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Poem: We Are Not Going Anywhere

break-every-chain-coverIt saddens me that another yet another high-profile racial storm is brewing in the United States. This one’s in Ferguson, MO. over the death of Michael Brown at the hands of police officer Darren Wilson. While I would love to say that racism doesn’t exist, I can’t because I’ve experienced it blatantly and have seen others deal with it first-hand. While traveling, I’ve experienced someone leave a restaurant, just white patrons present, after we sat down (he literally left his meal on the table). I’ve had someone “pinch” money from my hand and then place the change on the counter. The list is unfortunately long enough. This poem describes some of those experiences as well as the frustration of being Black in America.

Black, Hispanic, Caucasian, and Asian
We are all members of the Human Race
America has so many colors and hues
And yet equality for all remains an issue
“They” will not admit that Blacks still have it bad
Because nothing has changed since we were brought to this land
We were chained, shackled, and treated like animals
Stripped of our dignity, we fought for our survival

Now we are “free” men and most still cannot accept it
After 130 plus years “they” think we just got off the ship
We have come too far now and enough is enough
We are flesh and blood, we breathe and we love
This country was built on our blood and tears
Gone are the days of shackles and fear
We had to fight for our rights in the midst of despair
Now we stand strong to declare: We are not going anywhere

Still we are hated for the color of our skin
So united we must stand and fight to the end
Our forefathers were brought here against their will
To be treated like animals and used for their skills
When they tried to run they were brought back and whipped
They were traded and sold like cattle to the highest bidder
Our men were beaten like dogs and DEmasculinized
And our women were lusted after and raped until they died
Yet to this very day “they” cannot see
We are all “family” – born of the same seed

They hate us because they envy the power of our minds
So they keep us in poverty pinching pennies and dimes
Schools are so bad they wouldn’t send their dogs to them
They pumped drugs into our communities to create a culture of hoodlums
But guess what? Some of us still slipped through the cracks
To fight against oppression and take our land back
So there is something we need to make very clear
We are here to stay—we are not going anywhere

Our skin is Black and our pride is fierce
And our spirit is stronger than their hate can pierce
They think we are monkeys falling out of trees?
We are the original race and they are our seed
As long as they hate us we will continue to fight
And as long as they fear us we will remain united
We remember our people came over here on ships
They rotted in those vessels –dying in feces and vomit
Our people built their homes and sweated on fields of sugar cane
We picked their cotton and nursed their babies

We fought in their wars to gain the constitution
And died for a country they stole from Native Indians
Now after 300 years they expect us to go back
We will not leave and they can accept that as fact
It they think we will revert back to living in chains
They had better get sober and think again
In grand ole’ America we have too much invested
Hate us if they must but they still owe us a check

We will not settle for ten acres and a mule
And their hatred just gives our determination more fuel
Because the debt America owes us they can never repay
So they treat us like dirt and try to wish us away
Now the problem is theirs and they must get over it
If they did not want Blacks here they should not have put us on the ship
We want our fair and equal chance to retain wealth
And we will not be ignored or stored on a shelf

Their fear and resentment will never kill our tenacity
Because just like them we have the right to remain free
So they can leave the restaurant if the cannot eat around us
And clutch their bags when our Brothers get on the bus
And sit our change on the counter because they cannot touch our hands
And stare at us as though we do not belong in this land
Just let them know this message is very loud
We are Black, Beautiful, Mighty, and Proud
We cannot—and will not go back to “yesteryear”
So get used to it because we are not going anywhere

©June 2003 Kim R Woods
All rights reserved

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The Love of a Black Man

 

 

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 PDF LINK:   The Love of a Black Man

Because you are loved. Keep your heads up!

The love of a black man is like no other
Because in him there is an essence of
The unknown and power unseen
His hands are like an iron mitt with just enough soft
To melt us like snow
His lips are full and strong
And taste like a promise unfulfilled
In his love is character of true
True to the knowledge of who he is
True to the passage of roads he’s seen
True to the fulfillment of his dreams
Because, you see
When he looks at you, he sees his destiny
The love of a black man is limitless
When he knows of himself
It reeks of a feral masculine scent
That is but a touch away
A glance away
Oh but when he looks at you what does he see?
His ability to be himself?
When the day is done and the mask is off
Can he be not the man the everyone else sees but …
Who you see?
And, when troubles rain down
Like an endless torrent of woe
When he begins to question his worth
It the money right
Is his status tight?
And there’s not enough time to catch a breath
Can he cry in arms of understanding?
Or be judged a punk or a loser
As time immoral has judged him so
In your eyes will he see a mirror of himself?
Oh but the love of a black man is fleeting and yet so real
It reeks of a long day’s work
And brandy
And calloused hands that caress so sweet
And heat that envelopes a dream
His love is long and strong and hard and … oh!
Did you feel that?
Was it the way he kissed or licked or gripped?
Was it the way he looked into your eyes when he
Oh! Discovered that he was home
The love of a black man is fragile
Like dropping a rock on a deck of cards
It is not self-sustaining
It is the rarest of all finds
And requires strength to hold
Because his back is strong
It holds the cares of his love and…
Needs to strength of
Softness to remind him
That he loves not in vain
And to encourage him that
The whips and chains of his
Own struggles
Cannot taint his heart
And, if all is good you will take flight
In his world that knows true
Because the love of a black man
Is you

(c)2011 Kim Rosemon Woods
all rights reserved

Don’t Take Your Existence for Granted

 

Social Conscience

  

One of my favorite quotes is “Every life touches a life”.  I’ve been telling my son that since he was a child.  In my own perhaps naïve way, I drank the cool-aid of “do unto others…’ that my parents fed me. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make a difference to me as I came of age.  After all, no one wants to be on the receiving end of someone else’s selfish or cruel actions.  But the violence in Chicago and elsewhere in the US go beyond simple selfishness.  We (especially Black people) are killing each other.

In my finite mind, this is a crazy phenomenon – man gets angry, man picks up gun, man shoots gun, someone falls dead, man walks away.  Murder is as old as time itself but lately, it’s out of control.  Of course, there are a myriad of reasons.  Examples of this are absent fathers and negligent mothers, lack of jobs and education, physical and sexual abuse, gangs, and drugs/alcohol.  But even with all the obstacles we face in our society, there has to be a way to the basic “do unto others” creed.

Each of us, by our very existence, can affect someone else on the other side of the world.  How can this be so?  I had a friend once who was going through a tough time.  We talked things over and at the end of the call I told her “no matter what you’re going through just know that I love you and tomorrow is another chance to turn it around.”  She called me a week later and told me that she was talking to her cousin who was stationed overseas.  She told him the same thing and he told her that he needed to hear that because he was contemplating suicide.  A word of encouragement to ONE person made its way across the ocean to another person who needed to hear the same thing.

We take our place in this world for granted– myself included. Let’s change that.