Friday, November 7, 2008

More Floetry Friday poems

"Cliff of the Unknown" - By Katya

- Dedicated to my brothers at Otisville, who have inspired me and helped me on my journey as much as I have for them. From Katya, with peace, hope, and love...

I stand at the Cliff of The Unknown,
Tired toes curling over the edge,
I'm trembling.
A black canvas awaits me.
So empty and stark, I shiver at the vastness of it all.
What am I to do with this?
Have I learned anything?

Am I that same child,
Precise with her movements, but with her words wild?
Her mind filled chaos
Unable to focus, the unconscious takes over.

Buddha once told me
That my own thoughts, unguarded,
would harm me more than my worst enemy.

Can that be? I am my own prisoner?
A slave to my emotions, they tell me how to live,
they tell me how to be.

My thoughts circle hastily, incessantly,
wrapping around and around, over and under
suffocating my brain, till I slip asunder.

I'm slipping over the edge of the cliff now,
Slipping into that black hole of... what?
As I am falling, wind rushes past my ears
And I hear God whisper to me...

You are all possibility.
The infinite number of atoms in motion,
Of raindrops that fall and become the ocean.

You are
The infinite possiblity of lovers tenderly
entwined with dreams of the future as they fall asleep.

Of how long the sun and moon will be
inclined to play their game of hude and seek.
You are already everything, don't ever quit.
Possibility is as wide as the space you create for it.

Then I realize, God is me.
The weight I have borne at the center of my heart was the universe,
throbbing, calling to me to acknowledge my part.
All my pain and suffering because I just
couldn't see that I, myself, can set myself free.

My eyes closed, arms outstretched
towards the world.
I am now weightlessness, wings carry me
upon the wind gently.

I fly away
towards possibility.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Poems from Floetry Friday Over the Years

"I AM!" - By Monte Massey, Esq.

First and foremost I am me
I am prosperity that engages adversity on
every battlefield and he who never leaves
the premises with nothing less than a victory.

I am music!
A sweet melody that resonates
melodically within the eye of a hurricane--
Don't worry, please let it rain.

Because I am shelter!
He who can protect you from the
harshest weather because my skin is
tough leather, but yet soft like silk.

I am a quilt!
Built precisely for you to rest your head
upon/when you for a brief moment are no
longer feeling strong and not because you are weak.
Simply because you needed a rest.

I am restitution!
Paying back a debt to society that
refuses to create preemptive solution
towards issues that are drastically
afflicting our children.

I am the future, past, and present!
Symbolic to a petty peasant whose
thoughts were once reminiscent to the
foulest rubbish that could ever flow into
a gutter, but my brothers and sisters
have helped this pretty peasant to become
more effervescent so it's only destiny
that I now travel in a different direction.

Because you see, I am a vision!
A poet painting lexiconic pictures and
leaving fixtures of prisms kinetically
placed upon your wisdom so therefore you
can see through all of the lies that they
create within the walls of these prisons.
Can ya' feel me?

Because I am also love!
A manifestation of how each and every
one of you choose to define me.
But let me remind thee that loving me
temporarily is no longer satisfactory so
choose carefully when choosing to indulge
in me because...

I am addictive!
Similar to Tylenol/codeine/morphine shot
in the vein of your elite seal team in Iraqi land
Or better yet Afghanistan, I am frivolous
with my way of life so you can call me an
But please understand...

That my I am is genuine
A true composition of the man I am
God like I am
Made in his exact image I am, so original
I am.
Came into the world in the form of I am.
A born again I am, spreading the word of
love amongst the people who are in
desperate need just like I am.
The blood of my blood I am.
The flesh of my flesh I am.
Three days from now you can resurrect
these words into your mind and even then
in subconscious form I will appear before
you I am.
In the end I am everything that I say
that I am.
The epitome of I am.
Because I am the I am of all I am.
The who, what, no matter where i am,
No need to ask how I am.
When I am performing at the best of I am,
and if you have to ask why I am the way that I am?
Then (psst!) you, must not have been listening!

"A Reflection" - By Heide Bruckner

Man, this is scary
Standing up in front
With all this anticipation.
Eyes big, wide open with grand
expectation of hearing an insight
Or some inner fight
That I have waged within my heart,
My mind, my body, my soul.

What I CAN offer is a few words.
Of how my conception of what is
Wrong, right, violent, immutable,
irrefutable, secret
Has changed.
Is changing.

These big ideas rearranging
From one simplified puzzle of dualities
To the overlapping, overmapping, overarching
Themes of the human experience.

How mainstream thinking of prison
Has become in itself an "ism" --
A way of isolating and categorizing
And pretending that security exists
Even when inequality persists.
Violence not of the individual fist
But of a system which largely fails itself.
Fails to educate or empower or
address the root of this
Messy, gnarly, knotted overgrown shrub

Of personal, structural, community relations
That cannot be redressed
By pruning its "unsightly ends."
By thinking a sort of lock-up can
completely mend
The lack of water, poor soil, no sun
Which has caused the green from
these leaves to run
As far away as possible.

Come back, green life-giving
Not rhgouh green pants or green
camo or other establishments
That the very balance
Can only be restored when the talents
Of all are recognized and legitimized,
Not marginalized , ostracized, or

By now I am less scared of reading
About the ways of reseeding
This shrub. It must grow tall and
Strong, interwoven, and supportive.

I am less scared because I am here
with you who are here
Like everyone class in Fridays past.
Because I'm in a room full of all of us
as peers,
Because of this, I have lost my fear.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Otisville & Vassar: Bridging the Gap

Otisville Correctional Facility in Otisville, New York. Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. A 1 1/2 hour drive. Two very different institutions of higher education. One, a school of liberal arts. The other, a school of hard knocks and those knocked hard. One where the age range is 18-22. The other, 35-55. One where razor wire stifle in mostly Black and Latino men. The other where gothic buildings cradle mostly white men and women within its bubble. One where the lives of do or die Bedstuy's lives lie. The other where do or die Bedstuy was seen on MTV or heard in a Biggie rhyme.

Cultural chasms.
Polar points
Society's regurgitated
Society's most hopeful

"Let Me Take My Hoodie Off"- by Marlon Peterson
Let me take my hoodie off
Let me take my hoodie off

Bridging gaps/
See you can't stop it.
When you sit here every week
And they sit here every week
And we sit here every week
We become us
And, see, we can never be weak
can you dig it?

Even when they portray us as son of a guns/
in here b/c of guns
intentions to leave and pick up guns
Assuming we can't wait to corrupt, cajole, connive
Pollute and program their young white ones
Yeah, same ole' song

Us- the crooks
Us- the criminals
Us- the con artists
Us- the drug dealers
Us- the murderers

You- the rich
You- the innocent
You- the right
You- the white
wrong or right
Bump that, we bridged that
Even though you don't want that.

We ain't all right.
Some I won't trust in the still of the night,
Without a lamp, a flashlight, or God's might
I ain't painting pictures that ain't right
Deceiving the masses about
"It ain't fair"
"the system put me here"
"I don't deserve to be here"
blaming everyone else for everything else
ignoring that that the answers and the blame
the questions and the shame
lied within self.

Gaps bridged!

I ain't here to complain,
Just make it plain
Like the NOI proclaim
"That's right, brother minister"

See, I ain't here to preach
Just bridge
I ain't here to sneak
Just bridge
I ain't here to freak
Just bridge
I ain't here to do what you expect me to-
Which is fail
I bridge
Just bridge

When they claim that all we do is play?
See, that can't be true.
I've seen brother Roc cry- parole after his 5th try
Determined "D" hug a guy
Young Anna recite & cry
Nice Nini sigh
Outstanding Oscar raise his ever radical fist to the sky
Victorious ask for advice
Serious Black morph into Rigorous Rob
Super Steph mature b4 my eyes
Jazzy J inspire me to write
Diversified open up my eyes
Courageous Chris show why she's wise
And saw Sara smile 1...2...3...
All the time

Seen hip hop on trial b4 Oprah tried
PTA meetings
Parole mockeries
Discussions on HIV

That's all you see?!
That's all you see?!
Nah, that's what you want to see

Like Bush huntin' WMDs
El Sun trying to convince me that Macy Gray is sexy
Or Dreaming that girl Beyonce will be visiting me
after she dumps Jay-Z
Hey, that could happen

The point is:
What you see are perversions within thee
Exaggerated to the highest degree
Fantasies of your inequity
Mixed with apprehension of frivolty

Based on what?

Our impeccable record of integrity?
Our dedicated dignity?
Our desire to empower others green
Enlightening those still young & green
While bringing them together with those that do quarterlies
All for $13 or $14 every two weeks
Worth the gray hairs--hardly
But we do it--
Don't compliment me
Just respect me

When you sit here every week
And they sit here every week
And we sit here every week
We become us despite all the dust
Despite all the fuss
The accusations & the distrust
Denials and disapprovals
A common unity is built
Bridges are built so strong--
Foundations so strong
I'm talking titanium strong
Benching 310 lbs strong
Real love strong
Can you dig it?

Let me put my hoodie back on
Let me put my hoodie back on

Inspired by the Vassar/Green Haven at Green Haven Correctional Facility started by Lawrence H. Mamiya, Ph.D. over 30 years ago, the Bridging the Gap program has created its own legacy. Started in 2005, this program has impacted my life enormously. It has empowered many, invigorated, inspired, excited, & incited social justice active-ism.

It has allowed me to see the world from behind a cage. More importantly it has allowed the world to see the PEOPLE within.


The range of creativity & subject matter we use minimizes the socioeconomic differences between the two communities-- Otisville and Vassar. When we are able to acknowledge our differences and realize how minimal they are to our many similarities, we gain a sense of community-- a common unity.

'bridge' - (noun) a transitional passage connecting two subjects or movements

Everyone is in constant transition, whether it be physically, mentally, or spiritually. This program has linked individuals who probably wouldn't otherwise have a conversation with one another because of differences in locale, age, and yes, race. Because of this unique opportunity, minds once closed have been bridged, and we know that bridges expand land-- in this case we have expanded social bridges.

The BTG community offers you the opportunity to read-- to get a glimpse of what social engineers can do amid prison walls.

"Therefore we do not give up, but even if the man we are outside is wasting away, certainly the man we are inside is being renewed from day to day". 2 Cor. 4:16 (You've been blessed with a burden).