The trees threw away their clothes waiting for harmattan.
He never came.  Who locked the gates of wind?  The sun
 
boiled the oranges into rust & the birds grew gills to swim
the heat.  How many twirling fans died that year when we
 
gathered swollen leaves from sun baked drains?  Even the
air conditioning breathed like a bloated river.  The price
 
of water went up; even kisses were hard to come by.  The
houses grew lean with thirst no matter how greedily they
 
sucked on our skins.  The rivers all looked askance; they
were wet with the sun’s tears yet they could not run.
 
Sometimes the clouds peeped through the keyhole & threw
their laundry water through the window.  Sometimes they
 
gathered as if ready to conquer a city then they fled.  Who
pursued them from the battlefield, does anyone know?
 
Some old wives said if you open your door at noon, the
devil was there cooking.  Who dragged hell closer to
 
here?  Who knew what wounded the wings of dust; they
never did rise with the sun.  Nobody heard the siren of the
 
Sahara.  It was said someone tied her lips with the footprints
of immigrants & terrorists.  Some said she choked on the
 
bones of old sand dunes tired of waiting for the sea.  It was
green into January & he had no teeth to eat December’s
 
children.  Now they are raising the portcullis in the kingdom
of rain.  There must be a war in the heavens because
 
harmattan never came.
 
 
 

Osahon Oka is a Nigerian poet who sees writing as an opportunity to experiment with language, a way to show the world what he thinks, and a means to offer a reflection of his lived reality. His writing has appeared in several literary spaces including, but not limited to, Jalada Africa, Lit Quarterly, Lucky Jefferson, Down River Road Review, Dust Poetry Magazine, Lit Break Magazine, Afreecan Read, and elsewhere. He serves as Lead Correspondent at Praxis Magazine. He can be reached on twitter at https://twitter.com/OsahonOka

I remember in high school, explaining to friends

the racism of the cartoon, Speedy Gonzales. His

“arriba arriba” grito just a Chicano shuck and jive.

His campesino hat too big for even the sombrero dance.

And don’t even get me spit balling about Slowpoke

Rodriguez, Speedy’s boozed out cousin from el campo.


It can be hard telling your friends, in the warmup

layup line before basketball practice, that

imagining being different than the people who came

before them is scary, but may signal a reckoning

a Clyde Frazier crossover of potential.


Then the coach, plastic whistle in the corner

of his mouth like a chewed stub three day old

cigar, asking, “What are you guys talking about?”


And George, the fearless one with a strong baseline move

to the rim, says, “the perpetuation of stereotypes

in our culture.” Which made me smile all the way down

to my Pumas. This was like watching the firemen

arriving at the fire with their gear ready for business.


There are surprises and amazements left in life.


But the coach licked his thin train rail lips,

The whistle dangling covered in spit, “let’s

focus on our practice, our game.” The world is such

an imperfect place consider the ant-eater, the mole.


I am sure the coach was who he told us he was. And

when he spoke sometimes all the team heard

were the bubbles coming out of his head. His

smile looked like it pained his face.


Mota


My favorite word to say in Español

es mota. It is the final word of a wild song

on a long road through

Aztlán tequila lime kisses.

It’s the pan dulce and café

on a cold morning.

 

In college I’d sing the word

with emphasis and my gringo friends

asked, “what’s that?”

I could not suppress my giggles

and belted out the word

blues style slower, louder, dragging

the two syllables over sleeping

dogs, “you sabe, moh….tah.”

 

I often helped others with their

Español tarea. Them thanking me, asking,

“where did you learn to speak Spanish

so good? Really? You don’t look

Mexican…..aren’t you Jewish?”

 

My Spanish was not perfect, but it must

have sounded like a Chavela Vargas ballad

ripped full of damage and desire

to their gringo and gringa ears.

 

Once in high school a teacher yelled

that I spoke Spanish on purpose. His words

confusing and silencing me. And each day

in class I reckoned the smoldering power

of his border raged words.

 

My mother asked why I did not recognize

the historical patterns of oppression. She smiled

when she asked. But it was a counterfeit grin.

 

Español was the idioma

in my grandparents’ casa in Douglas.

 

Espanol was the gritos of my grandfather

and tíos as they watched the 8 millimeter

boxing films my grandfather kept in alpha

order in an old shoe box (Canto, Cuevas, Duran).

Español was the weekly phone conversations

between my mother and grandmother on Sunday

afternoons when church ended.

 

Mota is a one word narrative

of mystery and rebellion. The word

that begins the discovery that no

one is who they want to be.

 

Christopher Rubio-Goldsmith was born in Mérida, Yucatán, and raised in Tucson, Arizona. Growing up in a biracial, bilingual home near the frontera, and then teaching high school English for 28 years in a large urban school with a diverse student body created many experiences rich in voice and imagination. His poetry has appeared in Fissured Tongue, Amuse-Bouche (Lunch Ticket), the anthology America We Call Your Name, and in other publications as well. Kelly, his wife of almost 30 years, carefully edits his work. He can be found at https://www.facebook.com/chris.goldsmith.16

I stand in an American Foursquare

two and a half stories tall

in a space a thousand miles from where lines of my blood have shed.

Currently, I am the last step.

I look up to my ascendants,

though now they are all down in the ground,

wondering if I’ve descended or ascended.

Strayed far from their grace,

in attempts to reach levels that they could not.

With each step,

each lifeline,

my bloodline has shortened.

My greatest ascendant,

great grandmother Neva Nell

nearly six feet tall,

baked the sweetest of sweet potato pies

from her two bedroom, one story Henderson kitchen

where bitter tea in a round red pot sat on her gas stove.

 

Red was the dirt along East Texas

all the way up north to Texas’ hat.

She cleaned white men’s estates and

cooked their dinner for her dimes,

making their spots shine,

while her daughter was raised by her mother.

Weekend burger dates,

then back to work.

Her daughter’s cries had to be denied

to earn what bits she could give.

 

Back to work,

back to back.

The same work ethic was not lacked

by her daughter

who left middle-of-nowhere Rusk county and ventured to the big city of Houston –

Texas Southern University

Black excellence sought and obtained by those whose names remained

ignored and exchanged for ‘girl’ and ‘boy.’

Itty bitty, five foot tall Ressie Mae worked

but could not make the grades.

She married a soldier

made a 3-bedroom one-story house a home

with her husband and child.

Not too shabby, not too fancy –

a happy middle class.

As white flight took off

Ressie Mae wasn’t too far behind

after Prince Charming revealed himself to be a Beast.

Laws left her with the home

upkept by work

work, work, work

Waitressing in a diner,

janitor at banks and businesses

night school in nursing

grades never made

stuck scrimping, saving, and fighting

to hold onto the next step.

A second story of her one story.

A life far from the red dirt roots

to sustain the livelihood

where little Alicia flourished

like the landscaping Ressie Mae planted

of banana plants, roses, and ivy.

Her new roots were to stay, at least for one more generation.

The third story is that of little Alicia.

She never made five feet tall,

but lived larger than life itself.

Neva Nell’s girls appeared to slope down from her tall frame

their drastic drop in height jarring to see.

Resemblances lying in moles, smiles, and cheeks.

Deadbeat daddies’ phenotype dominates

but the mighty matriarch mentality moves the line forward

with relentless dedication to thrift and laborious night and days.

The house’s interior unchanged from 1960.

Outdated, but pristine,

the lawn meticulous, but never gaudy.

Little Alicia in uniforms, praying hands, and parochial school

paid for by a relentless mama

who would not allow the line to backslide.

Stepping forward to attain that which her mama could not grasp

as her mother before her,

and her mother before her.

A graduate of Texas Southern University

with an English degree

And membership in Delta Sigma Theta,

a historically Black Greek sorority.

A banker, a teacher, a janitor

because nothing in the big city comes cheap.

Neither do law school dreams 

that she’d sadly never achieve.

Application declined.

 

I was the second generation born and raised at 11214 Jutland Rd

two hundred miles and three generations away from 1000 Wilson St.

I was the second to put on a uniform and pray my way into educational opportunities.

Another step forward

With each generation there would be an ascension of a descendant,

though not in physical inches.

Another step forward

to the dreams deferred for the one before.

A top Texas scholar, I left home to pursue

that which I could not see, but what I hoped was out there for me.

Graduate school

Another step up

But did I step up,

Or step away?

Praying ended once I left parochial school

Five schools,

Four majors,

Three states

Two graduate programs

One failed marriage

One baby boy

I broke the line of ladies

Bought a two-story house one thousand miles away from home base

My tethers had their lifelines snapped at

78, 72, and 31

I was 11, 23, and 6

Did I run to the future they wanted for me?

Or away from the future I feared would be?

I’m living a repeat of working night and day,

As a single mother

To not only provide,

but to elevate

They held such strength

I felt that I could fly

so I leapt

knowing the ripcord safety net belay were in place

Until they weren’t

 

Freedom in Their Bindings

Stacks

lines on shelves

organized by the predilections of the ladies of the house

grandmother, mother, daughter

Mrs. Sirles, Ms. Sirles, and Ms. Lyons

in their living room stood a large homemade bookcase

boards cut and sanded

taking up an entire wall

nearly eight feet tall

plain

without paint

housing the paper and heavy boards

printed letters to elevate

escape

educate

the bookcase was the handiwork of matriarch Mrs. Sirles

she had more books than she could ever read

more books than she’d ever need

in possessing them I believe she felt freed

or possibly attaining a key

to a world denied her,

but access granted to descendants

doors unlocked

barriers unblocked

by words both living and dead

A’Ja Lyons was born and raised in Sunnyside, the oldest African-American community in southern Houston, Texas. Her writing centers on self-reflection and analysis. A’Ja was a book reviewer and column contributor for Pennsylvania Diversity Network’s Valley Gay Press, as well as an article contributor for Gallaudet University’s The Buff and Blue. A’Ja’s work has been published in Sinister Wisdom 85’s Youth/Humor issue, Lucky Jefferson’s Digital Zine Awake, and The Bitchin’ Kitsch. She is the proud mother of an athletically gifted and animal-loving child. She can be found at https://twitter.com/ajalyonsroars and https://www.facebook.com/ajalyonsroars

Mofongo is the epitome of
Puerto Rican cooking.
It is smashed plantains immersed
in loads of garlic and
Puerto Rican soul.
It is salsa and ritmo. It is plena and
bomba… it is blackness
that lives in our food.
No matter the efforts of the
Spanish to erase the Boricuas,
to whiten them via colonialism,
mofongo, pasteles, and the
countless dishes are additions
to our culture and proof otherwise.
That subverts the notion and
attempts of blanquimiento.
Because this food tells a different
story from the dominant narrative.
 
Mofongo is made in a mortar
and pestle, en un pilón, with the strength
of pulsating hands and strong arms
of the matriarch, who grinds ingredients
together. In this friction, I listen to
the stories available.
This culinary process reveals the
whispers of our ancestors from the
coastal towns and mountainous
campos of the island, across the
Wide Caribbean Sea.
 
Mofongo is the taste of
smashed plantains immersed
in loads of garlic and salt
con chicharrones
epitomizing the
Puerto Rican soul.
It is the archipelago,
the smell of banana leaves
swaying under the sun.
It is diaspora. It is power.
It is an archive of taste and memory.
 
 

Keishla Rivera-Lopez is a poet, writer and scholar. She received a PhD in American Studies at the Graduate School-Newark at Rutgers University where she was a 2019-2020 Dean’s Dissertation Fellow. She was born and raised in Newark, NJ to Puerto Rican migrants and reflects on what it means to be a child of diaspora in her scholarship and writing. Currently, Dr. Rivera-Lopez is an Assistant Professor of English and Latinx Literatures and Cultures at Millersville University. Keishla enjoys writing poetry, short-stories, and essays from her travel and everyday experiences as a Puerto Rican woman. She also enjoys experimenting with different sazons and sofritos, hiking, dancing and traveling. Find her at https://twitter.com/Ohh_Kei

(On May 31, 1959—as she lay dying at the Metropolitan Hospital in New York, aged 44—Billie Holiday was arrested, handcuffed, and put under police guard for possession of narcotics.)


This busy bee, at the end of a life like clockwork,

a symphony of service to everything but herself—

wings snatched in a world blinded by the way it is—

slowly expiring in the sweet nectar of stillness, stung

with bittersweet poison, an alchemy of blinded faith.


And even this they could not abide.

Their white-hot burden, unappeasable,

like anti-gravity drawing light inside

its sense of self: righteous, obdurate,

enfeebled from all their inherited fears.


Who are these men that know nothing

about the blues? Inspiring jinxed history

with officious ink—corrections bled red

outside the margins, ignored or overcome—

their shared voice, warning: Be more like me.


Or worse still, stay separate, apart, unheard;

entitled or at least allowed to live: strange fruit

that rots inside dark spaces, or gets torn down

from trees, weeping their weary psalms of silence,

caustic smoke signals blown from burning crosses.


What do they know about beauty, their hatred the only thing

honest about them? What do they know about the helpless

ones: helpless for song, helpless for love, helpless for a fix,

helpless for joy, helpless for hope? God bless the child that

backward men would scorn, ignore, or erase—if they could.


Sean Murphy has appeared on NPR‘s “All Things Considered” and has been quoted in USA Today, The New York Times, The Huffington Post, and AdAge. A long-time columnist for Pop Matters his work has also appeared in Salon, The Village Voice, Washington City Paper, The Good Men Project, Memoir Magazine, and others. His chapbook, The Blackened Blues, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. He has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and served as writer-in-residence of the Noepe Center at Martha’s Vineyard. He’s Founding Director of 1455 (www.1455litarts.org). To learn more, and read his published short fiction, poetry, and criticism, please visit seanmurphy.net/ and https://twitter.com/bullmurph

Wearing a black dress she

bobs in and out of rolling waves

and swells. Daily sea bath.

Sea foam sprays and hugs

her frock. Still fully dressed,

she rinses off at the outdoor

shower. Fresh water cascades,

rivulets spiral down to bare

feet.



Now dry and on her way down

Avenida Tacna she stops at the

plaza. Her black shoes, laced up

neatly, show signs of wear and

tear. A street canillita deftly

buffs her shoes, almost new

using rags and bits of

cardboard.


Most women in town wear

mantillas, go to misa often.

Her veil is solid black. No lace

frames her ivory face. She

is well known, but never

seen at church. Doña Maria is

the despenadora, the one who

takes care of the suffering.

La que quita penas.


We all run to the window,

peering above the cornice

and spot her porcelain profile

as she stops in front of the

ornate iron gate of our casona.

Our doorman lets her in. The

entire family is waiting in the

sala de estar. My uncle, dressed

impeccably in a black suit, stands

stiffly. His starched white collar

frames his long stern face.


He hands her a tiny wrapped

bundle, she quickly hides it

within her bosom, discreetly

looking away. He gestures towards

the bedroom.


Doña Maria’s heels click softly

over the ornate azulejo tiles.

She slowly backs her way into

the bedroom using both hands,

carefully drawing the french

doors closed.


We wait and wait.


The adults go in, I catch a

glimpse of my grandfather

laying there. No more moans

and heavy gusts of breath.

Bedding is neatly tucked, ivory

sheets tightly folded under his arms.

A giant gift wrap. Long bony

fingers splay out like branches

of the algarrobo tree. His face

is drawn, eyes now closed.

Bundles of palo santo burn

in a bowl next to his bedside

table. The aroma floats out,

thick white plumes of smoke slowly

make their way up, towards the

tall colonial ceilings.


Veronica Scharf Garcia was born in Concepcion, Chile and lived in several countries of South America, as well as Africa and the Middle East. She continues her itinerant life now in Europe. Her last home base was California, three years ago. Scharf Garcia has read her poetry at the Miami Book Fair, the Rosemary Duffy Larson Gallery in Florida, the OHI Center in San Diego, and at The Table in Hollywood. Her poems and artwork are published in various books and literary journals. She can be found at https://www.facebook.com/veronica.s.garcia.79 and https://www.instagram.com/verogoart/

“Control, prosecute, sanction” –  

These are the words of the French President on October 2, 2020.

Peculiar echo,

unintended I presume,

to Discipline and Punish by Foucault.

It seems that the image of war is the favorite of our Republic en marche,

at the heart of all speeches.

The first time,

in celebration of those who were closest to the hospital reality during the health crisis.

These were gone

at the “front”,

we were told.

I did not know that the choice of the white blouse meant that of the military dress.

If the nurses,

agents of hospital services are in a fight,

for years now,

it’s that of a cry,

yet neglected

and violently repressed,

when,

marching,

in the French streets,

worn voices,

despair,

denounce the lack of resources,

call for the need for humane and decent treatment.

But no,

we don’t want this struggle,

a tackle,

a face to the ground under police violence,

and a ticket for

“the front”.

Congratulations and applause by way of gifts and then of coats of arms,

for service to the nation.

The war resumes today,

“It’s time!”

they said.

In schools,

public spaces,

associations.

Aux armes citoyens

sounds like we are sinking.

Strange smell,

like that of a detergent,

a sort of purification,

but warning,

“republican” only.

So in the name of right and freedom,

they’ll go,

“control,

prosecute,

and sanction”.

War against Islamist separatism,

neologism in a French style,

for a Franco-French delirium.

An Islamist separatism,

which we must fight against,

Who is we here anyway?

This is how the stage play,

of a republic called “en actes”,

goes.

More controls,

neutrality,

and education,

against the evils of religion.

A new government,

and a vocabulary now in use in cottages:

separatism,

barbarism,

ensauvagement,

literally ‘the getting wild’

of a fragment of the French population.

Sounds like Hidden Forces.

France is contaminated

and apparently it’s not a pretty sight,

it is swarming on all sides.

So school at home is over,

unless for exceptions.

Pay attention to associations,

which are a nest,

we are told,

of Islamist separatism.

But the law will become an alchemist,

they opt for a right of dissolution.

Based on what criteria?

I will be asked.

“Republican principles,

come on!”

Political strategy in the run-up to elections?

Xenophobia is naturalized,

rational,

no need for Le Pen,

Macron is in charge,

Darmanin is on the clock.

The media saturate the public space,

new wording and wordling appear,

stronger than ever,

rickety,

the Republic struts around,

takes up arms.

Occupied territory,

a people to preserve,

new barbarians to educate,

civilize,

awaken,

to the soft and sweet light of our know-how.

More costs,

shots,

more discrimination,

vulnerability.

In the face of the law,

in the face of these in charge of its enforcement,

in the face of police forces,

in the face of its fellow citizens,

in his own country,

a french muslim,

cannot but feel the untold role,

that will come for him or her,

in the Republic theatre piece.

 

Sarra Riahi is a third year student at Maastricht University (Netherlands). She is a French citizen of North African descent who is highly interested in postcolonial departures and critical studies. She plans to become a reporter, correspondent abroad, or opinion journalist. She views writing as a means to provide a critical analysis of current events that relate to colonial legacies. She can be found on https://www.linkedin.com/home

commonwealth

common    wealth

common    weal                                                          

commonstealth

common    steal

empire

imperial empress

impress lands where

sun never sets 

flagrant em   pyre

colonial protectorates

breached

smoke    sugar    cloth

bodies broken

stolen                                      

departing

de    parting

outward    bound

de    ported

de    parted

 

possession

dis    possession

over    seers

overseas

dominium

Latinate (no accident that)

dominant language

outcast

cast    out

outer    caste

out    lying

lying

em    pyre

far    flung

flung     far

farewell

fare    well

welfare

cast    away

outer    cast

holocaust

commonwealth

common    wealth

commonstealth

common    steal

commonhealth

common    heal         

                          

Lynnda Wardle was born in Johannesburg and has lived in Glasgow since 1998. Her own experiences of family, adoption, and immigration are the material she draws on when telling stories about identity and belonging. Her work has appeared in various publications including Glasgow Review of Books, Gutter, New Writing Scotland, thi wurd, New Orleans Review, PENning Magazine, and the Tales From a Cancelled Country Anthology. She is currently completing an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow and working on a novel about Scottish emigration to Africa in the 1800’s. She can be found at https://twitter.com/lynndawardle5https://www.lynndawardle.com/

Nothing could be,

more off key,

than the lack of sympathy

we receive in this symphony.

But, you mustn’t miss a beat

because, although you may be

on the horns of a dilemma,

you have been instrumental

in this rhapsody.

I don’t mean to string you along,

but please note: Compose yourself.

Conduct yourself with vigilance;

play your own instrument;

and toot your own horn,

before the coda’s come

and gone.


Jack Conway’s poems have appeared in Poetry, The Antioch Review, The Hiram Poetry Review, The Columbia Review, “The Norton Book of Light Verse,” and other poetry journals and anthologies. His book, “Outside Providence: Selected Poems,” was published in 2016. He is also the author of seventeen nonfiction books and teaches English at a community college in Massachusetts.

Jazz was discovered by Black musicians,

but it was invented by light passing through outer space.


Look up at the sky, notice the moon during daytime,

like a scoop of vanilla lopped onto an invisible cone;


know that you are seeing not the moon of now,

but of 1.3 seconds ago. See through the night sky


and see the past, different pasts,

all shooting through the Universe’s cold blackness


like racing hands reaching to the human iris.

A billion light years here and there, a solo from Sirius.


Most people don’t know that when John Coltrane

wrote “A Love Supreme,” all he had to do was stargaze.


Matt Moment (he/they) is a writer and performer based in New York. He will be graduating from SUNY New Paltz this spring. Find him at https://www.instagram.com/matt_moment/

A Biko manifesto for the ages:

Black man you are on your own

In your own unmarked unknown grave

In your own land you do not own

With your own hands you own but lend to owners

With a job only to own bread

With the yield of your hand being owned

Forbid them to own your Black mind too


Black Token


Black man you died on your own

Only the Black skeleton is left

Your skin:

Baton-beaten,

Rope-ringfenced,

Gun-gashed,

Dog bite-dug,

Torture-torn,

Whip-whittled,

By slavery, coloniality, Apartheid, and continued oppression

Your skin skinned by old and new cacophonies of violence

Your skeleton — a witness to timeless tragedies befalling your skin


Sunny Africa


Rising in the Eastern Cape,

to awaken Biko’s consciousness

Setting in West Africa’s Ghana,

where Nkrumah settles for African unity

It heats the ripe red soil,

That warmly blankets sleeping souls,

Of Lumumba, Mandela and Nyerere

The Sun is African


Diliza L. Madikiza lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has published his work in various literary journals in South Africa and the UK. He has worked in the media and communications professions and, more recently, has been a lecturer at the University of South Africa in Communication Studies.

Black was a color of a nation

It was unity against separation

It was us when we understood struggle.

Black was deemed evil and unfit to associate with.

It was duct-tape on the mouths of those with an opinion.

It wasn’t freedom to roam and wander about.

It was a trap in the smallest of places like animals.

Now, black is a color not a nation

Black has lost what made them Black.

Black shuns not in the respect of one another

It forgot the struggles of the previous generations.

It isn’t unity anymore, everyone for yourself.

Safe to say, once we were Black.


My March for Africa


People here are scared and they should be

Presidents hold high to their titles

Africans leading Africa back to its roots

The roots that were weeded out before

From the soil, ripped out from around

They wish to remind them of exploitation

Once again, the people with loans and phones

Emerged since they with-held their earnings

Drew taxes and chewed them thin with whim

Thought they were smart and corrupt like no other

Doing nothing for a 30-year developing country

How much more time do they need

Move from suffering and jobless futures

Evictions for urban, hunger for rural

Where do they face and on whose shoulders

The people here are scared and they should be

Government holds peace in their hands

gripped tight without light in a fist

Spoon feed a little to those who threaten

Their secrets that hurt mother nature herself

The people who march and shout in anger

Do little to scratch the itch forever

The same leaders impeached re-emerge

in a new face who brings water to the thirsty

Who makes believe he understands their pain

Gets up on the title and does it all over again

All Africans who lead are greedy and misleading,

not for good-will, like all others he leads

My hope for them with mine is forsaken

I march in anger with words on a poster

‘Cause the hopeless are driven to damage themselves

And we are hopeless, imagine the pain we will herd.


Selma Haitembu is a high school teacher in Windhoek, the capital city of Namibia. Her writing was published earlier this year in the online journal Fleas on the Dog. She describes her love for any written genre as hypnotic.

We are women of the wild

Skin like the soil and mountains at night

We drank from the rivers

And feed on the moon

We hold hands with our grandmothers

We talk in traces of holy footsteps


Can you see them

Those wide women

Wide like the earth

Dressed always in white

Ready soldiers of love


They breathe blessed texts

And sing in tones of the soul

You can feel them in your bones


Have you seen them?

They collect in the kitchen

Laughing recipes for survival

While keeping warm the fire


Holding the universe

They cultivate love

In swamps and deserts


She whispers: The forests and friends can both kill or heal you.

                     Walking in the curative realm



Returning to Freedom: Land Back


And Then there are those who are magical and hunted

She who lives on the intersecting edge of oppression

Carving out a reality

Wings unaccustomed to wind

Learning the sky

With ropes pulling at her throat

What’s it like to breathe in a loose noose 

Careful not to lose her footing 

Standing on the borderline of death and liberation

Holding a shot gun with a baby in her belly

Surrounded with bitter poison 

Yet, guided by her grandmother’s song for the moon 

Finding the forest

Deciphers its fragrances


And then back in the city they’ll say. . .

                          This the tea…

                          She resigned to live the old way

                          Living with her family’s land down in Texas

The mission of Rava Chapman is to create and maintain healing spaces. She is invested in the traditions and legacies of Africana Indigenous people.  Her work centers around developing healthy relations with the self, one’s kin and community, natural ecology, and with the Great Spirit. She is a copper-colored, Africana Indigenous woman and both a descendant of the Maroon people and those who were enslaved. She is an Afro Chicana and Pan Africanist.  She was raised in Black Folk culture and the Black Church.