My People

My mother always said that the type of labor you have

shapes the personality of the child you birth.

Mine was long, loud and painful

my brothers was easy, short and quiet.

Im intense and loud and my brother sometimes fades into the background

but we are all complicated

and I often want to tear down the walls he builds with his soft voice and nervous laughter

intense eyes forever marked by things he was never suppose to see

Things neither one of us were suppose to see.

We don’t talk about it

like most people who turn their backs away from things they know aren’t right.

Easier that way I suppose

‘mind ya business’ is what is often said.

I found that to be immoral as a child, but who can blame them

We all live in this world where violence and oppression is naturalized

We are taught to turn our backs against each other

not knowing that our love and compassion is the solution

or at least should be the inspiration for revolution

if we can get there.


So I made art

because sometimes you have to create something to keep yourself from dying.

That is what my mother did

Worked till she could no longer stand

but it was the back breaking labor and the four children she brought into this world

that made her life matter

her life imparted into other life

A purpose.

Her life in me

her mothers life in me

her grandmothers life in me.

Labor shapes the child but so do the conditions that brought her into this world.

I am kept up late at night with visions of stolen lands, slave ships, whips and mothers tears.

I carry the pain and trauma of my ancestors

and also the wisdom it brings to free ourselves from the chains

that slice through our wrists on plantation fields

in backseats of police cars

the chains that come in the form of the paycheck

that is never quite enough.


I carry visions for my people

walking in the footsteps of Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman, Frida Kahlo, Zora Neal Hurston

and countless others

who are kept up late with thoughts from the past

thoughts for the future

thoughts for liberation

The people must be free.


4 Comments on “My People”

  1. this is so beautiful…the way you write is always extremly powerful and inpirational. ❤ you and this!

  2. Melissa F. says:

    “Who’re the criminals, the gangs or the government?
    Did the Capital just happen to have the power to punish men?
    MonoPolice manipulate majorities to run with them
    So what’s the police force but a resource to reinforce the plans of the dominant?

    I’m haunted by questions, spending time behind bars
    Statistics on TV, that concede we’re sadistic, deceive me
    ‘Cause murder and thievery thrives on all sides of the lines that divide class.
    I take pepper-spray with a pinch a’ssault and battery and I’m charged to step ‘n say:
    ‘Yo Honor, go bother the office of your bosses where the crime starts.’

    And I ask, while cleaning dirty white collars for a living,
    why law suits the raw brutes in board rooms that horde loot?
    They set the precedent then send the president to assure you,
    his lady, Justice, is blind. But she’s got contacts that say too!
    The colonists, the capitalists and wordy bright scholars make a killing.”

    -Marlon Burgess, Cape Town 2004

    Some poetry for the poet.

    • chakaZ says:

      “So what’s the police force but a resource to reinforce the plans of the dominant?”

      Powerful piece! Thank you so much for sharing. I appreciate the revolutionary content of the piece, as well as the lyrical form and rhythm of the words. Poetry is powerful ❤

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