Family Picture

By LC

After Slugg: A Boy’s Life in the Age of Mass Incarceration by Tony Lewis Jr.

There’s something missing with this picture
As I wake onto a random day
In a random hood
In a random city
In America
I listen
Listen to the voice of my mother
Shouting down the bickering of my
Little sister and little brother
But there’s something missing
So I look
Look to find my auntie on the couch
With my baby cousin in hand
Look out the window to find the neighborhood junkie
But he is not the MAN
I’m looking for
See that man has been gone for years
Gone from this family’s struggles
Gone from being this family’s muscle
Gone from this family’s daily hustle
Ironic that I used that last word
‘cause HUSTLE is what got him sentenced
To no return, L.I.F.E.
So my father is what’s missing with this picture
My uncle too
And to every other black child
In a random hood
In a random city
In America
I’m just like you too.

Speak Child Speak

By MS

For my daughter

Speak, child, speak,
hold not your tongue because the question that you ask,
the answer that it brings may be the solution that saves us all

Speak, child, speak
Because ignorance is not bliss,
it is apathy to the mind.
It is the residue of stagnant thoughts that destroys itself fully
with the passions of time
& stagnation is death to young & old minds.

Speak, child, speak,
your voice may be the one that touches the world & shapes reality
into a paradise that women, men, & children may grow & peacefully live in.

Speak, child, speak,
Because my voice is old & un-remembered.
It is the weeping in the bowels of coffin ships & it is the creak of rope & wind
& silent kingdoms swaying in a sultry southern breeze,
it is the shackles of falsehoods binding me to inferior thoughts of mental slavery,
It is the sound of a fast life lived & lost in court rooms
silently weeping in cells trying to escape my self-created hell.

Speak, child, speak,
Because you are the Grace of God & the Dreams of a Nation.

SPEAK, CHILD, SPEAK

A Living Death

By  TTB

The worst pain I’ve ever felt
was looking at you, reach for me
through a video screen and I couldn’t
touch you; right then, I knew
what it felt like to die, a living
death—

A poem from a father to his youngest son.

Thoughts

By MP

Late nights and early morning
Is what it’s becoming
Same thing, different day
Trying to figure out life as I know it
Scared to give a little because
People are taking more than what’s given
I’m trying to play this game like chess
But everyone else is moving like checkers
Help raising my daughter is a hard thing to do in my situation
I feel like it’s time for change
I feel like the old ways ain’t working no more
So, it’s time for new ways
In life, if something breaks you fix it
If not for me, my daughter deserves it
My generation is lost
They have no moral value, loyalty or respect
Shaken dudes that was once a friend
And killing them is now getting everyone paid
And all I want to do is change this game

Late nights and early mornings
Is what it’s becoming
Getting on my knees and praying asking Allah to take this pain
My little brother just got more time than his age
I’m on this path and I don’t know where it’s going
All I know is that I have to figure out something
Drifting through life hoping that I be smart for me and my daughter
Just my thoughts!!!

Unsolved Mysteries

By DW

Blindness affecting love
War obliterating peace
Miles and miles of loneliness
And for what?
No one knows.
Freedom locked away forever
and at what cost?
Will no one unbury the lost?
Will the children of the stars forever cry?
Will their tears continue to flood the streets?
Who will answer for this?
Secrets being revealed
Water polluted
And for what?
And at what cost?
Who will answer for this?
No one knows