Thursday, January 26, 2017

Poems of Resistance, Power & Resilience – Rahsaan Thomas

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


Institutionalized: One Bad Apple
by Rahsaan Thomas

All men are created equal, that's true indeed
But the constitution still isn't up to speed
3/5 of a man, they used to enslave us
2017, 1/3 they mass incarcerate us
Why do they hate us?

Poverty and skin color why?
They just let us die
No Humans Involved
The case may never get solved
Revolvers, revolvers
And now one is pointed at me
Police ain't never where they are supposed to be
While they do donuts for lunch 
One Bad Apple spoils a whole bunch

Shots go off, my little brother goes down
He looks human to me as his blood splatters the ground
We got good grades in school
We never carried no tools
But when you're young and Black
That's that--all the police think they need to know
Jaded to how the streets go
They let the heats blow
And now I'm infected
Because my hood ain't protected

Loopholes held open by the NRA
Make it easy to get guns to me
Armed and ready it won't happen again
Not to none of my next of kin
But sure enough two try
And sure enough one dies
By the gun in my hand 
And my determination to take a stand 
But am I standing in the wrong place?
Racing in the wrong race?

Surviving gangbanger caught with the gat in the palm of his hand
They let him go like he part of the plan
Part of the clan
And like they one if given a sequel
Is sincere enough to uplift his people
Even though they found both their guns
In Iraq they found none

This ain't no riddle,
They weren't armed with skittles
I'm so sorry I killed that man, that's square biz
But if it wasn't self-defense, what the hell is.

George Zimmerman... Really?

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