how many more times do we say their names?
how many more times do we make signs and march?
how many more times do we hashtag Black lives matter?
how many more times do we just send thoughts and prayers?
how many more times will we hear the murderers say they were in fear for their life when the video clearly shows otherwise?
how many more times will cops lie and concoct a narrative to defend their actions then get put on paid administrative leave?
how many more times will the media portray the victims as being responsible for their own death?
how many more times will the jury find Blackness so threatening that they justify the aggression of violent murderers, and the verdict comes back not guilty?
how many more times will we go back to living our lives until the next person of color is murdered because their skin is weaponized, and we post another rip?
how many more times?
because i’m tired...
When you’re shot down in cold blood in the streets
When you’re choked out for selling loosies pleading “I can’t breathe”
When you’re still breathing lying helpless on the ground under white sheets
When GoFundMe’s are set up for funeral costs and killer’s lawyer fees
When the system’s been broken, ain’t no justice, no peace
When another hashtag and video footage makes you madder and sadder
When paid administrative leave leaves pigs pockets fatter
When I’m in a constant rage cause it seems Black Lives don’t Matter
I’m still unapologetically Black
You can’t break my spirit
You can’t make me fold
You can’t kill my vibe
You can’t take my soul
After slavery, lynchings, bombings, Jim Crow, and mass incarcerations
We’re STILL unapologetically Black!
I am an example of resistance
I hang from manufactured rope
On the Tree of Life
I didn't live a Brothers Grimm fairy tale
Conceived into oppression
I was wise beyond my years
But I've never received a White man's education
I was bought and sold like sheet metal
I've been called boy
Inferior to my Superior
I've been violated and raped
No one heard my screams
I was tamed like an animal
I was a field hand and a house nigger
I've picked the fabric that creates
My Master's shirt
I've wiped his children's noses
And prepared his daily meals
I've tried to escape to new freedoms
Only to be brought back to plantation land
My footprints were imprinted in Southern soil
I've been beaten without reason
My whips never healed
I was fed up with His rules
Now my lifeless body dangles
Before you from a noose
My legs sway to and fro
My eyes are blood-shot red
I am an example of resistance
This is dedicated to my ancestor's who paved the way so that I may live freely today.
I was listening to Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit" and my mind wandered. I imagined the "strange fruit" telling his life story to the people who watched him die.
*A poem from "Just My Thoughts: Mind, Body & Soul", published July 18, 2006.
welcome to the forgotten poor
underfunded schools, a Chinese spot, the projects, and a busy liquor store
this is all she sees when she walks out the door
her momma tells her to study hard so she can have more
every day the little girl writes in her composition notebook
one story is about this five course meal and the lives that it took
short story with a moral, teach a lesson like fables
a little food for thought to feed the mass behind your navel
first course (soup)
first to the block
where the corners stay open
cause the dealers don’t stop and the pigs stay looking
for their next quota and everyone thinks they’re Ray Liotta
destined to be “a made man”, but they don’t understand
they’re the reason why there are fiends coming back
like loyal fans for assorted brands transacting into non-melanated hands
if politicians were only this sympathetic when the crack epidemic began
second course (salad)
here come the dirty boys in blue with nothing better to do
profiling innocent people of a different skin hue
thinking they’re above the law, beatings and shootings ensue
they claimed they feared for their lives, camera footage purview
getting slaps on their wrist for brutality they do
then it’s back to the streets to target another like you
third course (appetizer)
now peep these two men arguing
it’s hood beef their harboring
one stole a chain and the block that he claims
so he steps to the dude, figures gun fire will heal his pain
one stray in the park and my best friend’s slain
her momma screaming and crying
hide her tears when it starts to rain
but the memory of that day will remain
fourth course (main dinner)
next to the project bench where a little kid sits
trying to make a dollar out of 15 cents
and he feels it’s only common sense
to give to the poor and take from the rich
so he and his friends plan to hit a lick
steal a man’s wallet and carjack his whip
plan goes wrong, strapped man strikes back
local news reports kid and friends got capped
fifth course (dessert)
you see the street prostitutes dressed like vixens in video shoots
they hoe-ing the cooch just to get the hooker loot
when they finish what they started give a customer the boot
back to where they departed waiting for a horn toot
hitting more balls out the park than legend Babe Ruth
and the pimps in the cut stacking profits in zoot suits
if you eat what you’re fed
and that’s all that you know
then you’re conditioned on familiar
and that’s probably how you’ll grow
unless you beat the status quo
not only is she
smart, gorgeous, funny, and kind
she is a bad-ass
that one is magic
she is next level epic
dope beyond measure
a child of the sun
she is mother earth
she is flawed yet fierce
complicated yet simple
worldly and divine
built to withstand all
she is a superpower
mind, body, and soul
don’t test her gangsta
she is not to be fucked with
she will cut a bitch
her worth and value
are not subject to discounts
you must pay full price
you can’t put her in a box
she defies labels
they talk about her...
who does that girl think she is?
who she wants to be!
Just My Thoughts:
Mind, Body & Soul
Handwritten short review by legendary poet, writer, commentator, activist, and educator Nikki Giovanni for "Just My Thoughts: Mind, Body & Soul"
"It's not a #1 record but Just My Thoughts: Mind, Body & Soul catches the times of the heart and minds. Thank you so very much for sharing with me."
(side note: It's dated one day after my 22nd birthday! I cried and died when I saw that part!!) #Won'tHeDoIt! Yasss!!!
Dear J.D. -
I'm delighted to grant permission. Good luck! Keep on keeping on.
(her response to allow me to use her review for promotion)
(side note: This is dated two days after her 67th birthday!)
This is Nikki Giovanni's review for my still unreleased book of poetry, "R.I.S.E."
THIS is why I'm NOT stopping!
Celebrated ICON, poet, memoirist, educator, dramatist, producer, actress, historian, filmmaker, and civil rights activist Dr. Maya Angelou acknowledged receiving my book with this kind card!