Poems by C. Mattern
What Have I Become?
Today I spent
one fifty on a few drinks
and ignored homeless.
That Time I Crashed a Family Reunion
So I’m crying at Obama’s Inauguration speech,
encased in a glassed wall,
when a black woman walks up and begins comforting me.
She’s in a purple family reunion shirt,
one of the plethora that day
reading “2017” in varied fonts and colors.
I mean, we’re in the tomb of her history,
and she is here next to me,
telling me it will only get better.
She who has viewed her
in this place:
a family photo album
for the world to analyze.
She who was once
denied the right to vote
by my people.
She whose ancestors were
enslaved by mine.
She who once
heard stories of
her grandmothers nursing mine and
then were forced to
Milk good enough for mine
but not equal enough to sit
at a table together and
pour from a pitcher.
She who is not so much a visitor here
but a brick-
a family reunion
I’ve intruded upon
only to be
That Time I Called Home to Check In
When I told you
about the emotions
through the museum
Imagine living it.
So I did.
even close to anything
I was feeling.
I was Silently Sobbing
When I heard you whisper
in your husband’s ear
loudly enough though
for us to hear
that the pic of
President Obama’s Inauguration
Then soon after,
“I think they’re
We weren’t ignoring
you, grandma B.
We were cursing you
putting an Evanesco spell
on both yours and grandpa’s asses.
Pretending we were Ron, Hermione,
and Harry and you were
merely fucking muggles:
Ignorant, rude, inferior.
We were fresh out the
Emmett Till Memorial
and you frontin like Carolyn Bryant
Up in here
that made us wonder:
Why the fuck you even visiting?
Shouldn’t you be
headed to New Orleans
trying to stop the destruction
of General Lee
or down to Florida to
visit your president,
Poems by A. Sewell
Dear White Girl at Open Mic Night
I should have closed my eyes because
I did not really hear you.
I only saw you.
I cannot recount your struggle- your pain.
All I saw was the color of your skin,
and thought- what does SHE know about-well- ANYTHING?
I feel ashamed.
The cries of children should not be prioritized by color.
When I traveled to DC with a couple of girls & they accidentally gave me the experience of what it might be like to be a color other than my own.
I watched their behinds as they walked in unison several steps in front of me.
Their athleticism reminding me of my extra extra swaying drenched in sweat.
My struggle to keep up was real.
They talked, as close friends do, and I longed to interject a few words
that wouldn’t come out sounding forced or awkward.
The relaxed countenance during their intimate conversations
changed unintentionally to a furrowed brow when they remembered I was there.
I felt seperate but equal. Scratch that- I was not equal.
I was inferior, and I felt it.
Yet I didn’t want to act like someone else to balance out the distance between us.
I wanted to be myself around people who were not like me.
I wondered if that might be what it feels like to be a minority.
Wanting to be a part of something- an individual in a myriad of individuals
connected by differences instead of similarities.
Craving to keep what makes them unique, yet similar enough to be included in the conformable moments of love and togetherness.
But inclusion is not acceptance- merely tolerance.
Who knew tolerance could be so painful?
If this is how minorities feel, then teaching tolerance
is simply a beautiful blade disguised as an open hand.
And when you are a minority and similarities bind,
there is no place to be but 5 steps behind.
You see our founding fathers
The building of a great nation
A place people flock to for freedom
I see cold stone statues that cost more money to build than I will ever make
You see a signed paper giving birth to a nation
I see a paper picked apart and used like the bible to support corrupt agendas
while the true meaning of it goes ignored by those with the power
to give the document meaning
You see a memorial of a great man who fought to end slavery
I see another white man revered while the
MLK memorial is outside the circle and a struggle to get to
You see the White House
a place where your great leader resides
I see a large white empty structure
crying out to once again be filled with men and women of substance, character,
and a desire for change
You see a wall of names honoring soldiers who have died for our country
I see my existence
A wall covered in so many names
and thankfully not my father’s
But I see his stories, and wonder which names are people he knew
You see a tour
I see a sad history disguised as hope.
Poem by R. Zimmerman
That white momument stands tall against the blue sky
You know the one
The one that reflects in the pool
The one that was built to honor our nation’s “most essential Founding Father”
That tall white monument
But in stark contrast
Nowhere near as tall
No reflection but that of its past
Sits a squat colored building
A building that houses history,
of a people who’s skin color shares the color of that building
The segregation of what was supposed to be “then” lingers in the skyline.
Without the Majority
Killing thousands upon thousands who had no voice
Oppressing thousands upon thousands who had no voice
Representing thousands upon thousands who had no voice
Without the majority he had…
The Only Voice
Without the majority.