What is WOKE in this day and age
Is it simply activism only from a social media page?
Is it an afro and a pick?
An Olympic stage raised clinched fist
Consciously eating organic kale salad
While digesting an Erykah Badu ballad
Is it Nat Turner’s unspoken rage?
An Angela Davis gaze
Is it a national anthem knee?
What is WOKE in the 21st Century?
What does it mean to be WOKE?
Is it the audacity to have hope?
The subtle militancy of Malcolm X’s ghost
Political satire at an extreme right wing roast
Pledging allegiance to a black body swinging from a tree
Being WOKE is strange fruit in the 21st Century
Is being WOKE something confined to the tongue,
Or the manacles of the miseducation of the Negro becoming undone?
The souls of black folk arising from a collective slumber
A raisin in the sun transcending the shade of the summer
Is it something we can taste, touch, see, hear, or feel?
Or is it only a vision our united third eye makes real?
What is the price we pay for being sound asleep?
Is it gentrification cultural misappropriation of being WOKE in this 21 Century?
The poets featured here are currently incarcerated, and many of them are in federal prisons far from home. Your feedback is a valuable source of motivation and connection to the outside community. Post your comments, feedback, and encouragement in the space below the poem. Messages will be passed on directly to the author. Comments may not appear immediately on the site, as our team processes them to mail to the poets.