Friday, June 28, 2013

Poem of the Week: Lillian Allen

Lillian Allen                      


The boy is broken on the sidewalk
The sidewalk is broken beneath him
His colour is back (not black)
Because it was washed out
Worrisome for his aunt
Whose leg was taken to save her life
No, not diabetes but from shrapnel            Flying

What have we forgotten to say
to give the heart ease
Just out of diapers when learning to walk
the body seeks an inherent language of peace

What do you wish to be?
Happy, I'm sure

You may ask;
Whose voice is in my head, so fully formed?
So old and heavy with pain and venge
Behind the lead(er) passage is set
Funeral is the badge

Language now frozen symbols
Symbols like bells calling
Calling to the divide
Fists and blows and broken
Splayed like shrapnel on the sidewalk

Fall away   fall away
What do you wish for the world
What do you wish for your heart
Boy broken on sidewalk
Sidewalk broken beneath boy

-Lillian Allen 

Used by permission.  
Lillian Allen has returned to the stage with full vigor in 2012, launching her new reggae dub poetry/spoken word album Anxiety. Allen, who grew up in Jamaica, immigrated to North America as a teenager, is internationally recognized as a godmother of dub lyricism, rap, and spoken word poetry. Her debut book of poetry, Rhythm An' Hardtimes became a Canadian best seller, blazing new trails for poetic expression and opened up the form. Her other collections, Women Do This Everyday and Psychic Unrest are studied across the educational spectrum. Her literary work for young people includes three books: Why Me, If You See Truth, and Nothing But a Hero.   

Allen is also a recognized authority and activist on issues of diversity in culture, cultural equity, cross cultural collaborations, and the power of arts in education. She is a professor of creative writing at Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCADU). She has also held the post of distinguished Writer-in-Residence at Canada's Queen's University and University of Windsor.  She was a featured poet at Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness 2010. 

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If you are interested in reading past poems of the week, feel free to visit the blog archive.    

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