Stranger

By AG

Would you mind if I stood next to you – a stranger on the street?
Even though my life so far has not been nice and neat?
Society says I’m less than you
Because I have a past
And treats me like the dark and evil villain of the past

Would you mind I sat next to you – a stranger on a bus?
Could you look past the differences that frame the both of us?
Though scars and tats may seem to make me less upright than you
To judge me from my cover is an
Unfair point of view

Would you mind if I lived next to you – a stranger in your town?
When you find out about my felony, will you let me live it down?
Your neighbors turn their eyes away
As if it wasn’t clear
That because of my past mistake
They don’t want me here

Would you mind if I worked next to you – a stranger earning his way?
This job is all I’ve found so far to
Make some decent pay
They shut me down in interviews
As if I wasn’t fit
To do much more than mow a lawn or shovel piles of s**t

Would you mind if I joined you as part of your society?
An ex-con forced outside it with this stigma forced on me?
I’ve done my time
I’ve paid my dues
There’s no inherent danger
In treating me like one of you and not me

A stranger

Peaceful Protest

By AL

“The home of the brave,
and the land of the free”
are notably beautiful
words written by Francis
Scott Key.

Yet. in 1814 those words
didn’t apply to individuals
with the same skin color as
me.
So for all the injustice then
and now that I see,
I proudly place my fist in
the air while taking a
knee.

I stand in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick.

WOKE

By HF

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?

Once Upon A Time

By GL

Once upon a time . . .
I lived my life, as though any day could of been my last.
At the tender age of 15, that was how I was living.
THUG LIFE wasn’t just a cool slogan for me
It was a religion.

Amen . . . .
A man . . . manifested a plan
To cultivate the minds and land of his people
THE PEOPLE
We shall overcome . . . some day
But for now, we can forget about being treated socially equal
Maybe in 30 yrs or so . . . in a 100 yrs or mo’
What you reap you sow . . . When I think I GROW
When I think I GLOW . . . When one think, it SHOWS
Think about it . . .
Scratch your head and blink about it
Dropped some jewelry, the impact knocked a link up out it

Once upon a time . . .
I was of a different mind
On the block all the time – committing different crimes
I grew up poor . . . refrigerator on E, my bed was the floor
Ventured down a different path
Opened a different door
Emotions became a wrath
The block became my whore
Money became my b****
My b**** became my god
And GOD became a myth . . .

My salvation, was inside a spliff
The burning bush was burning
My world was turning, upside down
A child hood was lost – a light was found
Society is out of bounds, to the undesirables
Kids wanting to be what they see on cable
Damn near every household possess a Cain and Abel
Damn near every parent in my hood was unstable
A half full 40oz in the fridge, a bag of red hot chips on the table
Crack pipes stashed in the medicine cabinets
It’s easy for the youth to gravitate, to the GHETTO FABULOUS
Gangsters, killers and hustlers
Foreign whips, and customers
Fly girls lust for us
Feeling like you on top of the world
But all along, you’re on top of nothing
At least, you’re on top of something
Even if it’s on top of nothing

Once upon a time . . . I was of a different mind
My 3rd eye was blind to the symbols and signs
Now I can see CLEARLY

Human Nature

By SAT

Every day I struggle and ask are we fighting for a cause or just because.
Ain’t no sense in raising your fist if you don’t even know what you’re fighting for.
But I’m scared to put my hands down to keep from getting hit in the face.
I won’t just brace up against anything, but I refuse to turn the other cheek.
There’s a very thin line between caution and paranoia,
but I’m not gonna keep looking over my shoulder
and I won’t keep peeking out the blinds.
Outside of my windows there’s someone peeking inside.
I keep telling myself to pay attention and stay focused.
I can’t afford to lose my mind; my heritage gives me pride.
Cause my ancestors died for me to live.
I’m equipped with a mustard seed that moves mountains and I’ll prove happiness is priceless.
To be confused will cost you to become self-righteous and self-centered.
My feet are cemented in the streets.
A product of the fiend my mother was and she was never there…but my father was?
And that’s a flipside of the black family portrait.
We are depicted amongst society as failures.
We’ve inherited hell on earth cause heaven ain’t within crumbs distance.
Unless, I put my brothers and sisters on my shoulders to get closer to grab the ribbon in the sky.