Friday, August 4, 2017

Cell Blocks

Cell Blocks
By: Assata Patterson-Lyles

I walk in a room and I stand in the middle, as I stand here, in this old room, this old building
I realize it’s a cell. As I’m here, in this 21st century world I try to imagine the people who
Walked up and down this hallway, an’ ran across the field out back. All the people in the
Prison trying to make a living with the little light they get each day,and the some who don’t

get light, well they die, from depression, unhealthiness, and unhappiness.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Stand Up

Stand Up
By: Essence Pembleton

All these colors I never saw before burn at my eyes 
and I can't take them away now that you pointed them out 
skin color stands out like a sore thumb in the media 
"Black man shot by local cop. Claimed the man had a gun.
and everyone is trying so hard to have their opinions heard
but no one can hear them over the gun shots 
and the crying families all over America who lost their sons
or their daughters. The ones who were denied
and I've sat here so silently in my privilege afraid to speak out
but enough is enough and it's time to help
so I will stand beside every black family in America and 
we will try to win this fight

Dear Ancestors

Dear Ancestors
By: Salihah Aakil

Dear Ancestors,

What made you strong enough to endure what they did to you? How did you continue to enjoy life? How did you find time to create this beautiful culture and still manage to stay alive? What made you want to stay alive?
How can I ever thank you for staying alive?
When did they give up trying to kill you and start tormenting you instead?
Can you teach me the resilience you had, teach me to be the sun, the earth and the shadow between them?
Did you ever want to be more than ⅗ of a person if people acted like you masters did?
Did you ever truly believe they were your masters, that they were born with something that made them inherently better?
How did you stay so strong while they told you that you were weak, march on while still standing on your own two feet?
Who are you, I don’t know your name, your face, laugh, your pain, they made a point of acting like you never existed. They are the best actors they even like to play black folks sometimes. They even like to act like they're broke sometimes.
Can you teach me.. everything, like all the languages that drowned on the middle passage, all the music and dance you used to pass messages?
Can you tell me the stories of how the trees blessed our hair and made it look like them, how we rubbed sunlight and kisses into our skin and became golden children?
Can you tell me how we died, with warrior, hope and pride we died. Became queens after the sun set, became soldiers that they mistook for slinking shadows, like Sandra, like Trayvon, like Emmet, like Eva, like Tarika, Michael, Tanisha, Eric, Miriam, Shelly. Can you remind us how to die brave again, like you did?
Like - like how you did, like how you looked down at your heart as you bled and smiled about how black your blood was. Said,
“They’ll forget us when the sun’s gone but we’ll still be here, still staining their white walls black, still night time.”
All of my people are the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of slaves be we don’t know how to be brave like you were. Can you teach us how to be brave like you were? How to fight even if our only struggle was breathing.


Bob Flemings

Bob Flemings
By: Amara Okongwu

Bob Flemings

Is it really enough that he is “everywhere...yet nowhere”?
No I don’t really think it is!
Surely if your mission was equality,  you could have done a better job than this,
For 200 years later we have evidence of supposed success, that “all men are created equal…”

But no sign of a man slave who slaved for those ruled and were regal.


By: Fionna Farrell

The softer the touch,
The harder the words;
Your hands are feathers
That tickle me awake
From a sombre sleep
That make my skin glow
And my soul hum
To the rhythm of
Your hypnotic song
But the words that
Escape your mouth
Are lined with daggers
That gnaw on my bones
And seep into my blood
With every squeeze
Of the shoulder
An “I don’t know’
With every draped arm
An “I don’t think so”
With every hug goodbye
A whispered “I’m sorry.”
As the velvet of your fingers
Fades into night air,
The weight of what’s said
Hangs atop my shoulders
Pressing until one day
It can be lifted by
Words from another,
Words incomparably sweeter,
Words that last longer
Than your touch

Wonderings Regarding Legacy

Wonderings Regarding Legacy
By: Henry Ziegler

Would I be remembered? Or would I merely descend into the teeming ranks of 'the ancestors', 'people back then', 'those who came before'? What is my legacy? Would my name and image live on in street signs, hospitals, train stations; would my name and image lend themselves to cities, states, or nations? What earthly actions of ours can guarantee a pedestal in the pantheon? 

Excerpt from Eastern State

Excerpt from Eastern State
By: Faith Chung

B-1381. I am no longer Jacob Pensendorfer, but prisoner B-1381 in the Eastern State Penitentiary. Everyday for 23 hours I sit in a tiny, dimly lit cell in pure silence except for the occasional shuffle.
As I close my eyes, all I can see is the beautiful face of Gloria Bennett, her melodic laugh chiming in my ears. “Jacob,” she laughed, dancing in a white dress. “Jacob!” Suddenly, she changes, dressed in rumpled, ripped clothes, bruises staining her pale limbs, hot blood dripping down her face. “Jacob,” she sobs, collapsing onto the floor exactly like she did 5 years ago.
“What happened?” I feel the question spill out of my mouth even though I already know the answer.
“Someone mu-mugged me,” she cries into my arms. “He, he hurt me.”
The vision changes and my hands that were comforting Gloria are now wrapped against the neck of the bastard that touched her. My shaking hands are curling around tighter and tighter, trying to squeeze the disgusting life out of him.
“Die!” I roar, angry tears spilling down my face. “How dare you mar her with your filthy hands!” Even when his body goes slack, I refuse to remove my murderous hands.
An hour later, the police find me screaming and crying, my hands wrapped around the neck of a deadman.
To this day, I have no regrets. Only bitter satisfaction.