On May 20, several poets shared poems in resonance with the 1962 Brown Vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision that ended school segregation as part of the Voices of Freedom festival held in downtown Topeka. Here is a poem delivered and written by David Baumgardner.
Just the other week I had a dream, and I saw the whole entire world end. The heavens became like fire, the clouds became like ashes, and there was a man that look just like God with a crown, descending down. Trumpets sounding like war was coming, felt like the world was burning down. Burning! Like Salem Witch Trials, burning like burning crosses standing in front of a hung slave, burning, like the firearm that killed Emmett Till. Why is the world still burning? Like Mississipi burning, like pepper sprayed eyes of protesters, like Black Wallstreet of Tulsa, like 92 L.A. Riots, I repeat, this is not a fire drill. Burning, like 50,000 new cases of HIV each year, these cities are on fire, speaking of fire, teachers are being fired. Burning, like global warming, don’t y’all see the warnings? The government plays like the firefighter, they chose which fire to put out, but they forgot to put out, this fire on this block where I come from, or I get it. You just gonna sprinkle gentrification over it, but this fire is too big. Don’t you see us burning? We are starting to melt, we are burning, like sin, like going to hell and we weren’t forgiven. That type of burning, like, like…Right now.
~ David Baumgardner
David Baumgardner, a Washington D.C. native, is an up and coming poet blazing the mic everywhere he goes. Now residing in Kansas City, he has competed at many local poetry slams allowing him to join the Kansas City Poetry Slam Team (FTW Slam) which was the team that competed at Nationals in Decatur, GA in 2016. In between time, David Baumgardner travels from city to city across the country to compete at slams, share his story, enhance his craft, and network with people. Currently, David Baumgardner is preparing himself to compete at the 2017 Rustbelt Poetry Festival in Minnesota, and the 2017 Southern Fried Poetry Slam in Louisville, Kentucky which are the top 2 regional slams in the United States. David Baumgardner has also recently discovered that he made the 2017 FTW Slam Team of Kansas City and will be competing at Nationals in Denver in August 2017. If David Baumgardner could give advice to any and all poets, it would be to follow your passion.