Poetry

Face Down

"Face Down" by Dee Allen

Smashed vehicle windows
Cannot scream.
Burning dumpsters
Cannot unleash their agony into the smoky evening sky.
Neither damaged
T-Mobile nor
McDonald’s nor
Wells Fargo
Can feel pain.
Underground subways
Cannot fight their sudden closure.
So there’s no need to wring hands & agonise


Over property destruction.


Demolished property
Can be replaced.
The once
Full lives
Taken by law enforcement
Never are.


Brutality, never an “accident”.
It’s systemic
And replicates itself
In different cities to the nth degree.


Bleeding
Stony hearts blame such handiwork
On “a few bad apples”.
And everyone knows
How that tired old maxim goes.


Tell that to the last
Victim inside the chalkline.

Reason for anger,
Cause for alarm,
Millions have seen.
Father of one,
Age 22.
First cruel hours
Of the new year.
Young witnesses.
Four cops.
Facepunch.
Submission.
Face down.
Cold concrete.
Triggerlust.
Hot lead.
Close range.
Loud boom.
Backwound.
Panicscreams.
Slowbleed.
Here lies
Father of one,
Age 22.


Face down.
Subway platform
Was the killing field.


The truth cannot be erased,
Try as the guilty might,
Covering their crime.


Father of one,
Age 22.
His name joins
A seemingly endless
Sea of names,
Compendium of martyrs

To their same last sights:
Uniforms & weapons drawn.
Manifested
Needless State violence
Upon the unarmed.
A little Black girl of four
In Hayward goes to bed
Without her father tucking her in.
A Brown woman sleeps
Without her lover’s face to awaken to the next morning.


Reason for anger,
Cause for alarm.
The powderkeg
Called Oakland exploded twice.
Now that a legitimised
Slayer has been captured & released
Into the general public on bail,
A new explosion looms over the future’s horizon.


More fire
Put to the ‘keg.
Perhaps the murderer’s protectors
Will take notice this time
Because that young father they’ve targeted
Was one of us------


He could’ve been anyone


Anyone’s son, anyone’s brother,
Anyone’s neighbour, anyone’s friend
Anyone Black & Brown
Could be the one in submission, lying face down
In the path of a lethal device
Engineering their quick demise.
___________________________
3.4.09
[For Oscar Grant III-----1986-2009]

Dee Allen is a local poetry writer, spoken word
performer and activist from San Francisco.


"This was the best way I could pay homage to the memory of a African working-class man
from Hayward. Considering what he went through minutes before his death at the hands of Bay Area Rapid Transit police officers Mersehle and Pirone [that one should've been indicted and punished two months ago]. The outpouring of community support needs to continue, nationally and locally. The fight against police brutality and corruption needs to continue. Bay Area Rapid Transit's management needs to know that the public will not forget this act of violence committed by their own officers on those who depend on their subway train system for transportation. No community--Black, Brown or White--needs anymore young sacrificial lambs slaughtered because of some cop's racist/classist
powertrip." - Dee Allen

 

The Oscar Grant Memorial Arts Project is Co-Sponsored by Media Alliance

 

For Oscar

"For Oscar" - a poem by Sheilagh"Cat" Brooks

How do I explain to my three year old why im marching in these streets
How do I explain to my three year old why she aint seen me all week
How do I explain to my three year old what his death has done to me
How do I explain to my three year old another black man was killed by police

They killed him
Shot him in the back in cold blood
And now we stand in awe and anger and pain
Im not exactly sure why we're shocked
Its not new, just more of the same
Black blood flowing in the white man’s streets
Black blood flowing and yet they’ll set that pig free
History repeats itself and still we never learn
Perhaps the only the way they’ll know is if we let this fucker burn

I am Oscar Grant
That is what the masses scream
I see the thousands in the streets
And feel Im in a dream
How can we be Oscar Grant
Will we be there when his baby girl screams
And will we be there to answer the question
When she asks why there are no cell phones in heaven
So see now I'm on a hell bent mission
To upturn, destroy and tear down this system
That murders my men without retribution
Because that bullshit badge somehow gives them permission
To do as they see fit

So...
How do I explain to my three year old why I'm marching in these streets
How do I explain to my three year old why she aint seen me all week
How do I explain to my three year old what his death has done to me
How do I explain to my three year old another black man was killed by police

And now we’ve reached the breaking point
But I wonder what we’ll do
Is this a fight for Oscar Grant
Or an attack on the red white and blue
His death has stamped a clear impression
Of the mentality that was the birth of the system
That enslaved us then and murders us now
And still there are some who wonder how
This could happen here and today

But we're not free – still merely slaves
jim crow just has another name
with the cops and the klan playing out the same games
slave owners and chasers did back in the day
History repeats itself and yet we never learn
Maybe the only way they’ll know is if we let this fucker burn

But….
How do I explain to my three year old why im marching in these streets
How do I explain to my three year old why she aint seen me all week
How do I explain to my three year old what his death has done to me
How do I explain to my three year old another black man was killed by police


Im in these streets cause I have to be
Cause I cant stand the thought of it being you and not me
And there is nothing else that matters to me
With your birth, I finally reached the end
Of saying to myself, well one day when
The white man decides to set me free
Ill finally discover what it means to be me
But that’s not the fate I want for you
And THAT is why I do what I do

And maybe one day you’ll understand
And maybe one day you won't
But I couldn’t stand to be in my skin
If I didn’t teach you to fight to win
That nothing matters if you’re not free
That is my hope for my legacy
That I’m raising a revolutionary
And she won’t have to be cautionary
In her struggles for freedom
And revolts for her rights
And God(dess) knows I hope I’m teaching you right
So, yes baby girl, I’ll be late again tonight

Still...
How do I explain to my three year old why im marching in these streets
How do I explain to my three year old why she aint seen me all week
How do I explain to my three year old what his death has done to me
How do I explain to my three year old another black man was killed by police

 

 

The Oscar Grant Memorial Arts Project is Co-Sponsored by Media Alliance

Forty One Shots and Nineteen Hits

"Forty One Shots and Nineteen Hits" by Raul Estremera
For Oscar Grant & Richard Lua

FORTY ONE SHOTS AND NINETEEN HITS!
That terrible nine millimeter sound-
with hollow point bullets strewn all around.
And Amadou Dialo WAS DEAD before he hit the ground.
A life- snuffed out in the wink of an eye.
Then the killers went free, while a mother cried.

Forty one shots and nineteen hits!

Oscar Grant the third
Whose young voice will never be heard?
Because of a coward, and racist RAT.
Who put a bullet INTO HIS BACK
Then took his hate, along on his flight.

But throughout days and half the night
The people raged and took up the fight.

A community’s pain, and struggle, so well invested.
That Johannes Mehserle was finally ARRESTED .

But the struggle it seems was to no avail.
When a racist judge granted him bail.
But don’t worry good mothers, lets remain as ONE
Because our struggle for his justice, has only begun.

So don’t stop the March, or n either the rally
till the whole group of that night will face the tally.
We have marched it seems throughout our history
But the year 09 will see us through victory.

Forty one shots and nineteen hits!

Abner Louima, dancing to the rhythm of a third world beat.
Stepped out of a club, and onto the street.
Was suddenly arrested and brutalized,
Then after the beating was—SODOMIZED
And this heinous crime was done by who?
You guessed it my people- the punks in blue.

Forty one shots and nineteen hits!

Patrick Dorismond, MURDERED and put to rest,
By New York’s finest, Ghouliani’s best.
Thousands came to join the family
To pay their respects in peaceful harmony.
The police then attacked them –WOE AND SHAME
But the people responded with some of the SAME.
They burned the flag and overturned barriers.
Then policemen responded with personnel carriers.
But the people united and had their way.

And so the cops learned that dreadful day,
What even Al Sharpton would have to say-
Not to mess with the people when they come out to pray.

Forty one shots and nineteen hits!

To the murderers in blue, hear my accusations:
You serve as the soldiers of the ruling class,
But your days are numbered, and your killings passed
Cause it’s time for the people to whip some ass.

We’ve seen you murder workers and persons of color.
Destroyed Native people and other cultures.
Then laid claim to some eagle,
When you’re really vultures.

Forty one shots and nineteen hits

To the people in the audience I’m here to say:
Will you heed my message or turn instead.
Go back to your computer and live in your head.
While they’re MURDERING BLACK FOLK.,
Just shooting them dead

There’s only one way to clear the confusion,
And one clear path to a sound solution.
We’ve tried everything else
WHY NOT REVOLUTION!
Why not revolution!
Why not revolution!
Why not a revolution
Within yourself!

Forty one shots and nineteen hits!

Raul "Curly" Estremera is a former political prisoner, a member of the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal, and Coordinator of the Committee in Solidarity with Cuba and Latin America. Curly read his poem on February 20th to community gathered in support of the family of Richard Lua.

Richard Lua was murdered by San Jose Police on February 11th. He went into medical stress from a taser shot when he was trying to get into his home and died at the scene.

 

The Oscar Grant Memorial Arts Project is Co-Sponsored by Media Alliance

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In Honor of ALL fallen Victims of Po'Lice Terror

"In Honor of ALL fallen Victims of Po'Lice Terror" by Tiny

Oscar Grant, Nadra Foster, Idriss Stelly,
Ahmed mohammed, Sean Bell,
Amadou Diallo, Lucerno Rodriguez,
Marlon Crump ,Mama dee gray-garcia and me,
Some of these folks you know-
some you never will see
Taken away,
silenced, destroyed
and killed by Po-lice,
racism and povertee

We share one hit-
one shot
–one mark
-one drop
Someone had the power
someone did not!
Its called the po’Lice
and they called the shots

From Palestine to Oakland,
From LA to KPFA
inside outside
streetside –to parkside
with homes and without
a culture trained to kill is called upon to intervene
cause people say we have nothing else-

I say -
what does that mean?
For poor magazine
it means we make something else
do something deep-old and rooted in earth,
the creator, our elders-you and me-
we convene-
as a community-
for as long as it takes
we take back out voices-our spirits,
our cultures, our languages, our power-
our beauty- our land – our humanity…

we get off the corporate , capitalism, product –driven-violence
perpetrating- thing wanting train until we can see that there is
another way to resolve conflicts that never means
Po-lice brutality

agents with guns- trained to kill and destroy
instead of protect
even one

Tiny aka Lisa Gray-Garcia co-editor POOR Magazine/PNN, welfareQUEEN
and daughter of Dee.

 

The Oscar Grant Memorial Arts Project is Co-Sponsored by Media Alliance

One

"ONE (Ode to Oscar Grant)" by Shiko

One
One man
One man in uniform
One man in uniform with
one

one steel
one steel hard
one steel hard cold gun
in one

one hand with

one
one man
one man face down
one man face down on the hard ground
begging for mercy hoping to live for his

one daughter
who will cry every night for his
one soul

Oscar Grant's Glimpse of the New Year

"Oscar Grant's Glimpse of the New Year" by Rashida Mack

I am an African American 22 yr old man,
Trembling,
I am told to hit the ground,
pushed down,
I am lying on a Los Angeles platform,
As commanded,
Face down,
I hear a shot,
Then feel pain
I am shot,
Fading black.

Your Happy New Year to me,
Now called a mistake?
Glock 9mm,
Taser gun,
Glock 9mm,
On my stomach,
Face down,
Unarmed,
Taser or Glock,
Whichever,
Neither.

Cold,
My body lies face down,
Shot down,
On the ground,
Murdered in the first degree,
On January 1st,2009,
In the United States of America.

My name was Oscar Grant.

Source: http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/oscar-grant-s-glimpse-of-the-new-year

 

 

The Oscar Grant Memorial Arts Project is Co-Sponsored by Media Alliance

Slide Show (a poem)

Slide Show (January 2009) by Carrie Leilam Love
It can be read in rows left-to-right or in columns top-to-bottom.

 

this is Oscar Grant bending.
being bent.
this is me waiting at the
window for her to come home.
heart elephant. weighing down
one side, teaching the other
what empty is.
this the biggest boss that we have seen this far, with the baddest bitch
in the game dancing to an old song, at last love, at last love, at last at last thank god almighty we are president at least.
this is Oscar Grant, bent
and headed to the ground.
hit and head to the ground.
this is me waiting at her heart for the window to open. this is Palestine. these are the dead weighing down one side, holding
up the lighter dead. this is the bad
math of mass murder, equation
un-justified.
here we go laughin, cause on a
MTV cribs re-run, only thing in Missy Elliot's bedroom sides a Ferrari bed is a life-size cut-out of Janet Jackson half-naked.
this Annette Garcia, this the Sheriff who shot her in the back. These are her children,
and this is just
how they looked, shocked not surprised, this just how they looked: tough and into distance.
these are my dead: bowler hat and big belly, bowed legs and bright smile, big hands & mad to the marrow. this my grandmama mean as
vinegar and picked through,
preserved against men in the
bone-yard calling: dear wife, dear mother, dear mother, dear grandmother, come join us in the loam.
here we are underground, swinging
on bulb roots, waiting for
the lilies to tell us it's July.
this is Oscar Grant's heart,
opened and filling his empty. this is his back, softer, in this case, than his belly.
this is her back. she welts easily when I scratch. this is a speckled brown egg, narrow end down, yok weighing into the point. This is my back.   this is me, learning empty is full of breath, shoutin: Please don’t shoot!  

 

The Oscar Grant Memorial Arts Project is Co-Sponsored by Media Alliance

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