Amongst the Broken Men

By CB

I’m living in a world where you’re called
By numbers and not your name
On lockdown, behind a wall in rusty chains
My hands and feet are in shackles, so I can’t move
This the first time in my life
That I don’t know what to do, and
Not even my family knows what I’m going through
Being forced to eat small portions of shitty meals
And if we complain, they say, “We’re lucky
That we are being fed.” They got grown men
Sleeping on bunkbeds. Many men have
Committed suicide for living under these conditions
They then told the C.O.s that they were going
To do it but they ain’t listen
I was taught to stand for something
Or continue to fall for anything
These men must been brought up differently
Cause they don’t stand for nothing, but count time
They bring opprobrium to my race, because
They quick to fight each other but won’t
Even fight for their own freedom
And none of them have thoughts of escape
It’s like they are scared of these gates
They got me surrounded by cowards
Who are content with being oppressed
By racist a** C.O.s, that applied pressure
The institution is the new plantation
It’s slavery at its best, yet we fail to rebel
Because they install slave mind frames in us
That cause us to get side tracked
And look forward to mail, but I refuse
To be like the rest, so I stand alone
Because I’m amongst broken men and
Once something been broken once
It could be broken again
Amongst the broken men

Remembering My People

By PJ

Look at my people

And Grandma’s slow movement
In her knee-length gown, slippers on
Braids cover her head, like a crown
I love her bold features, her high cheekbones
Broad hands grip her snuff can, and her eyes
They have a far away stare
But they’re focused as they keep secrets

Daddy’s fat hands pat his afro, as he picks it
I love the smell of his cigarettes
He always looks at me like he can see everything
Like he’s far ahead of what I think; he’s so serious

Mama, with her determined walk, never a wasted movement
So patient, and understanding; a refuge of sorts, from Daddy
She always indulges me
It seems they look alike with their afros and their slacks, their button-down shirts
They say opposites attract; she’s as light-hearted and forgiving as he is intense

Brother’s smile, looking like Daddy
With Mama’s patience, Grandma’s wisdom, and my innocence
My faithful companion, my confidant
I try to mirror him with his smooth black skin and wavy hair
The way he sucks-in his cheeks and puckers his lips
I recall drawing a mustache over my lips to mimic the peach-fuzz over his

Grandaddy’s big feet as he walked, dragging his black, big shoes
I recall: his hat and coat hanging in the hall by the stairs; I’d try-on both
Still today, I remember the smell of the inside of his fedora
Like Barbasol and Old Spice
Look at me, remembering my people

Grandma’s wisdom came from her full lips as I looked into her tired eyes
Never can I forget the deep lines in her face; wrinkled
She told of times long ago before slipping again into her doze
Being as young as I was, I couldn’t comprehend when she talked about love
Older now, I realize: hers was a traumatic experience
Now I understand: she had enough hope to dance around intimate details of: whips and ropes

Once I heard Daddy talking to Mama, he mentioned
Being called a nig–, again- I call David that all the time
Daddy said: “It reminds me of Virginia where they hung Tim.”
He said he hates remembering: Tim’s body swinging and jerking; he could still see the twisted mouth
Daddy said: “I hate what happened in the South.”

Brother’s eyes, they look just like Daddy’s
When he came to see me I rushed him – to say goodbye
Later – they found him beaten and shot
Brother’s companionship is deeply missed as he slips into drug and alcohol addiction
Brother’s “tagging” at my hip is a memory only as he’s been engulfed by the streets
His naïveté replaced with ruthless ambition; a do or die attitude
To get money, there’s nothing he won’t do
How did my brother become enslaved in the 21st century?
New chains, a life sentence that he can’t escape
In a penitentiary

Mama’s cries sometimes are silent
But they’ve embedded and etched the pain on her face
She carries her sorrows everywhere, that way
Still she’s beautiful, in more than a weathered way
Surrounded by masculinity, she’s the glue
Without her what would we do?
When Brother died, I never saw her cry
When I cried, only a look of familiarity
After Daddy’s death she was the pillar of stability
She’s family quintessence
Where it begins

Look at me
Remembering my people

Home Sweet Home, Right?

By KW

I thought after Medgar Evers, there’d be no more fear

In her home she knew she was safe!

I thought after Emmett Till, we shook up the world

In her home she knew she was safe!

I thought after Fannie Lou Hamer, we were done being sick and tired

In her home she knew she was safe!

I thought after Eric Garner, we would breathe a breath for relief

In her home she knew she was safe!

I thought after “Bloody Sunday,” Brother John woke up America

In her home she knew she was safe!

I thought after Dr. King, there’d be a “Table of Brother-Hood” in a nation
whose people are colorblind

In her home she knew was safe!

I thought after Aretha Franklin, falling in love with ourselves just as we are … is natural

In her home she knew she was safe!

I thought after Dorothy Heights, greatness is not measured by what a man or woman accomplishes
But by the opposition he or she has to overcome to reach his or her goals

In her home she knew she was safe!

I thought after Sean Bell, before 1 bullet would be sent at least 4 or 9 words would be spoken

In her home she knew she was safe!

I thought after Philando …Damn.

In her home she knew she was safe!

I thought after?

I thought after?

And that’s the problem!
How many more “Again?” until it ends?
Under our flag we are created equal
How many more “I thought after’s” until
Respect is giving to our flag?
We are killing our own people?
While wearing the flag
Our flag is a symbol of security
Stop killing our people!
Respect the flag, because

In her home she knew she was safe.

God Help America

 

I dedicated this to another American, Atatiana Jefferson, who was unarmed and killed in her home by a rookie police officer. Again?  

Off Course

By AW

The slave ship that doesn’t move
Nor never ever set sail
Motionless is it rooted
To the earth with no course

The middle passage of the mind
The children of slaves, no matter how
Many generations removed, are still
Slaves, when the mental chains
Are enforced with illusions of inclusion
Lebron James

Chow lines long and cold, economic foes
The mental sharks fed off of
The mental courses of dead and dying
Cattle dressed in Prada along
Middle Passage route,
On course to make a profit off of
Cargo of Black Gold
Lebron James

In dreams vividly, am I eaten alive
As I sink, thrown overboard
In chains and padlocks as if I am
Going to court on course to make a
Profit for the slave ship that sails
No more.

On the stock exchange
Black gold, Lebron James,
Are shiny Black bodies still
In ball and chains
Thanks to a clause in the 13th
Amendment: still are we
Cattle when duly convicted
Of a crime

On course to make a profit
Of course on this slave ship
That don’t sail no more
Called, not Jesus,
But the
Prison Industrial Complex

In the belly of this complex
Beast I’ve set for over 30 years
Longer than the life expectancy
Of my ancestors who thrown
Overboard, on the middle passage,
In the Atlantic Ocean into the
Cold waves, off course
Wasted profit
Of course.

Confused!

By AP

They say racism is dead,
But every day I have a target on my head.
Why, when they define the color black or
Brown, they align it with dirty.
But they connect the color white with pretty.
Tell me how is the younger generation ‘pose
To survive,
When the one who are suppose to protect them
Are taking their lives (police)
Tell me, how can they believe in religion,
When they’re raping, and murdering the same
Women who gave birth to the future children.
Every day they say we aren’t a country to cause
Harm,
Then we literally kidnapping kids from their
Mother’s arms.
How can this be the land of the free, and the
Home of the brave,
When they’re using the prison system as a
Modern day slave trade to get paid
What happen to the Dream of Dr. King,
Of every race coming together and
Connecting like a ring.