Naked Reflections Poetry: Shameless and Unapologetic

Tag Archives: Nation

They Haven’t Yet (Day 7: An Ekphrastic Poem)

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Today’s Prompt: Write an Ekphrastic Poem. Spend time in the scene of a photograph and write a poem in response to the work of art. My poem is a response to Group of African American Children Playing from the early 1900’s.

They Haven’t Yet

They haven’t yet heard their mamas wailin’
When their daddies got caged no chance for bailin’
“Don’t understand, ain’t done nothing wrong!”
But skin too black and mind too strong

They haven’t yet gone to the Negro schools
Where white folks be callin’ them nasty fools
Young church ladies try their hands at teachin’
On Sunday evening after pastors done preachin’

They haven’t yet been beaten or kicked in the streets
But they seen Hatred ridin’ behind white sheets
White men breedin’ their power and hate
In a country where nothin’ ain’t never been great

They haven’t yet stood in line to vote
Rights and equality ain’t even been wrote
Their own children haven’t yet been born
In a nation where they’ll forever be scorned

They haven’t yet died while trying to live
They had only one smile and laugh to give
They had only one hand and hope to hold
They had only each other to love and behold

ElevenEleven (Day 4 of 5-Day Writing Challenge)

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ElevenEleven

I am born of the power and mystique

Of eleven

Born the eleventh day of the eleventh month

11 days before America’s great mourning

Before a ripped nation 

would forever be severed

Born in the eleventh hour and only 120 seconds 

After the eleventh minute

I am born of New Orleans 

Oklahoma and Los Angeles

Of struggle and success

Marriage and separation

Divorce and devastation

I am born of revolutions 

seeking solutions

To injustice and segregation

100 years after Emancipation

A nation steeped in sickness and hatred

Medgar Evers 

President John F. Kennedy

And Four Little Girls

Dead

But of a King who would

March

Speak

Stand 

For equality in our stead

He had a dream!

Will we let freedom ring?

I am born of a distant father 

fighting in Vietnam 

For a country that denied

His dignity because of his color

A father who sent letters

But rarely spent time

At the house he chose for my family

Where 3 bedrooms and 3 baths

Were as easy as warm waffles for us

With hopscotch and laggers

Barbies and Beany and Cecil

I am born of a gifted mother

Who balanced her cigarette on her lip

Like she balanced parenting and parties

A master of words, pools, and school

A teacher who never stopped learning

And made us beg for crossword puzzles

Boggle and Rummikub

A woman scorned but undefeated

Someone who lived with cancer 

Like a warrior 

Adjusted her armor and kept fighting

Until she was ready to be released

Into her ancestors’ arms

I am born of strong legs and working hands

Of bright smiles and freckles

I am born of tears that fall like rain

“As a joyous daybreak to end

The long night of captivity.”

I am born of African kingdoms and royalty

Of the Bantu and the Congo

I am born of a long lineage of power

I am born of God.