February is Black History Month, and the 29th Celebration of African American Poets and Their Poetry at the Oakland Public Library’s West Oakland Branch.
This year’s theme, “Black Migration,” coincides with the 2019 theme of Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s Association for the Study of African American Life and History (Established in 1915). ASLAH’s 2019 theme “Black Migration,” emphasizes the movement of people of African descent to new destinations and subsequently to new social realities. While inclusive of earlier centuries, this theme focuses especially on the twentieth century through today. Beginning in the early decades of the twentieth century, African American migration patterns included relocation from southern farms to southern cities; from the South to the Northeast, Midwest, and West; from the Caribbean to U.S. cities, as well as to migrant labor farms; and the emigration of noted African Americans to Africa, and cities in Europe, such as Paris and London after the end of World War I and II. Such migrations resulted in a more diverse and stratified interracial and intra-racial urban population, amidst a changing social milieu, such as the rise of the Garvey movement in New York, Detroit, and New Orleans; the emergence of both Black industrial workers and Black entrepreneurs; the growing number and variety of urban churches and new religions; new music forms like ragtime, blues, and jazz, white backlash as in the Red Summer of 1919; the blossoming of visual and literary arts, as in New York, Washington DC, Chicago, and Paris in the 1910s and 1920s. The theme “Black Migration” equally lends itself to the exploration of the century’s later decades from spatial and social perspectives, with attention to “new” African Americans because of the burgeoning African and Caribbean population in the US; Northern African Americans returning to the South; racial suburbanization; inner-city hyperghettoization; health and environment; civil rights and protest activism; electoral politics; mass incarceration; and dynamic cultural production.
The event is free to all, and while featured presenters were selected in mid-January, there will be an open mic for those interested in participating. Artwork displayed by local artists always adds an important, interesting and colorful element to the celebration.
In the 29-years since the events inception, many poets have graced it’s stage. Participants have ranged in ages from 8 to 80, some now adults and in college, others, now parents with children. Music, dance, and costumes have enhanced past performances as each participant shares her or his unique style, including poets performing in ensemble. Published writers, award-winning authors, and brand new poets reading their work in public for the first time have graced the stage. Oftentimes, the most moving recitals, were from poets who had never recited their work in public
before. If anyone has photos or footage from the past 29-years, please contact event founder Ms. Wanda Sabir at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message for Ms. Sabir at (510) 255–5579. She would love to have the opportunity to make copies of your material.
The event, Saturday, February 2nd, 2019, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Oakland Public Library, West Oakland Branch’s Multi-Purpose Room is free to all and includes refreshments donated by many local vendors. Besides poetry, event planners would love to incorporate anyone who wants to volunteer, such as help with refreshments, the setting up of chairs, and any other pre or post behind-the-scenes work. If someone from the community knows a TV station that would be interested in broadcasting the event, event planners would be most interested in making this a reality. Also YouTubers, and other social media influencers, are most welcomed to share this event on their platform.
Event: 29th Celebration of African American Poets and Their Poetry
Date: Saturday, February 2, 2019
Location: Oakland Public Library, West Oakland Branch, Multi-Purpose Room
Contact: Oakland Public Library, West Oakland Branch; 1801 Adeline Street, Oakland, CA 94607 (510) 238–7352; Ms. Wanda Sabir email@example.com or (510) 255–5579
The Celebration of African American Poets and Their Poetry is the brainchild of Bay Area community activist, Wanda Ali Batin Sabir. Ms. Wanda Sabir holds a BA in Humanistic Studies from Holy Names College, and a MA in Writing from the University of San Francisco. Professor Sabir has taught English at various Bay Area colleges and has developed college-level English curriculum for multi-tiered Educational Systems both public and private throughout the Bay Area. She has been the art editor at the San Francisco Bay View for over 20 years, and a freelance journalist for theatre, music, dance, visual arts, as well as giving literary reviews both local and national. She can be heard on her radio show Wanda’s Picks http://wandaspicks.com/radio/ and her awards and activism are far too lengthy to be communicated in a single article.
I don’t claim no sect
We don’t do that round here
My wife and God the only things I fear.
My shoes; nigga you couldn’t take two steps,
Check a ghetto near you, they know my rep.
Been in a lot of major cities, done did a lot of time
Charge it to the game, I lived a life of crime.
Never been a rat I’m a stand up guy.
As for that other nigga he was dropping them dimes.
Took my shyt on the chin cause I’m truly a soldier
No regrets, I’m a man; thug it out til it’s over.
Three hots and a cot thats the sum of my existence
Nothing to it but to do it;
Ain’t no need in bitching.
They say you only do two days
Your first and your last,
Well you can tell whoever said that they can kiss my ass.
I did errday, a nigga wasn’t cut no slack,
Prosecuted and penalized when I went on the attack.
Didn’t ask for no breaks cause wasn’t none being given,
Only goal I had was to continue living.
Surrounded by dope fiends, crazy folks and even a few killers,
Chomo’s & homo’s and of course the squealers.
Year after year this was my fate,
Engulfed in a world misery and hate.
You ask does crime pay and I say hell yeah!
The niggaz playing the game is all you have to fear.
This is a poem to which I lost the Poetess contact information. I even lost the title to the poem. But nevertheless, it’s a piece, with such rawness, it had to be published.
Who got those concrete balls?
The kind that aint scared to let em hang…
Not the ones thats tuckd n they ass.
Im talkn bout courage… ‘ lion balls’.
Where r the brave, secured, strong men at.
Do yo balls hang low?
Can they wobble to the floor?
Can u tie em n a knot?
Can u tie em n a bow?
Can u throw em over yo shoulder like a continental soldier?
Do yo balls hang low?
Where they at?
Where the kings of the jungle at?
Ima strong cat…Lion tamer lol but where r the real strong kings at?
Not these ol water down… sugar n the corner of they tanks ass cats . Assumin only they know bout the sweet water n them.
I like the pure… no additives no perservatives.
One mo time where the cats at that balls hang real low?
who aint scared to b my king of things.
So where oh where?
by Author Unknown but looking for her (contact us)
This is a step away from the norm,
Not just your everyday poem.
This is the tale of one guy
Who really was “about that life!”
Im talking cash & cars
Drugs, guns, & broads!
Anything & everybody had a price tag,
The money came in by the garbage bag!
But what about the other side of the game?
The part where niggaz is dropping your name!
Telling the cops where your moms live & shyt,
Giving up the spot where you hiding them bricks!
Got caught up in a little
Couldn’t hold his own like a man.
Now, he solemnly swearing on the stand!
Suprise, suprise! Its your best friend!
Now,you headed up state to hug that cot,
Even Johnny Cochran would’ve told you to take that cop!
25 muthafuckin years go figure!
That’s what I got for being the realest nigga!
No longer confined to that place.
That total and complete lack of space,
of which there was no room to move or grow. Sophicating without life’s oxygen to breath..
I’ve decided to leave.
I’ve decided to break away from that dark void,
where I was stuck and immobilized. I’ve deployed.
My soul has ejected.
I now stand forth, erected…
Ready to pull away from the dark decay of my broken dreams. Away from the sitting still of my drive and will.
I will pull away from the dark soot clouding my vision.
I have regained ambition.
As I detach myself from the black sands of hopelessness and despair.
They crumble as I seek to claim what is out there,
what is out there waiting for me
in the land of milk and honey…
In the wide open space of possibility,
I have the strength, the will and ability,
to bring into existence the things I want and desire to possess,
by simply getting up off this chair of set backs and give ups that hinder me from my success…
By: Rachel R. Bridgett 4/25/2015
© All Rights Reserved
The system is put in place
to be against us.For people of color,
America has got no love,
for the 30% of blacks
who make up this nation,
60% of them
make up the American prison population.
If we plead the words, “STOP this wrongful legislation!”,
“the new Jim crow!”,
the “3 strikes you’re out!”
They wouldn’t hear us though!
In an oppressive
morally bankrupted society,
the rich buy stock in companies
who get rich off our misery,
the booming business
of keeping black people in cages.
the system is racist.
More and more prisons are being built
that 1 in 3 black men will go to prison in their life,
a modern day plantation
SO MUCH EFFORT,
is being put towards keeping blacks in jail.
Not much effort in rehabilitation programs.
They set us up to fail.
Nobody wants to hire
with prison on the record
seals one’s fate.,
What choices does one have
in order to eat?
With this system set in place,
they’ll be back on the street.
And just because it’s the law
it doesn’t make it alright.
Sisters and brothers
we need to rise up and fight!
Stand up for ourselves, in unity
and come together as one.
Speak out! To be heard,
so that we can overcome!
Put an end to it all
and no longer be victim.
to the unjust and oppressive
American prison system…
By: Rachel R. Bridgett (2015)
© All Rights Reserved
Feel me heat
My personal treat
Taste so sweet
You can barely speak
Not able to stop until I Shriek
My turn is complete!
Then with complete satisfaction. I SLEEP!
%%%% This poem can be as lustful as one’s mind allows it to be. The truth behind this one is innocent as can be. So get ready to find out what is true satisfaction for me! %%%%
My “TRUE SATISFACTION“ is Ice Cream. Pay attention.
Feel my heat (against ice)
My personal treat (of course I love ice cream)
Taste so sweet ( well that’s ice cream)
You can barely speak ( too cold to talk)
Not able to stop until I shriek (BRAIN FREEZE!!!)
No retreat. (Its Brain Freeze there is no retreat)
Until…. (bring it)
My turn is complete (I eat it all)
Then with complete satisfaction I SLEEP! ( ok, maybe I shouldn’t but like a full baby I can’t help myself!)
I gave you me
I decided to make you a King
I want you to have everything
I need you sitting on the thrown next to ME!
Since the day I became a Queen
I waited for my King
Now you are here with me like I need you to be!
I gave you a crown
You turned out to be a clown
My prayers for you had my knees on the ground
Everytime I looked up you were never around
Here and there, this and that to my beautiful face
You brought and UGLY FROWN!
So many tears from my eyes -> I should have drown
I am taking back the crown!
Enjoy the circus you’re nothing moer than a simple clown!
If weed could set me free
So, high I’d be
Flying free, because weed had set me free
There’d never be a puff, puff pass!
Only puff, puff will be to ME!
So, only I will be free
I understand that you too want to be free
Simply it sounds to me like you need to get your own weed
AND….. Set yourself free!