march thirty one: #30poems30days – poetry inspired by pop culture – sports and racism

photo from Google.com

photo from Google.com

I  originally wrote this poem in 2006 and revised it in 2014.  It’s to interesting how this topic of the intersection of sports and racism continues to be a problem in American society juxtaposed against the importance of sports in the lives of American youth and our need for recreational activities.  Sports and athletic events has also become somewhat of a status symbol, afforded only by those with money to pay for front row seats at stadiums or who’s corporations can buy season tickets for it’s employees, leaving the everyday citizen to watch it on TV or forcing at home viewers to go broke investing in a “viewing package” of all football/basketball/baseball all the time just to stay caught up with the Jones’.  This issue is out of hand and the recent alleged racist rant by L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling only exacerbates the problem as well as opens a window into the true feelings and comfort level of many older white men in America who still own most of the land and commodities in our society.  So much to talk about, so little time….

 

A New Kind Of Strange Fruit     (2006, updated 2014)

instead of hanging from trees

we hang from

basketball hoops

and we sprint down a field

 

running and jumping

performing at tip top speed

 

all for a contract

that puts a price

on your back

 

our athletes

are treated

like servants

bouncing and throwing a ball

on a plantation

disguised as an institution

of higher education

 

trading our talents

for entertainment

and naming rights

on stadiums

alumni return to campus

to tailgate

and drink

and swap stories

about

their fortune 500 careers

and talk about

how fast that new boy

can run down the field

 

these so called students

are plucked from their hoods

promised big dreams

promised a life of

sex and groupies

only to be left with a life of

trying to maintain a scholarship

trying not to fall asleep in class

trying to prove

that they’re more than

a black buck

recruited

to fill a slot

on a team

that wins championships

only to encourage donors

to keep on digging

in their pockets

leaving players

wondering

why their coach

is treated like a king

and they are treated

like a commodity?

 

And then they get drafted

and traded

like stocks

 

traded and sold

to the highest bidder

to fill their pockets with some change

in order to fill their lives

with material goods

only to make their owners empires bigger

 

all at the expense of racial progress?

 

now tell me again

what is the difference

between sports

and the oppressive

capitalistic

institutionalized

system

we came to know as

slavery?

thank you for reading march thirty one poetry

follow me on twitter: @ivywriter

 

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march thirty one: #NationalPoetryMonth #ThrowbackThursday #OldSchool – Gil Scott Heron – The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Since it’s Thursday (Throw Back Thursday that is), here is one of my favorite poets and one of my favorite pieces of spoken word. It’s Gil Scott Heron’s, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”.  #OldSchool #TBT

We lost him in May 2011, one of the pioneers of modern spoken word and performance. RIP Gil Scott Heron

From You Tube

Thanks for reading March Thirty One poetry

Follow me on Twitter: @ivywriter

 

march thirty one: #TrayvonMartin, One Year Later

Retro Post:  On this day, February 26, 2012, one year later, Trayvon Martin, a teenager, was shot and killed by Wanna Be Cop, George Zimmerman.  Here I share my post from last year and my special poem I wrote in memory of #TrayvonMartin.

Written on March 16, 2012:

I just realized that I haven’t been affected by a teenager’s death and I haven’t felt compelled to write about one specific young person’s death since high school, when a young girl in Cleveland named Diah Harris was killed by her sister back in the early 90s. There was just something about that case that haunted me, bothered me, made me feel like I had to be connected to her in some way, even though I had never met her. I feel the same way about Trayvon Martin. I write this poem today in recognition of the terrible injustice that took place in Sanford, Florida on February 26, 2012 when a vivacious young African American boy, Trayvon Martin, was shot down in a claim of self defense.  How shameful it is that once again, America is gripped by the untimely death of another child who was an innocent bystander and who’s death quite possibly, may go away without being avenged by our criminal justice system.  

Trayvon Martin Protest - Sanford

 

I also felt compelled to write this poem after viewing this haunting photo of Trayvon which, to me, speaks volumes about the innocence of our youth in America and how we should 

value and love all of them, and not just a chosen few.  His face reminds me of the little boys I grew up with, my cousins, my friends children and all of the little Black boys I see walking around everyday. I hope that you are as appalled and outraged as I, and others across the globe are, and I hope that you will never forget his face.

A Poem For Trayvon by Kellea Tibbs

in his eyes, you can see every kid in America

you can see his hopes, his dreams, his wishes

you can see him playing with other kids his age

shooting hoops and having fun

how unfortunate

to be taken away so soon

he’s our child

he’s America’s child

not just another black child

but his untimely demise

represents us all

and if you love everything

about being an American

all of the rights

and privileges

even the option to walk down the street

free and clear of harm

or the notion that

you  might be shot down senselessly

then you WILL cry out

you SHOULD cry out

you should cry

for this beautiful child

another gone too soon

who will speak for Trayvon

who will speak for all of the parents

all of the grandparents, aunts, uncles

all of the sisters, all of the brothers

all of the cousins, all of the classmates

all of the teachers, all of the neighbors

who will miss him

we must speak up

even those of us

who didn’t even know him

but know him in our hearts

who love him

despite never meeting him

rest in peace

beautiful

thank you for reading march thirty one poetry 

follow me on twitter: @ivywriter

 

march thirty one: writers digest chapbook poetry challenge, prompt #4

English: Skin color distribution around the wo...

English: Skin color distribution around the world, data for native populations collected by R. Biasutti prior to 1940 Italiano: Distribuzione del colore della pelle di tutto il mondo, i dati raccolti per le popolazioni native di R. Biasutti prima del 1940 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For the month of November, the challenge is to write apoem-a-day andsubmit your finished work for a Chapbook Challenge.

Find out the daily Chapbook Challenge prompts by visiting Poetic Asides written by Robert Lee Brewer on Writer’s Digest at:

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/poetic-asides/2012-november-pad-chapbook-challenge

Prompt #4 from Marie Ellen Good:  Take the phrase “Just Beneath (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then write the poem.  Possible titles include “Just Beneath My Feet,” “Just Beneath This City,” or “Just Beneath the Surface.”

MY POEM:

Just Beneath My Skin

just beneath my skin

what you can’t see

is my heart

blood pumping through my veins

giving me life

my bones

holding up my frame

guiding me through

the hustle and bustle

of busy schedules

what you don’t see

is the intellect

underneath my skin tone

beyond my hue

the dark skin

that doesn’t allow you to

see the human

the woman

the citizen

who wants

the opportunities from life

that historians have defined as

life, liberty, and happiness

but because

scienc doesn’t allow you

to see underneath my skin

you only see what’s at sea level

somehow society that allows you to

assign derogatory names

to people you don’t know

for whom you’ve willingly overturned

years of civil rights

violated biblical courtesies

so that in the name of God

you have been allowed to treat me

like  the slave

that in your mind

was never allowed to be free

and in your mind

Lincoln never signed that declaration

giving me

the same assignment  as you

to call America home

yet, underneath my skin

you will never know

what it feels like

to be treated

as second class

not even the mail

gets demoted like this

 

c) Kellea Tibbs and march thirty one, 2012. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of original march thirty one material without express and written permission from the author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. 

march thirty one: national poetry month – 30 poems in 30 days, April 11

Trayvon Martin - Million Hoodies March 2012 020

Trayvon Martin - Million Hoodies March 2012 020 (Photo credit: calvinfleming)

a haiku hymn for social justice

in light of the announcement of the final arrest of George Zimmerman, charged with 2nd degree murder for the senseless death of 17-year old Trayvon Martin, this poem is dedicated to justice.

justice is for us

keep on praying and waiting

we shall not be moved

thank you for reading march thirty one poetry

follow me on twitter: @ivywriter

march thirty one: April is National Poetry Month – “30 Poems In 30 Days” Challenge – April 2

Trayvon Martin Protest - Sanford

Trayvon Martin Protest - Sanford (Photo credit: werthmedia)

I have to say two things to preface this post: 1) I almost forgot about the National Poetry Writing Month Challenge – 30 Poems in 30 Days so I missed April 1 and I guess April 2 serves as my first day and 2) I thought it befitting to repost this poem I wrote weeks ago about #TrayvonMartin, considering there hasn’t been an arrest yet; we definitely need to keep him in our consciousness.  So here is my attempt to keep up with the challenge. If you wish to join in, visit http://www.napowrimo.net/ for more details. Please comment and share!

A Poem For Trayvon by Kellea Tibbs

in his eyes, you can see every kid in America

you can see his hopes, his dreams, his wishes

you can see him playing with other kids his age

shooting hoops and having fun

how unfortunate

to be taken away so soon

he’s our child

he’s America’s child

not just another black child

but his untimely demise

represents us all

and if you love everything

about being an American

all of the rights

and privileges

even the option to walk down the street

free and clear of harm

or the notion that

you  might be shot down senselessly

then you WILL cry out

you SHOULD cry out

you should cry

for this beautiful child

another gone too soon

who will speak for Trayvon

who will speak for all of the parents

all of the grandparents, aunts, uncles

all of the sisters, all of the brothers

all of the cousins, all of the classmates

all of the teachers, all of the neighbors

who will miss him

we must speak up

even those of us

who didn’t even know him

but know him in our hearts

who love him

despite never meeting him

rest in peace

beautiful

c) 2012 march thirty one poetry

 follow me on twitter: @ivywriter