Read Poem: The secret Lover, by Tansy Roekaerts

Suffusion of sadness so tender,
What I yearn for lies inside.
In bed you await me,
Together we will hide

from those who think we have a choice
Or that one day you’ll be gone.
Believe you to be transient
A bus I can hop off and on!

I marvel at the swell of you
So familiar yet never the same
I know you’ll never leave me
Nor your power ever wane.

In bed I shiver with anticipation
For you’re my only truth
All else is farce, and only in your arms
Can I cry as I did in youth.

Accepting life would mean losing you
So that line will never be crossed.
Pain my most faithful lover! Pain:
All that remains from what I’ve lost.


Poetry Reading: Live Again, by Anika Anderson

Live Again, Anika Anderson

Alive but not living
Surviving but not thriving
Wearing masks, hiding identities
Controlled but not in control
Conforming to roles, titles and positions
Giving all but feeling empty
The meaning of me lost
A life summed
On that precipice of life, I awakened to a revelation
That the the key to me was found in my Creator
The Creator and His creation a relationship never fully explored
So I began seeking to know and understand
About my purpose and design in His master plan
What I discovered was peace, love , joy, trust and intimacy with Him
Most of all I discovered how to live again

Read Poem: Intently Examining…, by Minah Jacobson

Today, I woke up after an astronomical snooze of 11 hours.
I had already broken said experience once throughout the night, though.
Approximately 2:41-2:46 AM, I rose.
Bursting through the door, to release my “only human” bladder; how comical.

I just killed a fruit fly, and to my amazement, I wasn’t phased.

Just like this, everything differs. Now you’re probably wondering overall, what differs in killing a fruit fly? The method in which you go about it, the momentum of your grip, the intensity of your squeeze – or the thoughts throughout? For me within this instance, ‘Twas the ladder. Gratefully enough, it was not a juxtaposition. I sought to do it, and my actions fulfilled said desire. This is where it differs; usually, when it comes to ending the life of another, regardless of its form, I feel remorse and question whether it’s worthwhile or not. Inevitably it isn’t, although acceptably it is when a mosquito is sucking the literal blood out from your meat suit.

I understand how horrid, when out of context, that the last sentences can sound. “When it comes to ending the life of another”… In my realm of things, this specifically pertains to insects. Unless for a means of absolute survival, I could not and would not end the life of any sentient life form. This is an interesting one to ponder, whilst heading forth through the cycle of ones day to day. Alongside, a plethora of other concepts. Contemplate it! How ironically enough, one ponders how they lack the time and or means to ponder… When truly within the instant – you are fulfilling the thing you are questioning. I suppose one could say this is nearly a form of manifestation. Who am I to be said, “one” who could say such a thing, I ask myself. As I type away to the nonsensical existence of my keyboard. Witnessing the chirping and clicking of the keys – formulating what derives from within, into a tangible form which now exists among the physical reality.

This morning, June 30th of 2020, I woke up to my other dog barking at my roommate heading out for work.

In other words, I woke up in a fit of fright; triggers ignited, senses overloaded. Abolishing any means of conjoining my internal fleets in preparation to head forth into another day of the uphill battle. My internal shelves were dismantled; leaving me vulnerable for defeat. Though every person is inevitably perishable, we each share an uncanny ability as well. The knack of perseverance brings into oneself, the light of possibility and potential. Traversing an instinctive reaction, perseverance clasps onto the finite details of one’s insight and carries the subconscious along; igniting correlation with one’s conscience. Absolute duality, headed forth brilliantly; fight or flight becoming the new node. Each intermingling, your psyche questions sensory overload. How will you react? Well, this depends on the accumulated amount of unaddressed aspects of the self. Which exactly? Darling, it is so individualistic to each being. If it were able to be summarized, the dictionary wouldn’t exist.

At the wake of existence, each of us decidedly came here. Whether downtrodden or purely uplifted. It all pans out.

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Read Poem: The Past Ain’t Obsolete, by Isiah Lea

Master your metric
Live by your code

Some hearts just twisted
Most stuck stone cold

Petrified then replicated
Stoic and configurated

Equity no justice
Colour ain’t liberated

Black a shade
Confusion parade

Kinda like how
we treated each day

Cant see all thoughts
That ripple this way

Stipple your tat
Your symbol must
light way

You’re fine you’re okay
Resilient hurray

Every person seeing suffering
Desentised one way

Glad my wifi shit
Keep it buffering, dont play

First world; Sounds naive
Proud nationalistic history
Built upon slaves

From continent to continent
Or mostly stolen from one

So many homelands
Different brands or scars

Intersectionality infinite
Shattered snowflakes so scorned

Generationally even
Before you were born

Recycled spirit
Volitale, worn

Born from water
Warm to cold

Too many grow frozen
Before their life truly torn

Twinkie, by John Choe

What happens to a dream deferred?

Maybe it doesn’t dry up,
Like a raisin after all.

But ferments,
Like a pot of kimchi.
Maybe it sizzles,
Like a hot pan of bulgogi.

Does a dream deferred explode,
like a Samsung phone
Or last forever like a Twinkie?
Yellow on the surface and white inside, right?
A ching-chong chink painted with artificial colors,
like a metaphor for racism itself:
sponge cake injected with homegrown xenophobia
that never expires.

Didn’t you call me a Twinkie,
while you planted a funhouse mirror in front of me,
casting white guys in yellow face,
buck teeth, taped eyelids,
a sibilant Asian accent.
Is this what you see in me?
Maybe we can pull the white out of whitewash,
And pour in yellow to add more color.
I want to be the hero
In the next Indiana Jones,
hear my voice narrate like Ray Liotta in Goodfellas.

America didn’t you teach me to be myself,
And then make fun of me for being different?

Maybe we have enough Buddhas and Gandhis,
And not enough Genghis Khans.
Did I just say we need more leaders
who sip blood for breakfast?
Do I need to have a weapon in my hand,
need people to fear my spite to get some attention?
Will the textbooks teach you who I really am then?

Does a dream deferred cut like a surgeon following
dotted black lines on a teenager’s face?

To create a perfect double eyelid,
or an Angelina Jolie nose?
Tell me The Face Shop,
do natural Korean features not sell enough
skincare routines for you?

Since apparently I’m so good at math,
let me explain an equation I learned growing up:
Stereotypes + self doubt = prejudice,
the square root of which is irrational fear.
Now, multiply that by systemic discrimination
and you get y over x to the power of racism.
But this equation is unbalanced.
Some of these variables don’t cross-cancel out.
America, we have a problem.
America, we have a problem,
and it’s bigger than a multi-polynomial,
more complex than E equals Mc squared.
America, we have a problem,
and you can’t find the answers in the back of the textbook.

My mother always told me “ 아들, you have to fight your own fight
before anyone will care to help you”
So let me pull out my Samurai sword,
I am not your Chink,
I am not your Jackie Chan,
I am not your math homework answer key,

And I am not a Twinkie.

Let me tell you who I am,
I am a dreamer who sleeps on many great ideas,
I am a Korean who makes friends as easy as 3 min 3 step ramen,
I am East,
And I am West,
I choose to not trade my heritage for
scan, copy, command + P, clone models on billboards.

America, you have force-fed me pills to keep me asleep
From my dreams through this land,
But my alarm just went off,
no snooze.

it is morning, and I can smell the homemade sweet sikhye from my bed,

I am ready to wake up

Little Africa, by James Sears

Let me take you back in time and provide you with some knowledge. I will tell you about a place you will not hear about while attending college.

The time was 1870 to 1921 for your historical notation, the north side of Tulsa, Oklahoma is the actual recorded location.

North Tulsa was called, “Little Africa,” as this name marked praise. The most affluent black community in America, the witnesses were amazed.

Jim Crow laws created all-black communities, we cannot deny this, and right down racial lines, was how the United States was divided.

Tulsa Oklahoma was separated by the Arkansas River but not equal by any tale. The white side was not nearly as prosperous while the black community completely excelled.

Little Africa contained black doctors, politicians, oil barons, and many PhD’s, all black businesses, farmers, schools and many black attorneys.

Black owned restaurants, grocery stores, libraries, movie theaters, and places to sleep, so many prospering businesses that Greenwood Avenue was called Black Wall Street.

Yes, Black Wall Street because that is just how much money flowed. I am not making this up, it is researched, and this is the truth history holds.

Nepotism kept the money circulating within this community even for loans. Everyone purchased from their neighbor which caused the money to come back home.

Brotherly love and altruism were practiced while crimes were very low. Morals were taught to all and children actually did what they were told.

Neighbors volunteered to help other neighbors in times of trouble, and city families normally had five children while farming families had about double.

White coal miners came north Tulsa to work 72 hour long shifts as well. So, they too helped the pockets of these black business to swell.

In the 1800’s, Little Africa had its own transportation system to assist them all. Blacks kept to themselves and took care of each other so no citizen would fall.

From Greenwood Avenue to Archer and Pine streets life was prosperous and grand, and if you take the first letters of those street G.A.P., you will see that is where they got the name for the GAP Band. (Shot out to Uncle Charlie)

By 1921 there were over 100 black millionaires, six even owned airplanes. Black Wall Street was thriving and looking for more financial gains.

But on the south side, many whites lived below the poverty line, and white service men returning from World War I, also fell on hard times. “So, what happened to Little Africa?” one might say, well, the klu klux klan decided they were going to take all that prosperity away.

On the first of June 1921, envy, greed, and jealous took control, and a Black Holocaust in America was about to unfold. This race riot was one of the most violent ever carried out on American people. It was the largest massacre of non-military Americans in history with no recorded equal.

Within hours, scores of black owned business destroyed on the north side of town. 3,000 men, women and children missing or dead, and hundreds could not be found. Over 600 buildings destroyed, looted, and no longer around. Hundreds of homes lit up the skies as they burned right to the ground. Meanwhile, good white Christian families just watched and stood around, witnesses to the kkk killing anyone who’s skin color was brown.

Little Africa was unlawfully lynched as this massacre went for 72 hours and from yard to yard, until the white sheriff sent his black deputy to call up the State’s National Guard.

The National Guard came to prevent the loss of more innocent lives because death is what they saw, and the first order of business was to establish and enforce Martial Law.

They stopped the killings, aerial bombings, disarmed and sent the klan home, while doing their jobs. But they failed to save hundreds business, dozens of grocery stores, churches, restaurants, hundreds of homes and farms, two movie theaters, banks, schools, pawn shops, jewelry stores, and even a hospital laid in the wake of that hateful and angry mob.

Restitutions, never happened, insurance claims-dishonored and black voices were silenced. Mass graves around the city hid this act of complete and senseless violence.

Impacts, today African Americans have little nepotism and we have lost most of our financial power. We seldom support each other and our money leaves the community within about couple of hours.

Consider this your history lesson for today and do not underestimate your economic might, because if you do not honor and protect what you have, it could be gone over night.

James F. Sears, Jr. Mr. Speaker January 2012

From the Heart of a Military Leader, by James Sears

Have you ever stood strong when fear was all around?
I mean, did you actually stand tall while others fell to the ground?

Have you ever done what common sense said not to do?
Even when others ran and said, “Come on man, do not be a fool.”

Has fear ever gripped you so tightly you had to concentrate just to breathe?
I am talking about the kind of fear that brings even the strongest men down to their knees.

Have you ever had to remain calm and lead others to a safe place;
while fear was clouding your judgment and causing your heart to race?

Have you ever been so engulfed by fear that 48 hours passed without you missing a single beat?
Heck, I almost went three days on just two hours of sleep.

Have you ever thought, this could actually be the last breath I take; because death was all around you with no room for error, absolutely no room for a leadership mistake?

Have you ever been so frozen by fear that you just did not know what to do?
I have, but I had to go on because 237 Soldiers were looking at me to lead them through.

See, fear in the face of leaders could destroy the will of many people;
while fear that goes un-faced could become deadly and extremely lethal.

Ok, well have you ever had to give an order that even you were afraid to carry out yourself?
I mean, a command so crazy you would not do it for all the world’s wealth?

Have you ever had to send someone out on a mission you knew they may not complete?
That would be one of those nights were this leader did not get any sleep.

Have you ever had to give CPR to someone who worked for you?
Well, I worked on Specialist Sierra for over one hour but he just did not pull through.

Have you ever had to carry the body of someone who saved your life?
The whole time I was thinking, what in the world am I going to tell his wife?

Have you ever had to tell someone that her loved one was no longer alive?
Trust me, you can actually see her heart breaking through the tears flowing from her eyes.

Have you ever stood over a person who was dead due to an order you gave?
Look, do not stand too close at the funeral because you might want to jump into his grave.

Have you ever had to stand before a grieving family? Yes, it is completely sad.
Their Soldier gave his life for his country and all I had to give them back was a U.S. Flag!

I am a leader of Soldiers because that is what I was called to do, and just for the record,
I am not telling you this to prove anything to any of you.
Most people just do not understand a true combat Soldier, warrior, and leader.
Well, here are some insights for all you poetry writers and readers.

How did you feel when the World Trade Center fell, the Pentagon got hit, and those planes hijacked?
This leader was devastated! Thousands dead on my watch, and it was my job to prevent those attacks.
You really do not understand the sacrifices we have made for the armed forces.
Heck, I have missed birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, and been through a couple of divorces.

We learn loyalty, honor, and respect for the U.S., for government, and for freedom, but we actually fight for our fellow Soldiers, you would understand if you ever took the time to meet them.

So yes, I have faced fears for you and even for those that act like complete jerks,
because failure is just not an option for me in my line of work!
I am a descendent from kings, forced into slavery, then turned into a Soldier so here is my quote,
Brothers “I fought for this country before I had the right to vote.”

I am the Buffalo Soldier who fought the Indians and settled the west.
Absent from those history books, it was my blood, sweat, and hard work that helped build the U.S.

I bravely charged up San Juan Hill and was later discredited in the press;
because racism would not let the world view me as this nation’s best.

I am that courageous hard-working Sailor who signed up at that local rally;
to learn I could only serve my country from deep in the ship’s galley.

I am that black flier who defied all odds to fly, fight, and win.
Well, you may have heard them say that I am one of those Red Tail, Tuskegee Airmen.

I fought in all the U.S.’s conflicts to include two world wars to stop global oppression,
but it was not until the Korean War when we overcame segregation.

The media and the public want you to call me a hero,
but you treated my Vietnam brothers, those Soldiers, like complete zeros.

Those Vietnam Warriors followed orders, fought with honor, and had no regret,
but when they came home, they came home to your insults, no cheers, just total disrespect.

Well, this leader has faced his fears through multiple wars in the Middle-East.
So, I salute those Soldiers dealing with fear right now because they allow us to enjoy reading poetry in peace!
James Mr. Speaker Sears

The Keening Curlew, by Bill Mumford

Hail, blown by Artic Maritime wind
Stings. Westmorland whitens, all sound freezes.
I take shelter in a silent lime kiln
Stone cold. No fire here, all warmth has been mined.
Pulled my dog close- wary with unease
Numbed. Quiet, waiting as the cold seeps in.

Steam of light cuts through an icy veil
Glimpses of a silhouette, then the lament
As a curlew keens his incantation.
His lovelorn song tells such a sad tale
Memories of moors filled with enchantment-
His thoughts turn- for hope and expectation.

They say: birth chimes bring the sick belief
Moment of joy in a landscape of grief

Ghost of You, by Lucia Irvine

Do you want to,
Come over later?
I hear myself say y e s.
It tastes sour in my mouth,
I didn’t like lemons until I met you.
I recount the time you smashed a bottle millimetres from my face,
Maybe my riposte was too smart,
You glunched and I braced.
I imagine gnashing the glass,
Desperately digesting your aggression,
Slurping my bloodied gums, I spit:
‘whatever you are, I am too’.
You are the train and I am the station,
Withdrawn entities and lifeless conversation.
I grin at you with my new veneers,
you recoil at my advance,
We are the clasp and the loop on my favourite necklace:
impossible at times.
And did anyone ever tell you I look for you the same way I look for post on a Sunday?
It’s unexpected, hopeful and
Sincerely yours,
Never There.

Ben-Hur: From Here to Eternity, by Lampropoulou Athanasia

Cleft in twain now looking for my M(ark)
launching of my Odyssey but there awaits the narc!
“Be a goodfella now,” he said
“not a raging bull” in a titanic set.
Lost in translation and bearing my se7en sins
I’ve been searching for my dolce vita ever since.
Being a pariah among parasites
I now count 12 years a slave in wuthering heights.
And although I try hard to be the artist that they seek,
I only get identified with Zorba the Greek.
Pan’s labyrinth lies ahead
But I’ve got the gladiator with me my friend.
Stepping upon a shape of water
A desert flower emerged.
“Be braveheart my dear when you get discharged.”
The best years of our lives are yet to come
but I only long for the silence of the lamb.
The sting is deeply rooted in the skin I live in,
The English patient they call me, the nonliving.
I once heard that one flew over the cuckoo’s nest
but he was left all stranded in the west;
not even a streetcar named desire to save his soul
just the right scapegoat to pigeonhole.
So there he was, commissioned to kill a mockingbird
a walking carmagnole with no safe bet.
He tossed three coins in the fountain-his ex machina appeared.
“Will you help me my fair lady?” he said afeared.
“This west side story is your destiny
but beware on the waterfront of the upcoming mutiny!”
The Occident is no place for a godfather.
He will rise, he will thrive, he will fall-like any other.
His empire – gone with the wind now
looking for his Gigi, his eternal vow.