Poetry Inspired by a Trip to D.C.

 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

ancestors’ pictures

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-

the foundation-

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

I felt



through the museum

you replied,

Imagine living it.

So I did.

It wasn’t

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

was photoshopped.


Then soon after,

“I think they’re

Ignoring us.”

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

Spitting lies

Wanting attention

Creating drama

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.  

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