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People of the Ocean

a poem by  Vaishali Paliwal

I built this house with bare hands
Now in flames I leave it behind
I carry the keys
I was named by my grandmother
Her last prayer was in these beads
I carry her rosary
I never signed up for a God
My fate when sealed with forbidden voyage

I picked the holy books
My lover was lost in black dawns
There was never a vow
I carry the ring
Human life I am being told
Is same everywhere
But world’s prayers are selective
No child left behind
But mine sleeps on fences
Time now asks me
To get on this boat
It is heavy

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Willie Lynch

A poem by Jon Richards

Living in this big old house larger than ever.
Bought some slaves at the auction. Work hard? They better.

Cuz I got this lever: Willie’s bull whip.
I’ll tie him to the tree. I’ll beat that nigga.
Best call me Masa. Best call me sir.
I shipped y’all from Africa.
Use the Bible as part of my plan
and teach them that they’re the Son of Ham.
Ham had a son who was forced to be a slave.
and work for his brothers for the rest of his days.
You my slave you don’t like it?
A white man’s heaven is a black man’s Hell.
I’ll brainwash them well
by changing the scripture.

Send them to church and have them praise my picture.
Cuz I’m a put up a picture of myself as the savior.
So looking up to me is just a part of the nature.

take away their history.
take away their past.
take away their culture.
read a book in class made so much sense
called “Making of a slave” by Willie Lynch.
But will I lynch? You damn right, sonny.
I’ll even kill children in front of their mommy.
Cuz I’ll make the mother want her to protect her seed.
Remind her strange fruit don’t fall far from the tree.
In that fear will live future generations.

Slave mentality will soon become a part of their personality.
so they’ll keep suppressing each other till I’m gone.
and I’ll carry on till the end of days

so I can sit back and watch slaves make slaves, make slaves,

Jon Richards

Published in Genre: Urban Arts Second Edition

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The wisdom of an oak tree runs deep, the history intimate.

Perhaps you are familiar with how Absalom’s hair led to his demise. Maybe you respect the oak because Zeus chose this mighty tree as his oracle, the centerpiece of the righteous. Based on the rustling of its leaves, priests would interpret messages from the gods. Most likely, though, you revere the oak simply due to the symbolic nature of its strength.

Either way, never fail to recognize the way an oak tree reminds us not only to admire the splendor of its leaves or the tenacity of its trunk but to understand what’s deeper, below the surface: roots connect–no–bond people. The natural ways in which someone is truly rooted to another, the tangle of souls intertwined, simply and completely.

Here lies true wisdom.