Category Archives: Poetry

Hakim Bellamy

Poetry Corner: Wanted (AKA F “History”)

Wanted (AKA F “History”) by Hakim Bellamy

Whitney Houston was wrong.
These nappy headed babies right here
will never be the future.

Why?
Because we are not good at math.

Counted below average.
Less than, when asked

what the life expectancy of a man is
& we are all fingers & toes to the answer…

only the calculator is laughing.

Told we don’t get it,
when we do.

We always get it
in the end.

Slave to the final grade
even after we show all our work…
nothing but a pool of red ink.

No,sir.
Yes, sir.
I don’t know sir.

Wrong.
Again.
But only in math class, Whitney.

Never in English
Gift rapped, but never “gifted”
unless we eulogize ourselves
to heartbreaks,
exquisite corpses,
and hot sixteens.

But as soon as we give one single fuck in a poem,
they get an “F”

and all that is left
is history.

Whitney, when you ask the the mini me’s
if we want to be history…

we’ll tell you “No.”

No little boy grows up saying
“I want to be
history”

When “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
becomes a rhetorical essay question…

Don’t give Susan “A”
give us a
hug.

Do more than “C” us,
love us.

Because Nat &
Frederick &
Booker &
W.E.B. &
Marcus &
Nelson &
Medgar &
Malcom &
Martin &
Stokely &
Amiri &

the rest of this cotton pickin’ history
in our DNA.

Even the tests
are scared of themselves,
made to memorize the dates and names
of good people that died in bad ways
a list that gets longer every other day…

When the right answer is a trigger
and the wrong answer is trauma
the test becomes impossible

but “you gon’ learn today”
why the “A”
in straight As really stands for afraid.

Been there,
done that,
got the T-shirt.

Celebrated
when black surnames span the back
right atop a number…

but expunged
when black first names
are numbered
down the front.

And there’s always too many numbers.

So we be like
Fuck math

because it’s scary

But so are lists.
Ask Philando & Alton
how it felt to be retired.
To have their dance cards pulled and punched.
To have their jerseys hung
from the rafters of the American myth.

So when we heard the words
“Tamir has passed”
and tricked ourselves into believing
it had anything remotely to do with “class”…

we failed him
again.

Flunked ourselves
because past is prologue
and it seems like none of the grown ups
have done the homework.

Being Black
is being famous
for all the wrong reasons,
Whitney.

The future is a cruel
joke some teacher invented
just to get our hopes up.

Words like promise and potential
ring hollow when followed by a procession
of Thursday afternoon church bells,
like Black students’ names
always followed by ampersands
and…
and…
and…

Fuck history.

We never wanted to “make” history.
What we wanted,
was to make 25.

Wanted to make different lists.
Wanted to be wanted.
Wanted to be more
than the correct answer
on test.


* Originally published on July 10, 2016 on Mr. Bellamy’s Website, Be-Side
© Hakim Bellamy 2016

Community Publishing has published Hakim Bellamy’s Samuel’s Story, a multimedia children’s story featuring the music of DJ Flo Fader and the illustrations of Melvin Mayes available in Print and Digital editions.


Hakim Bellamy

Hakim Bellamy

Hakim Bellamy is Albuquerque’s Inaugural Poet Laureate. He is also a scholar, educator, musician, and poet. Community Publishing has published Hakim Bellamy’s Samuel’s Story, a multimedia children’s story featuring the music of DJ Flo Fader and the illustrations of Melvin Mayes available in Print and Digital editions.

Community Publishing brings local artists of all mediums together in creative collaborations for distribution as Multimedia Books while promoting literacy in our communities. We are proud to be a community partner and digital marketer at the Rail Yards Market and the Monte Vista Fire Station. Need help with your web presence and social media marketing? Click here to find out how we can help you!

Community Publishing: From the Community For the Community

Gorgeous George

Poetry Corner: Gorgeous George

Gorgeous George by Hakim Bellamy

Dear Champ,
you were our Gorgeous George,
Black Vegas,
a warrior
who would wear our Black
and die for our skins

you were not humble
you were everything we were not allowed
to be
like pretty, so pretty

you were rich, loud
and on TV

a hero in the flesh
even when you turned your front lawn
into a drive-in
for the neighborhood children,
from TV-less homes
your personality towered
over the big screen

you could illuminate an arena
light it up
before you knocked their lights out

our gold medal flower
a bronzed Adonis
live and direct from Olympic Rome
full blooming as soon as you got home
to a country that would not recognize
your rose

when Burdines Department Store
didn’t allow your kind
to try on their clothes
you should have given them the shirt off your back
and showed them your belt

Champ,
you were never one for being whipped
that is why I am left speechless
watching you tremble
for the beatings you took in our ‘stead
the racism you couldn’t out run
the slavery you couldn’t duck
the hate you couldn’t punch

but then,
I remember how you could never shut up
a poet in a sea of fists
you are the same reason so many colored boys
choose life in the ring
because it was the one place
you could control your environment
and our imagination

more than fast hands
you were unbelievable feats
the only A-lister in Miami
without a drip of drug or drink
more pugilist than pimp, married to the game
never an adulterer of the sport
so abstinent they thought you were gay
so obstinate they thought you were crazy

like my teenage students do,
when I tell them you were clean

because it’s hard to believe that you were that disciplined
before Allah made you
Muhammad Ali
before Holmes, Frazier and Spinks
before Foreman and Foster
Sonny Liston and Sonny Banks
Your mouth made you transparent
cause Lord knows
Having a glass jaw was never quite your thing

you told the world you were a minister
and you went to the mat for what you believed
loved your country enough, to raise your hands for money
but not enough to raise a gun
for anybody

you painted canvasses
with your own blood, sweat and fears
for our pleasure
and because you knew the real enemy
they didn’t let you fight for three years

you said you lost nothing
gained everything
like “peace of mind”
and that’s when you became our hero

the greatest that ever lived
and it had nothing to do with who you hit
but who you didn’t…

you shook up the world
and it’s still shaking
all those hits you took for us
now you’re still shaking

and I pray
the best prayer I know how to pray
that you are teaching us your dance

teaching us how to love
with our hands

how to not fight
when we have to

you taught us the butterflies
and the bees
you told the American government

No,
I’m not.

not who you think I am
not who you want me to be

you told them
you have a new name
and when they wouldn’t say it
you made them read it

we like to pretend fighters ain’t smart
but you’re a genius
so all that
to say this…

Dear Champ,
your black fist
taught me the difference
between fight and forfeit

that Black is MORE than beautiful
Black is gorgeous.

Click here for access to the Audio version of this poem
© 2014 Hakim Bellamy | All rights reserved


Hakim Bellamy

Hakim Bellamy

Hakim Bellamy is Albuquerque’s Inaugural Poet Laureate. He is also a scholar, educator, musician, and poet. Community Publishing has published Hakim Bellamy’s Samuel’s Story, a multimedia children’s story featuring the music of DJ Flo Fader and the illustrations of Melvin Mayes available in Print and Digital editions.

Community Publishing brings local artists of all mediums together in creative collaborations for distribution as Multimedia Books while promoting literacy in our communities. We are proud to be a community partner and digital marketer at the Rail Yards Market and the Monte Vista Fire Station. Need help with your web presence and social media marketing? Click here to find out how we can help you!

Community Publishing: From the Community For the Community

Let There be Peace

Poetry Corner: Let There Be Peace

Let There Be Peace by Lemn Sissay

Let there be peace
So frowns fly away like albatross
And skeletons foxtrot from cupboards,
So war correspondants become travel show presenters
And magpies bring back lost property,
Children, engagement rings, broken things.

Let there be peace
So storms can go out to sea to be
Angry and return to me calm,
So the broken can rise up and dance in the hospitals.
Let the aged Ethiopian man in the grey block of flats
Peer through his window and see Addis before him,
So his thrilled outstretched arms become frames
For his dreams.

Let there be peace
Let tears evaporate to form clouds, cleanse themselves
And fall into reservoirs of drinking water.
Let harsh memories burst into fireworks that melt
In the dark pupils of a child’s eyes
And disappear like shoals of silver darting fish,
And let the waves reach the shore with a
Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh


PoetryLemn Sissay MBE is a British author and broadcaster. He was born in 1967, Lancashire, England. Click on link for more information about Mr. Sissay.

Community Publishing brings local artists of all mediums together in creative collaborations for distribution as Multimedia Books while promoting literacy in our communities. We are proud to be a community partner and digital marketer at the Rail Yards Market and the Monte Vista Fire Station. Need help with your web presence and social media marketing? Click here to find out how we can help you!

Community Publishing: From the Community For the Community

Muhammad Ali Fist

Poetry Corner: Muhammad Ali

Better Far From All I See by Muhammad Ali

Better far from all I see

To die fighting to be free

What more fitting end could be?

Better surely than in some bed

Where in broken health I’m led

Lingering until I’m dead

Better than with prayers and pleas

Or in the clutch of some disease

Wasting slowly  by degrees

Better than of heart attack 

Or some dose of drug I lack 

Let me die by being Black 

Better far that I should go 

Standing here against the foe 

Is the sweeter death to know 

Better than the bloody stain 

On some highway where I’m lain 

Torn by flying glass and pane 

Better calling death to come

Than to die another dumb

Muted victim in the slum

Better than of this prison rot

If there’s any choice I’ve got

Kill me here on the spot

Better far my fight to wage

Now while my blood boils with rage

Lest it cool with ancient age

Better vowing for us to die

Than to Uncle Tom and try

Making peace just to live a lie

Better now that I say my sooth

I’m gonna die demanding truth

While I’m still akin to youth

Better now than later on

Now that fear of death is gone

Never mind another dawn.


Better Be Far AwayMuhammad Ali was born Cascius Clay in Louisville, January 17, 1942. He was an Olympic gold medalist and later Heavyweight Boxing Champion. He was outspoken human rights activist and spokesperson. Read More.

Community Publishing brings local artists of all mediums together in creative collaborations for distribution as Multimedia Books while promoting literacy in our communities. We are proud to be a community partner and digital marketer at the Rail Yards Market and the Monte Vista Fire Station. Need help with your web presence and social media marketing? Click here to find out how we can help you!

Community Publishing: From the Community For the Community

The Man Who Would Be King

Poetry Corner: The Man Who Would Be King (for Prince)

The Man Who Would Be King (for Prince) by Hakim Bellamy

1.
We all knew him
as an adult
possessed by music

But as a child
He was obsessed
with the old Hollywood Studio system.

He studied the tape,
the heads of these studio houses
and all their movies
from the 30s and 40s.

If you are in your 30s
and 40s

you recollect Under the Cherry Moon
you recall the first night you ever noticed
the rain bruise a certain hue…

and wondered
for a fraction of a second
if that precipitation
was nothing more than the excessive perspiration
of a strange colored fruit.

You remember him giving his name back
like Kunta
because the studio heads
said they owned that too.

Even though his birth certificate
swears he was born
the son of a king.

2.
They should have seen him coming,
Grandchild of Louisiana
Son of band fling turned matrimony
Godson of James Brown
Descendant of LaBelle and Parliament Funkadelics
Offspring of the group thing…

Married, only to the game.

I tried to told ya,
he studied the tape.
“Produced, arranged,
composed, and performed” by him
alone.

Slave only to his music,
not his masters…
so he owned them too.

Said, “I’m gon’ go’head and get me one of them there plantations.”
Called it Paisley Park.
Fought the industry overlords for his emancipation paper
and won.

Showed his whole entire ass
to the entire music world on TV
on purpose
and principal.

In the name of Jimmy Scott, he did.
In the name of Bo Diddley, he did.
In the name of Charles Mingus, he did.
In the name of dead, Black musicians’
stolen dollars
and stolen songs.

As though his very name
means “royalties.”

3.
In a perfect world,
a different world,
not the one where his self-titled debut album
comes out the selfsame year I was born…

A better world.
A world in which
Mortal Kombat
would be a video game, about dancing,
and you could cosplay
a battle between Michael Jackson
and Prince.

Some sort of 8-bit 80s adolescent
wet dream-wich of fantasy…

where I get teleported back, like 1982,
to a moment in time

when the two most famous people on the planet
were Black
Gods.

Gods that dressed, spoke and/or looked like women.
Black Folk, so surprisingly proud of these post-gender geniuses
that Mom and Dad scarcely flinched
when I confessed that I too wanted to be a symbol
when I grow up.

In his perfect world
where the girls
get all the drumsticks,
and the color purple
exists somewhere between pink
and blue.

Where if queer were a color
it’d be…leather.
It’d be black,
and sexy
is whatever the funk
you want it to be…

A world where we are all
at least 5’6”
in heels.

Author’s Note:
High-heeled shoes were originally worn by men. As early as the 10th century, many horseback-riding cultures wore heels on their boots and on their shoes, because heels help you stay in the stirrups (which, consequently, is why cowboy boots have heels too).Heels were seen as an expression of power and privilege reserved for male royalty, and only later co-opted by women in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Originally published in Be-Side
© Hakim Bellamy May 20, 2016


Hakim Bellamy

Hakim Bellamy

Hakim Bellamy is Albuquerque’s Inaugural Poet Laureate. He is also a scholar, educator, musician, and poet. Community Publishing has published Hakim Bellamy’s Samuel’s Story, a multimedia children’s story featuring the music of DJ Flo Fader and the illustrations of Melvin Mayes available in Print and Digital editions.

Community Publishing brings local artists of all mediums together in creative collaborations for distribution as Multimedia Books while promoting literacy in our communities. We are proud to be a community partner and digital marketer at the Rail Yards Market and the Monte Vista Fire Station. Need help with your web presence and social media marketing? Click here to find out how we can help you!

Community Publishing: From the Community For the Community

Losing Your Humanity

Poets Corner: Losing Your Humanity

Losing Your Humanity by Yvette Sandoval

Ignorance has a voice
and its loud and full of hatred

Small minds
spouting small minded words
as though some untapped fountain 
has been unearthed

again

As though the illusion of
racism, sexism, homophobia truly exists
and the only way “to do away with the evils”
is to lose our humanity.

*****


Image of Yvette SandovalYvette Sandoval is originally from Bernalillo, New Mexico and currently lives in Albuquerque New Mexico. Yvette is a writer and Co-Founder and Partner of Community Publishing. At Community Publishing. Yvette’s specialty is graphic art and editing. Yvette has attended Central New Mexico Community College.

Community Publishing is committed to providing a digital platform for local artists of all mediums through the creation of multimedia eBooks, while promoting literacy in our community. Community Publishing uses a “ground up” approach which emphasizes an all-encompassing collaborative method.

Live Everyday by Seth Hoffman

Guest Poet: Seth Hoffman

Live Everyday by Seth Hoffman

Live every day as if it were the last,
Because before you know it, time goes past,
And life’s just not that long.

Tell all you love that you love ‘em so,
Because even if you do, you might not know,
And one day we’ll all be gone.

Taste the wind, don’t let it blow on by,
Sing songs of love, let the music get you high
And when it’s said and done, you know the sun’ll shine on.

Live Everyday by Seth HoffmanLearn all you can from the folks you meet,
Though they might be strange and sleep on the street,
But in some ways we all are wise.

Give all your thoughts a fighting chance,
Ask your fears and doubts, “Would you like to dance?”
And open up your eyes.

See the world, and let the world see you.
Take the time to love the things you do,
And you’ll hear it when you’re spirit starts to rise.
*****


Seth in New Zealand

Seth Hoffman

Community Publishing has published a Multimedia Book (available in digital and print editions) written and Illustrated by Seth Hoffman titled, Janie and the Hummingbird. Seth is a musician, artist and educator based out of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Follow his adventures here every Tuesday. Seth returned from a 6 month assignment on a Fulbright Scholarship in Wellington, New Zealand. Read all about his adventures in pursuit of learning/teaching about the integration of the arts into the classroom HERE.

CP Logo FinalWe are proud to be a community partner and digital marketer at the Rail Yards Market and the Monte Vista Fire Station. Need help with your web presence and social media marketing? Click here to find out how we can help you!
Community Publishing: From the Community For the Community

REZILIENCE

Guest Poet: Marlon Footracer

#DearNativeYouth by Marlon Footracer

In the First World, there was sleep and darkness and dreaming. Female and male clouds hoovered over your breath, your beating heart, a strange blood machine for good. You slowly stretched your dream over the dark, carefully tucking the corners, East, South, West, North. Radiant and full of love, you greeted your spirit, calling it by its first, ancestral sound.

Together, you and your spirit ventured into something like a day, luminous and blue, but entirely your own. You gathered your songs from your mother and father, your grandparents, and even older ancestors. You sang sweet blood harmonies until the world took shape. A holy mountain there, a sacred canyon here, a scattering of rivers flowing to the sea. You unstitched sand to reveal plants, birds and gravity.

But there was something else, monsters muttering at the edges, calling your spirit away from you. They still call – loneliness, drunkenness, blue-black violence. But that spirit belongs to you. Never send it away in times of fear or hurt. Remember how you created this world, your medicine bundle of dreams.

The fight was hard, you ventured so far away from your mountains. Your rivers are home, waiting for your cloud breath to release the ghosts.  You slayed giants in cities, shiny scaly things full of empty. You call out in your dreamtime for those first songs tucked behind your lungs.

You are so brave, you carry so much weight. You see so many new things we have not seen. Keep reaching in your dreamtime, together we spin something glittering and magical and beautiful – we will call it love – the name of your spirit.

Remember you must keep walking, keep coming back home. Your language loves you. Your ceremonies are waiting.  Your ancestors are waiting for their names to be said. They are waiting for you to see the medicine you have carried on your own.

Marlon FootracerThere is so much beauty in this world, so much love and goodness for you to feel and see and give. In beauty it becomes. In beauty you became, In beauty we will make it.

We will always wait for you.

Love,
Your People

*Marlon will be performing at the 1st Annual REZILIENCE Indigenous Arts Experience which will be taking place on April 30th at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. More info and tickets here.

*****


Dear Native YouthMarlon Footracer is Diné, Water-Flows-Together, born for One-Who-Walks-Around-You clan. He grew up in Tsé Síaní (Lupton, AZ). He attended Stanford University where he majored in Creative Writing with an emphasis in poetry. He was also a member of the Stanford Spoken Word Collective. Read more about Mr. Footracer.

Community Publishing brings local artists of all mediums together in creative collaborations for distribution as Multimedia Books while promoting literacy in our CP Logo Finalcommunities. We are proud to be a community partner and digital marketer at the Rail Yards Market and the Monte Vista Fire Station. Need help with your web presence and social media marketing? Click here to find out how we can help you!

Community Publishing: From the Community For the Community

Aborigine Poet

Guest Poet: Oodgeroo Noonuccal

Tree Grave by Oodgeroo Noonuccal

Listen/Watch poem recited here.

When our lost ones left us
 For the Shallow Land,
 In bark we bound him,
 A weeping band,
 Our wild death croon
 To his lonely tree-grave
 By the Long-Lagoon.
Our wandering fires
 Are now far away,
 But our thoughts are turning
 By night and day
 Where he lies for ever
 Under the White Moon,
 By the lit waters
 Of the still lagoon.
HIs hunts are over
 And the songs he made;
 Poor lonely fellow,
 He will be afraid
 When the night winds whisper
 Their ghostly tune
 In the haunted swamp-oaks
 By the Long Lagoon.

*****


Australian Aborigine Poetry“Oodgeroo of the Noonuccal, known until 1988 as Kath Walker, was born Kathleen Jean Mary Ruska on 3 November 1920 (in Australia)…Her father, an Aborigine, was employed by the Queensland government as part of a poorly-paid Aboriginal workforce; his campaigning for better conditions for Aboriginal workers left a strong impression on his daughter…In 1988, as a protest against continuing Aboriginal disadvantage during the Bicentennial Celebration of White Australia, Walker returned the MBE she had been awarded in 1970, and subsequently adopted the Noonuccal tribal name Oodgeroo (meaning “paperbark”). Read more about Ms. Noonuccal.

CP Logo FinalWe are proud to be a community partner and digital marketer at the Rail Yards Market and the Monte Vista Fire Station. Need help with your web presence and social media marketing? Click here to find out how we can help you!
Community Publishing: From the Community For the Community

Shadow Lit

Guest Poet: Ebony Isis Booth

Special Lit Shadows by Ebony Isis Booth

 the predicament of predictability
 is the necessity of change
 in all of the ways a day is
 constantly becoming its next self
 always new
 in all of the ways a day remains the same
 there is a far off familiar look in their eyes
 always knew
      the white folks
sometimes of fancy
others a glimmer of contempt
perhaps indifference this time
observing and assessing us
invisible and unimportant
paralyzed shadows preserved
in the wake of a beacon
shadows who do not disappear under
     the white gaze
shock of unruly untamed locks
flagrant blackness turned in on itself
wound tight and in unison
strands on one accord confront clouds
and dare them break apart to weep
disrupting the protest
sopping the revolution
it is difficult sometimes
     to be a special shadow
it is difficult to watch the light
touch secrets in the eyes of strangers
somewhat invasive to see and feel it
pretend not to spread yourself over chasms
of the great human divide
stay close to the ground to keep
your dark and special figure from blocking the sun
careful not to show yourself exhausted by the routine
      black magic woman
ignore the fear which is filed and felt
in response to their marvel at your splendor
the audacity of your unfettered breath
is also a potential threat
turn yourself into nighttime
dare your moon to take its turn lighting the sky
defy everything
      refuse to disappear

*Publishers Note: Featured image/Art by artist Kara Walker. All Rights Reserved.

*****


Ebony Isis BoothNew Jersey born Ebony “Isis Speaks” Booth is a living work of art and specializes in spoken-word poetry, singing, and creative writing. She uses various mediums for entertainment to unleash the potency in her performances, yet the over arching purpose in Isis’s art is her speaking. As a professional poet and performance artist Isis provides a dual function as educator and student in the area of empowerment.

Called upon as a featured guest facilitator for Denver Public Schools, she writes and teaches education curriculum to challenge traditional ideas and themes in society. A “jade of all trades,” if you will, the poet used her transformation as a multi-faceted artist to spread a message of self-awareness and healing. “Isis Speaks,” was born out of the beauty and scars she says developed her into an ever evolving womanhood. Find about more about Ms. Booth here.

CP Logo FinalWe are proud to be a community partner and digital marketer at the Rail Yards Market and the Monte Vista Fire Station. Need help with your web presence and social media marketing? Click here to find out how we can help you! 
Community Publishing: From the Community For the Community