throw us up

we are an irritation of the bowels

in this diseased organism called America

the body is sick

we are trapped in its shit

held by the body politic

who would like us to disappear

who continue to monetize us

commodities still from the ship to the cell

black bodies as products to trade

obliterate contain exterminate

we are caught in the shit

the body is sick

enabling sickness in all its parts

dead or needing to die

sick drinking the oceans

selling you air sick

infect you let you die sick

pen you in after hemming you

in praying you melt knowing

you never will want you dead

will kill sick what do you do when

you are eaten by a cancer

held in its bowels

behind a veil waiting

to be expelled

Poem # 9 (4/9/2015) If You Knew

If you know me

you know I am a particular taste

that you either love or hate

my passion leaves little room for ambivalence

If you knew me you would know I don’t worry

much about it I do what I do I am who I am

because I concentrate on walk matching

talk I am on a path I have a lane I only leave

to visit the zone when spirits demand a ride

I am in service to the dead those who came

before those who have lent me shoulders to

stand on If you knew me you would know I honor

that burden by doing my duty to life I live with

the assignment the most high whispered in my

ear right before I took my first breath I remember

I am only occasionally lonely because I am never

alone ancestors and children everywhere If you knew me

you would know how deeply I care and perhaps cry with me

as I rise to greet the sun praying for humanity my children me

& you because we are in the world together breathing the same

air & it matters that some one cares If you knew me you would

know I care you would know that I have considered your story

the whole of it the parts where we meet and the parts where we

digress you would know I have tried

to hold you friend or foe not for your sake but because

I know if you don’t we are family only separated by degrees

If you knew me you would know I try

put it on my tombstone like Sister Thea I tried

to remind us of who we were are could be can become

tried to honor the drum remembered the dance & lived

dancing it so the steps could live If you knew

me you would know I was born to the shield with a sword

in one hand a spear in the other with my tongue on fire

a caul over my face with three eyes opened wide I am who

I was destined to be unafraid of destiny connected to purpose

walking the path rocks & all

call answered I have no other way If you knew

me you would know I only go forward spirit at my back

I wake up everyday with freedom on my mind I submit

I bow down to the greater good but will come for you

like you called me if you blur the lines I am a protector

a lioness a warrior queen shelter in the wilderness my

enemies day mare they know there is no retreat no prisoners taken

will freely bless you to go & come again If you knew me you would know

the small circle is family we don’t divide just madly multiply we are

builders creators fabricating duplicating makers about life beyond survival

If you knew me you would know I make room on the path but

will not be stopped I am going somewhere if it does not exist

I will build it I pray with my hands moving If you knew me

you would know I try I am I won’t stop I bleed light because it feeds

me I transform it into mental groceries because I know the world is

hungry If you knew me you would smile when I pass leave bowls of ink on

your window sill and pray for poets who stand between you &

the madness willingly

bleeding light because they have remembered to remember

the beauty of being the gift of life sight a place

beyond ignorance violence greed one blood holding the

song of the one & dancing with swords

singing fire

Poem # 8  (4/8/2015) Angry Black Woman

I am an angry black woman

labeling me so is accurate

it does not offend as it intends

rather it marks me as intelligent

smart enough to not give a flying

buck bout how you label in an attempt

to silence marginalize hem in define as radical or fringe

I ain’t trying to fit in always been a cut above

demonstrated by an upright spine

& constant forward motion

out side the pale behind the veil

three eyed

never coloring in the lines

moving the line not allowing you to define

how I should feel react act in the face

of your unmaking I am angry

angry & dangerous I spend time

thinking about label makers & deconstructing

the narratives of me falling down forever

I am the author of me recalling what you

hope I forget as you hope I melt in the smelting pot

becoming what you need I will never do what you

want me to do never be who you see me being

I am she who remembers

graceful divers resting with Olukun

in touch with the water voices Yemonja

riding with spider woman & the twin war godz

remembering holding carrying

burned soul from sun on the back

of necks and backs bent in fields

planting tending harvesting

oppression containment genocide

neck elongated strange fruit memento

share cropping factory working waiting on you

hand and foot in your needy need to own

control divide fence in define suppress

I own the blackness you gave me to differentiate

me from you I wear it proud to be any thing but you

it is my blood on the door may your madness pass over me

I remember being born free with dignity

You can’t fit chains for me

& I am as angry as I should be

considering who we are together

where we have been & the price

I have paid to stand here with my

hand on my hip looking you in your

eyes not finding the soul that

should be reflected inside

not needing your understanding or backing

I am apologetically angry

angry enough to tell the truth

stand up be counted line you up

put you down out you for who you are

deliver your harvest I didn’t start this

but I am angry enough to make sure

I play my part in this & I have decided to

be a hero black hearted

riding on a black horse

mapping my own course

riding for justice

suited up ready

armed with context  memory

& intellect and surrounded by

the evidence of who you are

& what you will do

If you were me you would be angry too

& you know this

you know the anger is righteous

so you plot plan scheme to control even

my unborn dreams but I see you

I remember you I know you

& yes I am an angry heretic

who will never be subject to

smoke & mirrors

don’t tread on me

Poem # 7  (4/7/2015) The Other Guys

it always happens to the other guy

you read about it but its not you

it could never be you because

you pay your dues and color inside the lines

all the time you stop on red and go on green

you are what you seem regular normal like the others

and the bad things in the world will pass over you

if you just continue to do what you do head down

grind go forward don’t look left or right

avoid the spectacle of falling bodies

the flashing lights the things that go bump

in the night the desolate corners filled with want

despair and noisy desperation the crowded houses

filled to the rafters with need sleeping with hunger

worried tomorrow will come early arriving before

a way up out of no way is found the phone calls

that come in the middle of the night breaking silence

filling it with all the holes lurking in life until its your

wife your son your daughter your husband you on the

phone saying it will never be the same or the call comes

from some one you don’t know to tell you a loved one

is no more is locked up has been run down caught a stray

that’s the day you understand you know you comprehend

the randomness in the plan rain falls on every man its the

sun that sometimes refuses to shine

Poem # 6  (4/6/2015) what if 

what if

what if natures law is the only law

what if

you have become a virus on the face of the land

and it decides to heal

what if

what if reciprocity was the only justice

what if

you had to reap what you sowed

had to take it home with you and live with it

what if

what if there were no right or wrong

what if

there were only consequences for failing to  understand

that right don’t wrong nobody

what if

what if we knew we were free

what if

we were born free with dignity and everything

& we could let go the hooks if we just opened our eyes and remembered

what if

what if what’s made in blood is destined to end in blood

what if

what if  Armageddon was the promise

what if

no more water fire next time

was God’s hand moving to clear the virus

what if

there is no law but nature’s law

what if

Poem # 5  (4/5/2015) Pieces Pt.1

we are all many people

we are mothers and lionesses

smooth dreams and hurricanes

healer souls tending sacrificing

we are fathers and warriors

who are both iron and water

we are broken and more whole

than the brokenness around us we

are in the world but not always of it

we are polite in the street and

formidable in our homes

or the opposite

we are bending with the willow

but still strong as oak we are

what the season calls what

the moments want who we need

to be in the light thats shining we

are shape shifters shifting shape

camouflaging or preening to be

unseen or seen dancing forward

or turning our backs we change

faces all of us to be in a broken

world divided and compartmentalized

recorded noted and unstable moving

shifting being unmade and remade

we are all theater playing the role

we need to be in the drama of the moment

holding on to who we want to be

as a homing beacon hoping one day

we are afforded the luxury of being

the person we are when we are asleep

all the time everywhere always

Poem # 4  (4/4/2015) No Microphone 

all right

hand me paper and pen

no microphone

the poet home alone

but they back again

tapping at window

chattering

they want in &

it don’t matter that

this ain’t the place for that

it wants to start as a hook

perhaps become a book

mad promises if they can

just come in

they at the doe’

brought a beat for the flow

thumping so hard

vibrating the flo’

all in alignment

let’s go

if I don’t get to the paper

who knows

poets and

poems been known to explode

my poems are weight bearing

built to carry heavy loads

light  dark paths

engage tomorrow

hold the wisdom of the past

sometimes they are like smoke

here for a moment

then back to the great

poetic unknown

some caught in scraps in the

notes on the iphone others

on the backs of checks

or in the margins of books

or napkins

poems scribbled

on whatever is on deck

the poet is large

in the notebooks that become phone

books directories filled with what

a poet sees

nuanced notes

sometimes written in tears

the colors poets bleed

call the paramedics

the poet is sick

of the bullshit between her

and poetry wants to be free

to flow into poetry’s infinite

enraptured by the pursuit

making new words

or stripping old ones down to

their birthday suits

all the prosaic  tricks

lyrically gifted poets do

the poet

could live forever

eating poems that contemplate

the meaning of the color blue

but the words remember

they got work to do

call the police they

breaking through the wall what

else can a poet do

but write

caught in a word fall

home alone

no microphone

Poem # 3  (4/3/2015) Water’s Babies

child of the ocean

water baby adrift floating

born with three eyes

open waiting to know.

what a thing is willed to be

it will find a way to be

it will find a way,

like air  trapped beneath water

breaking thorough the

surface exploding into

light fire or perhaps settling back

on the surface to remain water,

what a thing is  willed to be

it will find a way to be

it will find a way.

on the waves lie possibilities

reflections of self

hidden beneath

the depth of the water

the science of water

water itself what it hides what it holds

what it knows

glimpses of the sun refracted

a thing could become anything.

what a thing is willed to be

it will find a way to be

it will find a way.

water talks to water babies

willing them to know

the songs of the water

its hard to hold the knowledge of water

we are grown to forget

water babies are born to know

they are willed to remember

what a thing is willed to be

it will find a way to be

it will find a way.

water baby adrift floating

born with three eyes

open remembering

they hold the water songs

the pieces of brokenness

made whole and perfect again

fluid like dreams before

the tales of the land and the fire

which can not  be understood

without the story of water.

you got to know about

the water got to know

how you came to get home again

got to know the bridge that goes both

ways and what’s in the water

beneath the bones the dreams

the blood memory flowing

beneath the beneath

in the deep

between the between

the whispers of  the all and all

from still lips in languages that

faded upon touching land

burned in the fire unmade

still whole in the water

the one song

all the voices in

one song

a terrible noise that demands

to be held water babies hold on

to the tales of invisible stars

the patterns the moon makes

when full entering sacred space

drowning rather than leaving forever

becoming part of the bridge

the directive to live

the fear of being undone

the clamoring song of the one

waiting. to be sung by

water babies born to know

to embrace the beauty of the

burden of remembering.

water baby adrift floating

born with three eyes

open waiting to become

a part of the bridge.

Poem # 2 (4/2/2015) FIRE

FIRE

I was born in the fire

bronzed baby on the battlefield

burning to be a part of the flame

a million marching on Washington

thoughts of freedom burning

wheel stuck slowly turning martyr come

martyr ascend but the dream is

eternal it will never end

baby grew up in the fire

panther’s fed me breakfast

ideology and the reason for the flame

burning baby burning in little sister’s soul

gave me books and identity

a philosophy like an island

solid and big enough on which to stand

I learned to walk with the fire

holding it in my belly

banking it to spit out infernos

flow hotter than nitro

truth dancing butt naked on the dance floor

no quarter for smoke and mirrors

start in the abstract then make it clearer

burn away bullshit and illusion

light the way past confusion tended

by oppressing myth makers

taking on all takers

moving with the soul shakers

shifting shape burning through

racism fear and hate elegant in debate

vicious on the front line

armed with intellect and verbiage

hitting like nines rectifying misconceptions

wired in dna with fire which can heal or kill

I was born in fire

underfire on fire burning to live free

the water holds the story but fire writes the tale

of bronze babies born on battlefields

closed fist in the air

open mouths spewing fire

three eyes open wide burning

I was born in the fire

Poem # 1 (4/1/2015) Off the Wagon

Off the Wagon
I never been a quite girl
Just quietly striving in the world
Used to chase satisfaction
Dead end to fatal attractions
Watch em’ come
Made a bunch go
Complicated relationships
You can’t fall in love if you don’t let yourself slip
I leaned into myself
Watered me to help me grow
Said I didn’t have the time to trip no more
Left the big timers sweating on the dance floor
I thought I had lost my thirst
I let it go and put me first
Independent lady minding her own
Don’t need a man to make a happy home
Then Bobby took his clothes off
And oh my what a hell of a guy
When Bobby took his clothes off
The world rearranged
A woman without a man
Seems downright strange
I didn’t know I missed the groove
Till I got it back again
I’m off the wagon and back on men
Cause when Bobby took his clothes off
It opened my eyes
Oh my my that Bobby what a hell of a guy

About Ayodele Nzinga, MFA, PhD

I create; therefore I am.
This entry was posted in Poetry and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Thirty Poems in Thirty Days National Poetry Month 2015

  1. Reblogged this on A.Nzinga's Blog and commented:

    On that 30/30. A poem a day for thirty days!

    Like

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