WE CAN DO BETTER, by Gladys Muturi

Genre: Social Commentary, Equality

We Can Do Better

Why is this happening to us?

All of the fights and disagreements

Why are we acting like this?

We’re not animals, We’re human beings

Let’s stop this

All of this is ancient history

Buried and Forgotten

Why we can’t work together?

We can fix things together

We can change together

Without fights or disagreements

No consequences

No warzones

Settle this like we have common sense

No more bordered walls or barbed fence

Just bridges and togetherness

We can stand together

Together we can do better

Blacks and whites

Religious and non-religious

Be better

Show the world how we can do better

Be better human beings

Do you think we can do better?

I know we can do better

Together we can do better

From Ash: Taming the Phoenix, by Abdullah Kinan

Performed by Allison Kampf

POEM:

“Look up at the night sky and count the stars until daybreak; my love for life now exceeds both the number of stars and the time it would take.

To traverse the horizon and navigate the seas, or brave the desert’s barren passages with ease; nothing is an impossible feat.

My love for life is power, empowering, serene. It motivates me to strive for the impossible- it motivates me to fly over obstacles.

I will crash through glass ceilings until the shattered mirrors falling over me reflect my yearning for the parts of myself that I’ve lost along my journey.

I yearn for the parts of me that drifted away like dust particles intercepting the rays of light that peer through the window at sunrise- perhaps those parts of me prevented me from inner peace.

Perhaps you’ll find those parts of me and I’ll find you- perhaps all hardship is a tool that we can utilize to hammer these lessons into our beings.

Perhaps some lessons are harder to penetrate- so never quiver or quake at the sight of the path towards the next mountain after you’ve just climbed to the first peak, because, verily, with every hardship there is ease.”

The irony, by Coco

http://www.poemsfromheartcom.wordpress.com/

What are you tryna do? I’m somewhat confused.
Why are you on the ground, acting like you’re bruised?

Why is it dat you seem to suffer?
When I was the one who had it tougher.
And even though I couldn’t have had it rougher,
I wished at least you were happy, duffer.

A little of smartness, with a hint of heart.
Your special recipe. Your perfect black art.
I was the one left with a bleeding heart.
So why are you acting like you’re the one hurt?

The beautiful dream that I so lovingly built,
Covered in red with the blood that you spilt.
You chose to be the one holding the hilt.
So why all of a sudden, the facade of guilt?

I was the one caged in what was your lair.
So why do you seem like the one in despair?
You take the blame and act like you care.
Trying to make me feel bad? Isn’t it unfair?

You said you liked dark but your favorite was red.
Oh how I loved you! For you, I bled.
But you wouldn’t see it. Turned your back on me instead.
And you say you loved me too now dat I’m dead?

Why are you still alone?
I thought that we were done.
You say you’re trying to atone.
But what’s dead will never be reborn.

Keep your sarcasm and your wisdom.
You can go back to where you came from.
Barge in my life and played the system.
You’re the criminal. Not the victim.

What suffering do you talk about? What pain?
When it was me who was left barely sane.
You won the battle. So why dont you go reign?
Declare yourself the king, almighty and vain.

POETRY READING: CLAP, by Darell J Philip

Performed by Allison Kampf

Windows opened
Mum and I screaming at the top of our…
You know, that organ which
Mr Corona makes the point of his attack
Our voices in unison with the carnival of faces
Hand clapping together among our block
For those brave front liners
Robed in white and blue
Their lives risking for Queen and Country
For me and you

A sign in a window reads
Hang in there Hackney
Locked down, stuck in isolation
Longing to be free
Hooting and beeping cars drive by
An outpouring of love filling the illuminous sky
Dethroning Mr Corona from his royal seat
His nasty legacy we will surely defeat

An unusual crescendo took place that night
The community together an awesome sight
It was to everyone’s most absolute delight
To see Mr Corona given a most chilling fright
For all the lives he’s cruelly taken away
For all those families we kneel and pray
Our frontline heroes – relics of the past
For you we clap knowing this too shall past

The morning after the night before
A bright smile beams across the sky
As a reminder of that glorious day soon to come
When from this earth with angel’s wings
We take off and fly.

POETRY READING: What Will Be Your Legacy, by The P.O.E.T. aka The Anointed Pen

Performed by Allison Kampf

By: Noel A. Figueroa (The P.O.E.T. aka The Anointed Pen) ©2020

When your book is opened, what will be read in the story of your life?
What will be your story that is on display for all to see?
Will it speak of your courage to persevere?
Will it speak of your determination and faith?
Will it speak of your kindness and compassion for others?
Will it speak of your empathy and diligence?
Will it speak your reflection of your love and hope in God?
Will it speak of the love you have for yourself, your community, your people?

What will be your legacy?
Will it speak your ancestor’s names and the roads they paved for you?
Will it speak of their sacrifices and their successes?
Will it speak of the lessons learned from their failures?
Will it put your achievements on display?
Will your own failures be lessons learned and used as stepping-stones?
Will it speak of a life well lived to its full capacity in purpose?

What will be your legacy?
When the children gather around and ask you to tell the stories from your time,
What will your share that will enlighten their minds?
What will be the level of your impartation?
Will you tell them that as you received help to be the vessel of blessing to others?
Will you tell them that respect, empathy and compassion are non negotiable?
Will you tell them to stand for something even if it means standing alone?
Will you tell them that one of the greatest weapons that you can have is love & respect for self?
Will you tell them that it’s because if those that came before us that we have the ability to go further and do greater works?
Will you tell them that when their purpose is clear, their passion is defined, and their vision is focused that their dreams and goals are possible.
What will be your legacy?

Straightened My Life, by Wesley Hesketh

I walked a crooked path in life, sinning every day.

Drugs my meal of fun. Hiding in them

to get away from all the pain and suffering. From birth

to fourteen I was physically and verbally abused. At

fourteen, I was left on a street corner.

I would eat out of garbage cans or steal from the stores

just to survive. I was arrested and put in juvenile hall,

where I was beat up and raped.

My mother can and got me out. She was living with

an ex boxer. He liked to knock me around like a

punching bag.

At eighteen I ran away and thinking it would get better,

I joined the Army. I was wrong. In boot camp the sergeant

pushed me around and verbally abused me. It was like that

for sixteen weeks.

Then I went to Korea. I was put on the

front line to help keep the South safe from the North. Stress

was a daily thing and fear of being shot went along with it.

That’s where I got hooked on drugs. When I can back stateside,

I fell in with a bad crowd. I become a garbage can junky,

that means I took any drug I was given.

While I was on drugs I went through four very abusive marriages.

Up until then the only God I knew was one that sit in heaven.

He judged everyone and if you sinned you went to Hell.

So I could not look to him for help.

The rest of my life was a blur of mental hospitals. Into the hospital

out on the street over and over again.

Then one day I was sitting on the street corner looking for drugs.

A man came and sit down next to me. I thought he was looking

for drugs too. I shouted at him to get away but he did not move.

“Son,” he said, “What are you looking for?” Drugs I said you got

some? “I got something better,” he said. “it is God.” Oh no you don’t

I know about your God and He is a bad God, judging people and

sending then to hell.

He laughed, “My God loves you.” How could He love me I am just

a sinner? “He sent His Son Jesus to take away your sins.” How could

He do that I asked?

“Jesus was hung on a cross to suffer for your sins. He died so you

will never be judged for your sins now and forever.”

Tears welled up in my eyes. How would He do that for me? “He did that

because He loves you. Three days later He was resurrected from the grave,,

now He is in Heaven at the right hand of God. He intercedes for you.”

I looked at him and he smiled at me. No buddy smiled like that ever.

“Come let me help you.”

He led me to a clinic and introduced ne to a counselor. We talked and

she said I had PTSD and was bipolar.

That was twenty years ago. I found a Bible based churched, and found

a home there. I read my bible every day, and pray to God, Jesus, and

the Holy Spirit, I am no longer on drugs and have a handle on my

problems. Today I no longer walk that crooked road. I know God loves

me and He loves you too.

Cold-Turkey Cuts, by Saleda Abdul

I’m somehow paler now than I was through Winter

And ghosting when I’d rather be out toasting,

Even if it were still out frosting

Nah b, but I might just be lying to me,

Cuz time is teaching me what boundaries and growth mean

Like putting things in their proper place

Instead of tossed in a drawer of disheveled space

Because you don’t get taught the how,

Always just told the what

But I’m uncovering how poetry is my recovery

For, it is perspective renewed

When I can hardly see past the overcasts

And my eyes stay open doing unpaid overnights

Still, to honor ALL the parts that come with You

With the space to feel your feels

And just give it some comfort food

Or maybe a nap,

And take it all in with just a baby step

And, I couldn’t so much regret the ease..

For the tomorrows to perhaps bring a better breeze

By: Saleda Abdul

Cosmogony, by Iuliana Pașca

I would like to tell you about my birth
but how to start with no beginning?

Mother said I was born
ahead of my time;
I don’t remember,
but I know I was there when
I also gave birth to my mother.

I saw when from the heart
the galaxies
gushed streamingly,
suns were smiling on the spine
rasing satellites
from the tireless breath.
Neurons formed stars
in the rainbow hair,
while Mars was preparing
for the fight.

From the fingers of the left hand
it detached,
together with the rings, Saturn
then, as lightning,
Jupiter came out of nowhere,
and to my feet
was lying down
the Earth.

Iuliana Pașca (born on 26th of March, 1991 in Romania), studied Romanian Language and Literature-Chinese Language and Culture at Faculty of Letters (2010-2014), gaining two scholarships to study in China (2012-2014). She got her bachelor in Philology with the thesis Madness in Literature, graduated (2017) the Conflict Management International Master Program with the dissertation paper Mediation System in Mainland China and presented a series of research papers such as Diaoyu Islands-a contemporary dispute between China and Japan at international conferences at Università della Svizzera italiana, Lugano, Switzerland (2016).

She participates in literary circles in Romania and overseas. She published in ARTivated Album (2015), anthologies of poetry (2018, 2020), but also in numerous literary magazines from Romania. She made her editorial debut with the trilingual (Romanian-Italian-English) poetry volume Reflectările unei molecule / Riflessioni di una molecola / Reflections of a molecule (Ecreator, Baia Mare, 2020). She teaches English in Barcelona, Spain since September 2019.

„Iuliana Pașca orchestrates the language register in an original and daring way, without prejudice to the reader’s sensibilities, so that, from the beginning of the book one has the impression that the author addresses an exhortation to be more open, more relaxed in front of the text” (Zorin Diaconescu, The challenge to the reader and the pact with poetry).

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Realize, by Ernest Roberson

If I could, I’d write for you a rainbow.
And splash it with all the colors of God.
And hang it in the window of your being.
So that each new God’s morning.
Your eyes would open first……
To hope and promise.
If I could, I’d wipe away your tears.
And hold you close forever in shalom.
But God never promised I could write a rainbow,
Never promised I could suffer for you,
Only promised I could love you,
That I do.

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My family doesn’t make photo albums anymore, by D’mani Thomas

My family doesn’t make photo albums anymore. Just dirty carpets, prayers and missing posters in every unsaved number. Just recipes of triumph in scar tissue, diabetes medicine splayed out next to a tower of peppermint candies. Like god is praying on the weakest of us with an alzheimered memory/ forgotten remorse/ what does not kill us makes us stronger, so thinning blood and darwin’s theory must be distant cousins.

Speaking of distance. I have not seen some people since the news coverage turned kardashian. Hurricane Katrina and my family are the same in that some government condoned a violence, and no one’s heard from them since. Tangent: believe all of this to be true. Last I heard, the boy that taught me to pop fireworks in the fragile of my palms, was living in a football stadium. Maybe? Maybe someone told me otherwise once .Maybe i’m choosing what to question mark. Maybe i’ll ask what happened to him when my grandmother wakes up.

I am a water baby. Salt water and some ligaments in the shape of bloat fish for stomach, minnow for rare organs, octopus tendrils for appendages i might scab and grow back. I know

What it means to swim in packs and try not to die. Survivor of two oceans trying to kill me. One atlantic /One I call a body . The killing joke

My kin is my kin, is your kin, heard that’s her kin too.

Fictiv in blood, but we can see it everywhere.

So when I found out Janis Joplin once said, “being black for a while, will make [you] a better white.”

I thought.

It’s just so easy to be Black these days ya know’

Rachel and Danielle paved the way for them. Like it’s in their DNA now:

Fake Bantu notted Oakland tongue double helixes. weaves into over priced top ramen diet.

If you are what you eat, then to consume a body means you too are NWA, section 80, hurricane katrinas red line, the subject of Old Kanye’s “George Bush doesn’t give a fuck about black ppl speech”

In front of me,

Some silhouette watches the slave trade happen

And somewhere, a white girl says she can’t be racist, says she’s only 17 , but 1/8th Ida. B.

Says – she loves the NFL and streetball and if she could she would let pornhub’s entire BBC category start a daycare in her stomach

I laugh

Tell her I think she has my great grandmother’s mouth in her teeth

I say,

My country loved me blue

My country took my dust soaked skeleton and put me in a thrift shop my probable children can’t afford.

My country loved me once and never texted me back.