portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article creative global

actions & protests | corporate dominance | imperialism & war

The Daily Poetry Movement

We are looking at another racist Jim Crowe election. This time everyone knows ahead of time that this is what is taking place. This time we have been warned. The question is what are you going to do with this knowledge? What are you going to do about black people being barred the vote in the south? Act NOW!
BLACK IS ?
1 Black is the warm feeling you have knowing you've created so many good jobs for whites in the poverty programme.
2 Black is when the only time you can hit a white cat in self-defence without getting busted is in a boxing ring.
3 Black is knowing Elvis Presley made millions doing what your cousin did better and for free
30 years ago.
4 Black is when you bring your suit home from the cleaners and you get busted for stealing it.
5 Black is not having to get in the mood to sing the blues.
6(a) Black is being accused of causing trouble but always winding up as the casualties.
6(b) Black is getting the same treatment by the police whether you're violent or non-violent.
7 Black is when you root for Indians to beat John Wayne.
8 Black is feeling I'll really be free when they cast a soul brother in a deodorant commercial.
9 Black is being mayor of the city and banned in suburbs.
10 Black is not needing a psychiatrist to tell you what is bugging you.
11 Black is when you're dying of thirst in the desert and in your mirage the water fountain says "Whites only".
12 Black is when you'd rather face the Vietcong than the friendly copy in your own neighbourhood.
13 Black is when you meet the devil to sell him your soul, he gets embarrassed and says, "I can't give you quite as much as I offered you over the 'phone".
14 Black is fighting on both sides of the Civil War and losing anyway.
15 Black is not marrying the boss's daughter.
16 Black is when you get patronised by everybody downtown - and you don't even own a store.
17 Black is being told you ran down a neighbourhood that was 50 years old when you finally got to move in.
18 Black is being the first one on your block to have a rock through your window.
19 Black is being in the best part of town until the dinner dishes are done.
20 Black is learning at an early age that equality is only skin deep.
21 Black is when you're in court to be judged by a jury of your peers and all your peers look like they'd been bleached.


By Dr Martin Luther King


ON WORKING WHITE LIBERALS
I don't ask the foreign legion
or anyone to win my freedom
Or to fight my battle better than I can.
Though there's one thing that I cry for
I believe enough to die for
That is every man's responsibility to man.
I'm afraid they'll have to prove first
that they'll watch the black man move first
Then follow him with faith to kingdom come,
This rocky road is not paved for us,
So, I'll believe in liberal's aid for me
When I see a white man load a black man's gun.


By Maya Angelou
bravo! 02.Nov.2004 07:47

kirsten anderberg kirstena@resist.ca

Ah, just what I needed today!

My phone and internet access will be cut off on Nov 10, since I simply do not have the money necessary for all these basic bills of rent, electricity, internet, phone, water, etc. I do not even get 5 cents an articles. And I am published all over the damned place. I am going crazy, feeling isolated, trying to find a way to survive. Min. waging has kept me in poverty my whole life and nothing changes, no matter how hard I try, it seems. Yet I see many of my "peers" lead a completely different life. They receive accolades for the littlest feats, they feel they MUST be paid for their work...the double standards are interesting. They also feel I have a lot of nerve when I cop the same attitude...while living at much lower class levels.

I have been fighting this middle class insulated attitude for a long time. I find people who are white and middle class think that poor means no lattes. Or a crumby car. Or no new clothes for a short while. But real poverty means homelessness, and a car, no matter how crumby, would be a valued home. Real poverty means when you fall hard, there is NO safety net but the street's asphault. Real poverty is a wet sleeping bag to sleep in. Real poverty means when you have 5 cents to your name, that is TRULY all you have. No parent is going to bail you out or feed you. There is no HOME to return to for safety. I see the black analogy as relating to class in my case. I could rewrite the MLKing poem to be about the poor just as easily, I swear. And I am going to rewrite that re the poor, for myself...When I see men at NYC IMC are paid $600 a month for their work and say they MUST be paid thusly for THEIR work, for instance, while welfare moms are starving as they try to write feature stories for IMCs for free, it does remind me of these poems. It reminds me of allegiance problems. It reminds me that my allegiance is with the poor, and with minorities, not with middle class white people. And yes, I will be one of those whites who will load the black man's gun for him...as the black man's enemy is also the enemy of poor white women on welfare. Same folks holding us down. Same folks making money off of careers as "social workers" (which is an oxymoron if you know them) and our cheap manipulated labor for their business investors' profits. Same people making their living keeping the poor poor...

Thank you so much for these poems, I so very much needed them this morning.