Thursday, January 26, 2017

Poems of Resistance, Power & Resilience – Damon L. Cooke

Close up image of a microphone on a stage. The audience that is facing the microphone is blurred, appearing as a myriad of colors (red, white, green, yellow, etc.)
As the incoming administration builds its agenda of attack on marginalized people, on freedom of speech, on the earth itself, poetry will continue to be an essential voice of resistance. Poets will speak out in solidarity, united against hatred, systemic oppression, and violence and for justice, beauty, and community.
In this spirit, Split This Rock is offering its blog as a Virtual Open Mic. For the rest of this frightening month, January of 2017, we invite you to send us poems of resistance, power, and resilience.

We will post every poem we receive unless it is offensive (containing language that is derogatory toward marginalized groups, that belittles, uses hurtful stereotypes, explicitly condones or implies a call for violence, etc.). After the Virtual Open Mic closes, we hope to print out and mail all of the poems to the White House.

For guidelines on how to submit poems for this call, visit the Call for Poems of Resistance, Power & Resilience blog post


Complexities of my Authenticity
by Damon L. Cooke

What makes up the core, the center of a man?
Is he defined by his past transgressions, or the line he draws in the sand?

Having lived a life full of regrets...
the Assimilation, the Acculturation, and the subtle threats.

Do I break out and truly be me,
Or do I live out my parents' Life Strategy?

Respect to them, duly noted...
after all, that's how THEY got promoted.

It's the mid-sixties when I was brought into this world,
never mind my complexion, with a head full of curls.

The color spectrum is what I must learn,
be quiet, get in the back of the line and wait your turn.

"I don't understand, Mom, we were already here."
Shhh. It's the Palangi way, as she shed a tear.

Everyone speaks of this bird I do not know.
Why does he have a first name Jim, when he's only a crow?

What does that have to do with quenching my thirst?
Especially when we came here first?

Everything, I suppose. This was not a new cause
Our Native American brothers suffered viciously with no bandages or gauze.

So who am I to question the status quo?
A young kid in a polarizing nation, who didn't even know

Know what? that I'm NOT feeling true to myself,
to appease a people who places ME on a shelf

This seems counter-intuitive to my instincts
A mother, young boy, and simple drink?

It's more than that moment in time,
It's about Subjugation, Humiliation, and the Destruction of a young mind.

An impressionable one at an early age,
Vilify, Dehumanize, all that rage

Sam Ervin Jr. had a plan when he wrote his Manifesto

How could this possibly effect me today?
Somehow I got lost along the way
Forgot my R.O.O.T.S. while being swept away...

It's taken many years to experience restoration
erasing al the Frustration, Intimidation and Anticipation!

Will I ever be able to just be me?
Or will I always be questioned about my Authenticity?

Who knows. That's not for me to decide.
It's hard to imagine a man finding himself on the inside.

Not prison, but inside his conscious mind.
B.F. Skinner said it best, "Your behavior is predicated on time"!

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