Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Posts tagged ‘Z Hall’

Resume – by Jason Baldinger

Dear human resources manager
I know you get millions of pieces of paper
from job hungry applicants
that you don’t give a fuck about
much as we don’t give a fuck about you
but capitalism still hasn’t ended
I mean it theoretically ended
when the industrial revolution was pronounced dead
but capital’s endless exploitation is still rampant
and apparently just to live
and apparently just to experience life
is not an acceptable trade
I suppose it doesn’t matter
that this is not meaningful work
there are only mostly retail and service jobs
left for low wage workers
who could only be so lucky
to dream about a universal basic income
or for that fact free health care
so I will happily wait on americans
who somehow believe that
these material possession
will somehow fill the emptiness
in their hearts

I can’t tell you what intangible qualities
I have to offer you. I’m quick with new tasks
I’ve run businesses for friends dying of cancer
I do work hard when there’s work to be done
I think outside of the box
I like write poems and daydream
I want to cry at least once a day
because the world is beautiful
because the world is sad
because I might be hungover
because existence in ultimately futile

I can tell you I won’t spend more than
two hours a day in the bathroom
writing poems
on paper or on the stall walls
if I choose the walls
I can promise you will have
the most articulate customers
I’ll even be happy to hide a dictionary
behind the toilet, in case I get a penchant
to use one of those five dollar words
I’ll happily volunteer my Webster’s
that I stole in eighth grade
it has space guns drawn in the margins
but has served me well
for almost thirty years

I have no idea where I’ll be in five years
in ten years, hell if any of us could see
that far into the future we wouldn’t be sitting
here waiting for a fucking job
hell, I’m still not sure what I want to be
when I grow up, or maybe I know
but people don’t pay poets money
people don’t believe in art
people seem only to believe
in money or a god that don’t exist
they long for an afterlife
like I long for early retirement
and I promise I won’t say that out loud

I think its safe to say I’m highly adaptable
last week I installed cabinets one day
hung a suspended ceiling the next
I sold records for friends in my spare time
I wrote and submitted poems
agreed to do another benefit show
then woke up and was a book mule
I drank beer on my break
because it tasted good
and I was tired and it was offered
and I learned a long time ago
that you should always say no
in moderation

seriously though I sold paint to people
I’ve been cursed out for not having the key
to the narcotics locker when I  managed a drug store
I pretended once to care about office supplies
sporting goods, deli meat, detailing cars
processing checks, auto parts
and that doesn’t count all the things
that I may have pretended to care about
because I needed a job then
as I need a job now

I will ask that if you care to drug test
I will pass as long as you don’t test for marijuana,
I know it’s still sort of illegal
I promise I won’t smoke it before
a shift or in the middle of a shift
but I do like it socially
and generally it’s the only way
I get a good night’s sleep nowadays
and that’s important for productivity

that’s what you want right
happy and productive workers
anesthetized and dreamless
wading through their lives
just getting by
constantly careening
at the drop edge of broke
a paycheck away from being hungry
a paycheck away from being homeless
a paycheck away from hope

~Jason Baldinger

Poet Jason Baldinger has spent a life in odd jobs. Somewhere in time he has traveled the country, and wrote a few books, the latest of which, Fragments of a Rainy Season, will be available through Six Gallery Press later this year. A recent list of publishing credits include: Uppagus, Anti Heroin Chic, In-between Hangovers, Your One Phone Call, Nerve Cowboy, Winedrunk Sidewalk and Lilliput Review. You can also hear audio of some poems on the bandcamp website by just typing in his name.

Guest Editor Z. Hall is a poet whose work features ekphrasis, and explores race, gender, and culture. She is an essayist and has served as a PEN Prison Writing Mentor. She is currently a writer-in-residence at the Charlotte Street Foundation. As an art writer and scholar, her peer-reviewed publications include works on Beyoncé and Jay Z’s ‘Drunk in Love,’ the field recordings of Stephen Wade’s “The Beautiful Music All Around Us,” emergence of the Christian film industry in Lindvall and Quicke’s “Celluloid Sermons,” and the political cartoons of the 2005 Muhammad Cartoon Controversy as rhetorical art, among other works. Hall is the Executive Director and Producer of Salon~360, a monthly, Kansas City regional event that brings together artists whose work focuses on challenging societal issues, for which she was awarded an ArtsKC Inspiration Grant.

Raised Hands – by Rob Love

robWritten in protest of police brutality and in remembrance of the
brothers and sisters murdered through excessive police force.

It’s gotten cold again.
That familiar frigid feeling where lifelessness grows thick in the air.
Spare us the talk of seasons, this seems year round.
The sound of rapid heartbeats slowing meets with earth
shattering silence to make the soundtrack of our sorrow.
The last waves of heat waft upward.
The light, salvation appearing unreachable.

We raise our hands.

Maybe we can catch just a bit of it in our palms.
Maybe we just have questions that need answering and
our conditioning tells us our hands must go up first.
Maybe with lies no longer supporting our world we are trying to catch falling sky
in a moment of survival inspired instinct thinking we can bear the weight.

Wait!
Don’t shoot!
Why are you shooting?!
I’m just taking the shape of shooting star aimed downward.
Earthbound.

Trying to infuse something human into this unrecognizable mess we call…
Yes, I called the police. I was scared, but I didn’t think they would kill him.
Yes, I discharged my weapon.  I feared no longer being feared.

Why did he run?
Was he running?

It looked like he was doing an unusual dance to a strange beat.
Like he was using his feet to clear a path to something different.
But any possibility of change must be dispatched without regard and
a hardened soul starts to pull triggers they lose count of how many shots were fired.

How many bullets needed to penetrate flesh like seed in ground?
What urges inanimate forms to animation?
The rhythm of truth is constant.
Still there are masses frozen in fear.
It’s cold out here.

Move.
Love is an action.
A step,
a leap,
a shift,
a motion.

Rising like the elevated notion of creation.
Our bodies are celebration personified!
Our raised hands are not a submission.
They are a sign of divine ambition, of indestructible will.
To keep reaching for something appearing to beautiful to be real.

Warmth is descending again.

Feel,
breathe,
live.

~ Rob Love

Poet Rob Love is a Kansas City, Missouri native and has been writing poetry since 2007. He has self-published one collection, Ready to Rise.  His pieces have been featured through Black Art in America and Cowbird.com and in collaborations with the Center for Digital Storytelling and UMKC Conservatory of Dance for Salon~360 and a performance at The Folly Theater.  As a mentor, public speaker and poet he aims to reach youth and adults alike in order to cure the voicelessness that grips our communities. For him, poetry isn’t just a passion, but a purpose to be fulfilled.  The goal will always be to elevate, enlighten and inspire the whole of the human family.

Guest Editor Z. Hall is a poet whose work features ekphrasis, and explores race, gender, and culture. She is an essayist and has served as a PEN Prison Writing Mentor. She is currently a writer-in-residence at the Charlotte Street Foundation. As an art writer and scholar, her peer-reviewed publications include works on Beyoncé and Jay Z’s ‘Drunk in Love,’ the field recordings of Stephen Wade’s “The Beautiful Music All Around Us,” emergence of the Christian film industry in Lindvall and Quicke’s “Celluloid Sermons,” and the political cartoons of the 2005 Muhammad Cartoon Controversy as rhetorical art, among other works. Hall is the Executive Director and Producer of Salon~360, a monthly, Kansas City regional event that brings together artists whose work focuses on challenging societal issues, for which she was awarded an ArtsKC Inspiration Grant.

Seeking Refuge – by Diane Wahto

diane-wahtoWhere do you find hope or solace
under a cold sky that is not your sky,
far from the land that means loss
to a land where the earth provides
only hard ground to ease your nights,
where no roof deflects winter winds,
no warm kitchen aromas brighten
the end of a day spent in mundane
pursuits. This lonely refuge will
keep you safe for now, your child
clutching a teddy bear, kept warm
in a puffy jacket. Free from alarm,
his eyes roam the unfamiliar
landscape, explore a new world
before he barely knows the old.

~ Diane Wahto

Poety Diane Wahto graduated with an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University in 1985. Recent publications include work in 365 Days, a volume for which she was a co-editor. She, her husband Patrick Roche, and their dogs, Annie and Mulan, live in Midtown, Wichita, Kansas.

Guest Editor Z. Hall is a poet whose work features ekphrasis, and explores race, gender, and culture. She is an essayist and has served as a PEN Prison Writing Mentor. She is currently a writer-in-residence at the Charlotte Street Foundation. As an art writer and scholar, her peer-reviewed publications include works on Beyoncé and Jay Z’s ‘Drunk in Love,’ the field recordings of Stephen Wade’s “The Beautiful Music All Around Us,” emergence of the Christian film industry in Lindvall and Quicke’s “Celluloid Sermons,” and the political cartoons of the 2005 Muhammad Cartoon Controversy as rhetorical art, among other works. Hall is the Executive Director and Producer of Salon~360, a monthly, Kansas City regional event that brings together artists whose work focuses on challenging societal issues, for which she was awarded an ArtsKC Inspiration Grant.

2morrow2day – by Iyaba Ibo Mandingo

iyabaamerikkka
where tomorrow always feels like yesterday
in the blink of an era
can’t get the taste a de rope
offa me tongue
hung; hanging from the letter of the law
again; men in white cloth and blue heart
blue cloth and white heart
spilln blood red
red blood spilln
killn by proxy…
by unspoken words
and obligatory hellos and elevator cringes
and pocketbook tucks
and suspicious skin…
guilty at birth skin…
2016 divided by america=1865
can’t get de taste a de rope
offa me tongue…
yesterday another Black man was hung!

~ Iyaba Ibo Mandingo

Poet Iyaba Ibo Mandingo is a painter, writer, poet, actor, and musician. He migrated to America with his mother and sister at 11-years-old and credits his grandparents, a seamstress and a tailor, with being his greatest artistic influences. He has three chap-books of poetry “41 Times” (2001), “American Exile” (2005), “40 days, 40 nites of write” (2011), and “Sins of My Fathers” (2012). His first full-length novel and a new collection of poetry, “Fu You Tongue Heavy lakka 56,” is available spring 2017. Mandingo’s award winning one-man play, ‘unframed,’ about the 55 days he spent in homeland security for his poem 9-11, had a successful run off Broadway in 2011-2012. His new play, ‘Oh No Not Another Play about Angry Black Men,’ is being developed by New York Theater Workshop, where he is a resident playwright.

Guest Editor Z. Hall is a poet whose work features ekphrasis, and explores race, gender, and culture. She is an essayist and has served as a PEN Prison Writing Mentor. She is currently a writer-in-residence at the Charlotte Street Foundation. As an art writer and scholar, her peer-reviewed publications include works on Beyoncé and Jay Z’s ‘Drunk in Love,’ the field recordings of Stephen Wade’s “The Beautiful Music All Around Us,” emergence of the Christian film industry in Lindvall and Quicke’s “Celluloid Sermons,” and the political cartoons of the 2005 Muhammad Cartoon Controversy as rhetorical art, among other works. Hall is the Executive Director and Producer of Salon~360, a monthly, Kansas City regional event that brings together artists whose work focuses on challenging societal issues, for which she was awarded an ArtsKC Inspiration Grant.

She Says – by Ronda Miller

rondashe doesn’t dream.
Each afternoon I ask, hopeful,
she as despondent as I by her response.
“Not of ponies, a unicorn, white kittens?” I ply.
She shakes her head side to side.
Full lips whisper, “No,” so quietly that I’m lip reading.

During the day, she shares her tears,
tells me how badly she misses her mom
who lives behind bars.
Her older brother, who has
somehow transformed into her
baby brother, she cries for him too.
They have different fathers.
His came for him, hers has not.

Today I decide to change things.
I don’t ask her if she had a dream, I know she did.
I know she does every afternoon and night.
They are nightmares, filled with a loss so dark
they can’t be shared in light of day,
can’t be spoken, can not be remembered.
They are felt so far inside there are no words to share.

I sit beside her, rub her back.
her dark eyes open, flutter shut, reopen.
“Let me tell you about your dream,” I say.
“You were riding a rainbow unicorn
with a fuzzy white kitten in your pocket.
She kept peeking her big bright blue eyes
out to tell you where to go.
You went all the way to the moon and back.
I saw you there myself.”
Her face relaxes, and she smiles.

~ Ronda Miller

Poet Ronda Miller enjoys wandering the high plateau of NW Kansas where the Arikaree Breaks whisper late into the sunset and scream into blizzards and thunderstorms. She lives in Lawrence close to her son and daughter. She is a district president and state vice president for Kansas Authors Club. She is a life coach specializing in working with those who have lost someone to homicide. She dances every chance she gets. She has poetry in numerous online and hard copy publications that include the Smithsonian Institute. Two books of poetry include Going Home: Poems from My Life and MoonStain (Meadowlark Books, May 2015).

Guest Editor Z. Hall is a poet whose work features ekphrasis, and explores race, gender, and culture. She is an essayist and has served as a PEN Prison Writing Mentor. She is currently a writer-in-residence at the Charlotte Street Foundation. As an art writer and scholar, her peer-reviewed publications include works on Beyoncé and Jay Z’s ‘Drunk in Love,’ the field recordings of Stephen Wade’s “The Beautiful Music All Around Us,” emergence of the Christian film industry in Lindvall and Quicke’s “Celluloid Sermons,” and the political cartoons of the 2005 Muhammad Cartoon Controversy as rhetorical art, among other works. Hall is the Executive Director and Producer of Salon~360, a monthly, Kansas City regional event that brings together artists whose work focuses on challenging societal issues, for which she was awarded an ArtsKC Inspiration Grant.

Cleveland, Ohio – by Simone Savannah

simone-savannah-head-shotMy dear baby black boy I see the sirens in your eyes
your heart is pounding attempting to escape
through your back or the center of your chest
before gun shots settle it—

oh God. My womb shakes
as you fall
you see the blue sky in your eyes a final time, the gray
of your breath fading at the face of his steel toes
when he inhales the smoke chimneying from his pistol.

There is blood rising in your throat for the first time—
When you taste it you know what it means
you want the spill of your mother’s milk to warm you.
Your sister wants to bring you some but her wrists are cuffed
and she has to watch you—
mostly she thinks she will make it up to you
make you laugh real good when you’re able to move or play again

I tell you dear boy, sweet skin, sweet black boy
they didn’t think any of us would smell your sweet baby breath disappearing—
our legs rumbled the city’s ground when he emptied you

~ Simone Savannah

Poet Simone Savannah is from Columbus, Ohio, and is a PhD candidate in creative writing at The University of Kansas. Her poems have appeared in Big Lucks, Powder Keg, Apogee, GlitterMOB, The Fem, Voicemail Poems, Puerto del Sol, Vending Machine Press, The Pierian, and Blackberry: A Magazine.

Guest Editor Z. Hall is a poet whose work features ekphrasis, and explores race, gender, and culture. She is an essayist and has served as a PEN Prison Writing Mentor. She is currently a writer-in-residence at the Charlotte Street Foundation. As an art writer and scholar, her peer-reviewed publications include works on Beyoncé and Jay Z’s ‘Drunk in Love,’ the field recordings of Stephen Wade’s “The Beautiful Music All Around Us,” emergence of the Christian film industry in Lindvall and Quicke’s “Celluloid Sermons,” and the political cartoons of the 2005 Muhammad Cartoon Controversy as rhetorical art, among other works. Hall is the Executive Director and Producer of Salon~360, a monthly, Kansas City regional event that brings together artists whose work focuses on challenging societal issues, for which she was awarded an ArtsKC Inspiration Grant.

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