Poems

Captive

Maybe we all have a bit of Stockholm syndrome
The culture that has kept us captive
Is the one we emulate
Aspire to
Protect
Bleach skin
Straighten hair
Adopt their ideology
Strip dialect from tongues
Made mild of spices
To appeal to their taste buds
Fell in line
Even the ones we think speak change are a tinge too light
The safe kind
The ones that appeal to the masses
Knowing well who “they” are
They’re the ones that own your information
Own your freedom
Own your history
That’s why many pages left unpublished of an ancestors truth and troubles
Hurts and triumphs
To protect the image of the image we protect
Cycles of protection
Leave room for no reflection
Staring into false mirrors
Of stories altered
From the grace they faltered
See we can be blended as they please
Ripe for the picking
Time after time
We have been walking in straight lines for centuries
Fell in line
To gas chambers
To guillotines
To unemployment lines
To cultural genocide
When a white teen can mock the song
Of an elder
Glimpses of the past made present
Same story
Same players.
See on paper,
My name wreaks of rice and beans
Of Boricua beaches
I know what they think upon eyes meeting
I know some must be thinking
Yea you’re white yourself
Only seeing European ancestors
Like them
Forgetting my name
Forgetting the mixed blood flowing in my hands 
Perhaps I’m using this platform
This perceived privilege at best
Just so I can attest
These lines are thin
The thin lines between explorer and native
I guess I’m a testament to just how thin
Just how thin that line is
Between ignorance and embrace
Between the past and future
Between love and hate

A Review of Michael Simanga's "No One Can Be at Peace Unless They Have Freedom"

A Review of Michael Simanga's "No One Can Be at Peace Unless They Have Freedom"

In the spirit of Marvin Gaye, one of several artists honored in No One Can Be at Peace Unless They Have Freedom, this volume is Michael Simanga’s What’s Going On book. It is an urgent and majestic mix of inner-city-blues-what’s-going-on-save-the-children--mercy-mercy-me-right-on-wholy-holy sensibilities remastered for our times.

Where Language Moves Like Paint: The In-Betweens of Randee Silv’s Wordslabs

Where Language Moves Like Paint: The In-Betweens of Randee Silv’s Wordslabs

          Randee Silv’s new chapbook, Farnessity (dancing girl press 2018) introduces us to a classification-eluding language event that she calls wordslabs.  A first read-through can feel both seductive and disorienting.  The content and rhythm of the first sentence or two might seem, often enough, to signal narrative, perhaps even fiction, but very soon afterwards, the threads start shifting so much that one has to wonder just what this writer’s up to. 

"Word: An Anthology" now at the Smithsonian Libraries

"Word: An Anthology" now at the Smithsonian Libraries

We at A Gathering of the Tribes are happy to announce that our latest edition "Word: An Anthology" can now be found at the Smithsonian Libraries' National Museum of African American History and Culture Library.