Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

A Litany for those without Hope or A Poem for Troubled Times

Enlarge poem

Rise up!
Claim what rightfully
belongs to thee
let no human
judge your content by color
or take away
natural-born dignity

The beauty of Black humanity
for centuries long denied
leaves us remnants of tragedy
trails of blood and tears
we’ve cried

With resilience embedded in our ancestry
still we rise,
standing proud
holding our weary heads high

150 years since slavery
and the Negro remains
in chains

Now the racial mountain we face
seems steeper than ever
to climb
we struggle just like Sisyphus
so tell me-
When is Freedom’s time?

I would be senseless
to be content with
a pair of rims
on a Range Rover
when I look inside
corrupt cages
called correctional facilities
and see slavery
perpetuated all over
Black children crying
in the streets
for a family
systematically destroyed
Black youth shot down
in the streets
as if the nation has spoken:
and made our citizenship void

So tell me again Kanye
Black people
have made it where?
take those blinders off
stop letting wealth act
as an impediment to care
sophisticated ignorance
from the wisdom
of a fool
Jay-Zs, Oprahs, and Obamas
inspirations but exceptions
to the rule

Tupac said it’s time
to make changes
let’s change stigmatization
of the color black:

let’s raise our fists
embrace our skin
steer the country
towards an equitable track

Martin saw the mountaintop
and Malcolm was willing
by any means
theirs are the voices
we need to fuel
the vehicles
of our dreams

with faith
in the future
of our people
there’s no telling
what we can do

But never abandon the struggle
my friends
because the revolution
begins
with me and you.

Codey Young

Featured Poem:

Colorblinded Contradictions

Enlarge poem

Have you ever
had to defend your existence
to your white friends and family
who call you militant,
thinking it’s only Black folks
you can see?

Colorblinded cheerleaders
shouting
see people as humans,
never as skin tone…
I mean Barack Obama made it
besides slavery’s been gone

Fear flashes in their eyes
as my voice begins to rise
saying
where I stand today is a long way
from the fairytale innocence of my youth
believing the United States
must be synonymous
with freedom democracy truth
you see,
slavery today we know
by another name
prisons have become industries
producing Black and Brown bodies
enchained

I spent fourteen years
in Catholics schools
hearing about the glory of heaven
when God’s love and goodness will prevail
but now I question the value
to suffer, suffer for world
with so many trapped on earth
inside this living hell

My education took me beyond
the mental confines of textbooks
bound with lies
causing my innocent mind
to contemplate the state
of other folks’ demise
like…

How come my friends
in the public schools
got 30 year old textbooks
and I’m the only one
from my block today
who made it out of the town
while they’re still
pregnant
in jail
or jobless
yet everyone from the Catholic school
was college bound?

Why do white folks tell me
I don’t act Black
if it ain’t about race
then call me their best friend
but tell nigger jokes to my face?

What’s the basis of all this
if Abe Lincoln apparently set us free?

How can they call themselves Christians
yet claim their god
could never look like me
blasting hip hop
in brand new cars
throwing private parties in mansions
praying for god to bless the poor
while adopting conservative republican stances

I’m so confused
by all these contradictions
can’t someone please make it clear
why in 2014
I still have to live my life in fear
not knowing whether each time
I leave the house
might be my last
because trigger-happy cops
call me suspicious
then blast

The media portrays us as:
criminals
uneducated thugs
burdens to society
that only make babies
and sell drugs

If Barack Obama made it
why are my sisters and brothers burning
in the flames
of a nightmarish American Dream
that just sounds deranged
compared to the inequality I see
every single day–
this world leaves us so broken
is it any wonder
people kneel down to pray?

So, my family
if you truly want to love me
I have just two conditions:

First
recognize all the diversity
within human existence
simultaneously
we’re all constructed
from the very same elements…

So what? You ask
and question my relevance

Second
accept that our collective humanities all intertwine
so my freedom’s dependent on yours
yours dependent on mine

That means as long as teary-eyed mothers
ride along with Black babies
in hearses
I’ll continue to cry out for justice
in all of my verses.

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (2)
  • Pride (2)
  • Optimism (1)
  • Anger (1)
  • Delight (0)
  • Inspiration (6)
  • Reflection (3)
  • Captivation (0)
  • Peace (0)
  • Amusement (1)
  • Sorrow (0)
  • Vigour (0)
  • Hope (1)
  • Sadness (3)
  • Fear (0)
  • Jubilation (0)

Comments

Your email address will not be published.

Biography

Codey Young is a graduate of Ursinus College, class of 2014. He was recently selected as a 2014-15 Watson Fellow by the Thomas J. Watson Foundation, for a year of international travel to pursue an independent creative project on art, activism, and Black masculinity in the African Diaspora while also performing his poetry. Codey has also launched a website, the Black M.A.R.S. Project, to highlight the work of Black male artists throughout the Diaspora. He has been writing poetry since the age of 12 and performed his work throughout college, at Ted Perkiomen Valley High School, as well as One World Poetry in Berlin, Germany.

Codey Young

Biography

Codey Young is a graduate of Ursinus College, class of 2014. He was recently selected as a 2014-15 Watson Fellow by the Thomas J. Watson Foundation, for a year of international travel to pursue an independent creative project on art, activism, and Black masculinity in the African Diaspora while also performing his poetry. Codey has also launched a website, the Black M.A.R.S. Project, to highlight the work of Black male artists throughout the Diaspora. He has been writing poetry since the age of 12 and performed his work throughout college, at Ted Perkiomen Valley High School, as well as One World Poetry in Berlin, Germany.

A Litany for those without Hope or A Poem for Troubled Times

Enlarge poem

Rise up!
Claim what rightfully
belongs to thee
let no human
judge your content by color
or take away
natural-born dignity

The beauty of Black humanity
for centuries long denied
leaves us remnants of tragedy
trails of blood and tears
we’ve cried

With resilience embedded in our ancestry
still we rise,
standing proud
holding our weary heads high

150 years since slavery
and the Negro remains
in chains

Now the racial mountain we face
seems steeper than ever
to climb
we struggle just like Sisyphus
so tell me-
When is Freedom’s time?

I would be senseless
to be content with
a pair of rims
on a Range Rover
when I look inside
corrupt cages
called correctional facilities
and see slavery
perpetuated all over
Black children crying
in the streets
for a family
systematically destroyed
Black youth shot down
in the streets
as if the nation has spoken:
and made our citizenship void

So tell me again Kanye
Black people
have made it where?
take those blinders off
stop letting wealth act
as an impediment to care
sophisticated ignorance
from the wisdom
of a fool
Jay-Zs, Oprahs, and Obamas
inspirations but exceptions
to the rule

Tupac said it’s time
to make changes
let’s change stigmatization
of the color black:

let’s raise our fists
embrace our skin
steer the country
towards an equitable track

Martin saw the mountaintop
and Malcolm was willing
by any means
theirs are the voices
we need to fuel
the vehicles
of our dreams

with faith
in the future
of our people
there’s no telling
what we can do

But never abandon the struggle
my friends
because the revolution
begins
with me and you.

Featured Poem:

Colorblinded Contradictions

Enlarge poem

Have you ever
had to defend your existence
to your white friends and family
who call you militant,
thinking it’s only Black folks
you can see?

Colorblinded cheerleaders
shouting
see people as humans,
never as skin tone…
I mean Barack Obama made it
besides slavery’s been gone

Fear flashes in their eyes
as my voice begins to rise
saying
where I stand today is a long way
from the fairytale innocence of my youth
believing the United States
must be synonymous
with freedom democracy truth
you see,
slavery today we know
by another name
prisons have become industries
producing Black and Brown bodies
enchained

I spent fourteen years
in Catholics schools
hearing about the glory of heaven
when God’s love and goodness will prevail
but now I question the value
to suffer, suffer for world
with so many trapped on earth
inside this living hell

My education took me beyond
the mental confines of textbooks
bound with lies
causing my innocent mind
to contemplate the state
of other folks’ demise
like…

How come my friends
in the public schools
got 30 year old textbooks
and I’m the only one
from my block today
who made it out of the town
while they’re still
pregnant
in jail
or jobless
yet everyone from the Catholic school
was college bound?

Why do white folks tell me
I don’t act Black
if it ain’t about race
then call me their best friend
but tell nigger jokes to my face?

What’s the basis of all this
if Abe Lincoln apparently set us free?

How can they call themselves Christians
yet claim their god
could never look like me
blasting hip hop
in brand new cars
throwing private parties in mansions
praying for god to bless the poor
while adopting conservative republican stances

I’m so confused
by all these contradictions
can’t someone please make it clear
why in 2014
I still have to live my life in fear
not knowing whether each time
I leave the house
might be my last
because trigger-happy cops
call me suspicious
then blast

The media portrays us as:
criminals
uneducated thugs
burdens to society
that only make babies
and sell drugs

If Barack Obama made it
why are my sisters and brothers burning
in the flames
of a nightmarish American Dream
that just sounds deranged
compared to the inequality I see
every single day–
this world leaves us so broken
is it any wonder
people kneel down to pray?

So, my family
if you truly want to love me
I have just two conditions:

First
recognize all the diversity
within human existence
simultaneously
we’re all constructed
from the very same elements…

So what? You ask
and question my relevance

Second
accept that our collective humanities all intertwine
so my freedom’s dependent on yours
yours dependent on mine

That means as long as teary-eyed mothers
ride along with Black babies
in hearses
I’ll continue to cry out for justice
in all of my verses.

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (2)
  • Pride (2)
  • Optimism (1)
  • Anger (1)
  • Delight (0)
  • Inspiration (6)
  • Reflection (3)
  • Captivation (0)
  • Peace (0)
  • Amusement (1)
  • Sorrow (0)
  • Vigour (0)
  • Hope (1)
  • Sadness (3)
  • Fear (0)
  • Jubilation (0)

A Litany for those without Hope or A Poem for Troubled Times

Enlarge poem

Rise up!
Claim what rightfully
belongs to thee
let no human
judge your content by color
or take away
natural-born dignity

The beauty of Black humanity
for centuries long denied
leaves us remnants of tragedy
trails of blood and tears
we’ve cried

With resilience embedded in our ancestry
still we rise,
standing proud
holding our weary heads high

150 years since slavery
and the Negro remains
in chains

Now the racial mountain we face
seems steeper than ever
to climb
we struggle just like Sisyphus
so tell me-
When is Freedom’s time?

I would be senseless
to be content with
a pair of rims
on a Range Rover
when I look inside
corrupt cages
called correctional facilities
and see slavery
perpetuated all over
Black children crying
in the streets
for a family
systematically destroyed
Black youth shot down
in the streets
as if the nation has spoken:
and made our citizenship void

So tell me again Kanye
Black people
have made it where?
take those blinders off
stop letting wealth act
as an impediment to care
sophisticated ignorance
from the wisdom
of a fool
Jay-Zs, Oprahs, and Obamas
inspirations but exceptions
to the rule

Tupac said it’s time
to make changes
let’s change stigmatization
of the color black:

let’s raise our fists
embrace our skin
steer the country
towards an equitable track

Martin saw the mountaintop
and Malcolm was willing
by any means
theirs are the voices
we need to fuel
the vehicles
of our dreams

with faith
in the future
of our people
there’s no telling
what we can do

But never abandon the struggle
my friends
because the revolution
begins
with me and you.

Comments

Your email address will not be published.