Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

Home is Here

Enlarge poem

Where are you from?

let me ask again – i said, where are you from?

because Black folks are definitely not Johnny Come Lately
our contributions are critical, central and stately
when Champlain claimed New France for the Gaul with the crown
who did he have with him to guide him around
but Mathieu da Costa who knew the lay of the land
and the languages spoken we know he could understand
but how would he know them unless he got here before
the man credited with breaking new ground in our lore?
the sheer gall with which power tries to silence, suppress
the pain and the triumphs of my people – i guess
time is now i say something and make myself clear –
my
home
is
here.

East York is the place where my life began
at Toronto East General Hospital by the capable hands
of a Polish-born doctor, who had a daughter the same age
he and my Jamaican mom watched as both children were raised
by people who came to Canada for hope and a chance
that their kids would develop the means to advance
and have impact to blaze a path curtained in snow
in a land where my Black ass at 20 below
shivers shaking in shelters to go fight for my due
now i plow ahead knowing what all of us knew –
our country was snatched from indigenous hands
and built with their blood on oppression’s commands
disenfranchised, ignored and whitewashed to submit
to the dominant power of the French and the Brits
all the way to today and the rest benefit
from the theft of a livelihood we won’t admit
supplied the foundations for an immigrant preserve
while original peoples live Third World on reserves

walk around downtown Halifax – there’s Black people there
endured centuries of viciousness, violence, despair
oppressed by their neighbours and the governments of the day
do you think that those memories can just fade away?
the Maroons, the Loyalists, and Africville’s stain
are notable solely due to overt glint of chains
revisionist bigots work to gloss over crimes
of humanity held hostage by their odious designs
i remind all those people who think Canada’s mosaic
is anything but farcical, mythic and prosaic
that if you scatter a mess and then claim that it’s beauty
to refuse to clean it up is dereliction of duty
when that’s followed by the urge to cover up mistakes
how can you baldly assert that we’re better than the States’?
i declare – you who question my right to this place
based simply on the colour of my skin and my race
have been brainwashed to believe that history is white
and Laurier, King and Trudeau held upright
are the model our kids must be taught in our schools
with the hope we adults are uncritical fools
who revere the old leader who gave Smuts the idea
to fleece Black South Africans like Jason and Medea
and build a golden oasis, an Afrikaans sanctuary
based on our racist Indian Act – they’ve duped the unwary
to believe King’s xenophobia and Trudeau’s false construction
of a society that justly birthed racial hatred’s destruction
it’s now so engrained that it’s treated as fact
that our country is the world’s promulgation of a pact
that assures immigrant groups that the vices abroad
could be stifled over here – that perspective’s a fraud

Black people here can tell you that racism’s alive
an encumbering restraint so it’s harder to thrive
so take heed and don’t step up and glibly succumb
to the urge to ask with arrogance “hey, where are you from?”
i’m born of this land and it’s here i remain
and the depths of my roots allow me to ascertain
without doubt that this country of water, rock, trees and ice
is exactly where i belong – my forebears paid the price
so i could stand here and state with no shame and no fear
my
home
is
here!

© A. Gregory Frankson, 2008. All rights reserved.

Greg Ritallin Frankson

Featured Poem:

Counseling Crime

Enlarge poem

Yard mon likkle bwoy come from ‘round de way
Tek time, gonna fly from his early day
Yard mon bigga bwoy teach dem how fi run
Aweh to cold habitat and further from de sun
Yard mon likkle man runnin’ from de blue
Tek time for de crime, captivate fi true!
Big mon cross de mon, mon go sen’ ‘im weh
Down to de Caribbean to mek de yardie pay

Black criminality’s on the rise
But that depends on if you see reality through uncorrected eyes
Collected I surmise that stats don’t tell the story
How my people get assigned to another category
It’s like playing Scattergories – some people play the game
While the others on the sidelines must deal with all the blame
I know I hit a vein when the shame blush your face
I’m giving you a taste of the peeps you can’t replace
When you ride them on a rail out of town cuffed up
held like chattel for the slaughter get ‘em booked and roughed up
We blame the land of origin who send the malcontents
When they learned the business here from the time of innocence
To the moment that they realize that Canada’s a fraud
Gavel licks the tabletop, they lock you in a pod
The time it takes to strap ‘em in a seat upon a plane
Is just long enough to exorcise our undiluted shame
The lessons of the world were taught to youth upon our streets
It’s funny how we do this then we kick them on their seats
For if we take the challenge of correcting our mistakes
Then we stop dumping criminals in unrelated states

Yard mon likkle bwoy come from ‘round de way
Tek time, gonna fly from his early day
Yard mon bigga bwoy teach dem how fi run
Aweh to cold habitat and further from de sun
Yard mon likkle man runnin’ from de blue
Tek time for de crime, captivate fi true!
Big mon cross de mon, mon go sen’ ‘im weh
Down to de Caribbean to mek de yardie pay

The criminals that make the news that came from other lands
And were given all the privileges we place in children’s hands
They learned it from the man but made a fateful trip
When they failed to understand the need to grab citizenship
Too late to get a grip and hold all that they wanted
When the courts dispensing justice if the rule of law is flaunted
The sentencing is over and the chance for mercy gone
With the counsel for the Queen of England chatting on the lawn
“The justice system worked, the perpetrator pays
Reuniting with the country where he learned his evil ways”
But hold up when I say that we are evil evermore
When a child is sent away to unfamiliar foreign shores
Surroundings that impound the chance to learn and to forgive
And the comment on our culture is we’ll kick you in the ribs
So send to us your immigrants to reinforce our ranks
We’ll pick all of the good ones, toss the bad with no thanks
Then as the ultimate prank the scum that we created
We’ll ship down to the Caribbean as some twisted favour
This disassociation that we never once debated
Makes our country to those nations little better than the slaver

Yard mon likkle bwoy come from ‘round de way
Tek time, gonna fly from his early day
Yard mon bigga bwoy teach dem how fi run
Aweh to cold habitat and further from de sun
Yard mon likkle man runnin’ from de blue
Tek time for de crime, captivate fi true!
Big mon cross de mon, mon go sen’ ‘im weh
Down to de Caribbean to mek de yardie pay

© A. Gregory Frankson, 2003. All rights reserved.

How does this featured poem make you feel?

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

Comments

Your email address will not be published.

Biography

Greg Frankson (a.k.a. Ritallin) is a spoken word artist, arts educator, creative services consultant, writer and social activist based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Greg is a former National Director and currently the Vice-Chair (Communications) for Spoken Word Canada, organizers of the annual Canadian Festival of Spoken Word. He was the Spoken Word Curator for Westfest for four years and is a co-founder of the award-winning Capital Slam poetry series. He is a roster member for two arts education organizations – MASC, based in Ottawa, and Toronto-based Prologue to the Performing Arts – and a member of the League of Canadian Poets.

Ritallin self-published a political poetic memoir entitled The Halifax Chronicles in 2006 and has released two poetry chapbooks – Coast Poems in 2008 and Mindfull in 2010. His debut poetry collection Cerebral Stimulation was released by BeWrite Books in 2006, and he was included in an anthology of spoken word poetry by Quattro Books entitled Mic Check in 2008. He released the CDs Capital Thoughts in 2005, Poet Psychology Volume I in October 2010 and Poet Psychology Volume II in January 2011. Ritallin appeared on the track Can You Feel It? on the 2007 CD It’s Great to be Fine by Ropeadope Records jazz-ambient band Antizario and the track Uncomfortable by Inuit hip-hop/spoken word artist M.O. in 2009.

Greg Ritallin Frankson

Biography

Greg Frankson (a.k.a. Ritallin) is a spoken word artist, arts educator, creative services consultant, writer and social activist based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Greg is a former National Director and currently the Vice-Chair (Communications) for Spoken Word Canada, organizers of the annual Canadian Festival of Spoken Word. He was the Spoken Word Curator for Westfest for four years and is a co-founder of the award-winning Capital Slam poetry series. He is a roster member for two arts education organizations – MASC, based in Ottawa, and Toronto-based Prologue to the Performing Arts – and a member of the League of Canadian Poets.

Ritallin self-published a political poetic memoir entitled The Halifax Chronicles in 2006 and has released two poetry chapbooks – Coast Poems in 2008 and Mindfull in 2010. His debut poetry collection Cerebral Stimulation was released by BeWrite Books in 2006, and he was included in an anthology of spoken word poetry by Quattro Books entitled Mic Check in 2008. He released the CDs Capital Thoughts in 2005, Poet Psychology Volume I in October 2010 and Poet Psychology Volume II in January 2011. Ritallin appeared on the track Can You Feel It? on the 2007 CD It’s Great to be Fine by Ropeadope Records jazz-ambient band Antizario and the track Uncomfortable by Inuit hip-hop/spoken word artist M.O. in 2009.

Home is Here

Enlarge poem

Where are you from?

let me ask again – i said, where are you from?

because Black folks are definitely not Johnny Come Lately
our contributions are critical, central and stately
when Champlain claimed New France for the Gaul with the crown
who did he have with him to guide him around
but Mathieu da Costa who knew the lay of the land
and the languages spoken we know he could understand
but how would he know them unless he got here before
the man credited with breaking new ground in our lore?
the sheer gall with which power tries to silence, suppress
the pain and the triumphs of my people – i guess
time is now i say something and make myself clear –
my
home
is
here.

East York is the place where my life began
at Toronto East General Hospital by the capable hands
of a Polish-born doctor, who had a daughter the same age
he and my Jamaican mom watched as both children were raised
by people who came to Canada for hope and a chance
that their kids would develop the means to advance
and have impact to blaze a path curtained in snow
in a land where my Black ass at 20 below
shivers shaking in shelters to go fight for my due
now i plow ahead knowing what all of us knew –
our country was snatched from indigenous hands
and built with their blood on oppression’s commands
disenfranchised, ignored and whitewashed to submit
to the dominant power of the French and the Brits
all the way to today and the rest benefit
from the theft of a livelihood we won’t admit
supplied the foundations for an immigrant preserve
while original peoples live Third World on reserves

walk around downtown Halifax – there’s Black people there
endured centuries of viciousness, violence, despair
oppressed by their neighbours and the governments of the day
do you think that those memories can just fade away?
the Maroons, the Loyalists, and Africville’s stain
are notable solely due to overt glint of chains
revisionist bigots work to gloss over crimes
of humanity held hostage by their odious designs
i remind all those people who think Canada’s mosaic
is anything but farcical, mythic and prosaic
that if you scatter a mess and then claim that it’s beauty
to refuse to clean it up is dereliction of duty
when that’s followed by the urge to cover up mistakes
how can you baldly assert that we’re better than the States’?
i declare – you who question my right to this place
based simply on the colour of my skin and my race
have been brainwashed to believe that history is white
and Laurier, King and Trudeau held upright
are the model our kids must be taught in our schools
with the hope we adults are uncritical fools
who revere the old leader who gave Smuts the idea
to fleece Black South Africans like Jason and Medea
and build a golden oasis, an Afrikaans sanctuary
based on our racist Indian Act – they’ve duped the unwary
to believe King’s xenophobia and Trudeau’s false construction
of a society that justly birthed racial hatred’s destruction
it’s now so engrained that it’s treated as fact
that our country is the world’s promulgation of a pact
that assures immigrant groups that the vices abroad
could be stifled over here – that perspective’s a fraud

Black people here can tell you that racism’s alive
an encumbering restraint so it’s harder to thrive
so take heed and don’t step up and glibly succumb
to the urge to ask with arrogance “hey, where are you from?”
i’m born of this land and it’s here i remain
and the depths of my roots allow me to ascertain
without doubt that this country of water, rock, trees and ice
is exactly where i belong – my forebears paid the price
so i could stand here and state with no shame and no fear
my
home
is
here!

© A. Gregory Frankson, 2008. All rights reserved.

Featured Poem:

Counseling Crime

Enlarge poem

Yard mon likkle bwoy come from ‘round de way
Tek time, gonna fly from his early day
Yard mon bigga bwoy teach dem how fi run
Aweh to cold habitat and further from de sun
Yard mon likkle man runnin’ from de blue
Tek time for de crime, captivate fi true!
Big mon cross de mon, mon go sen’ ‘im weh
Down to de Caribbean to mek de yardie pay

Black criminality’s on the rise
But that depends on if you see reality through uncorrected eyes
Collected I surmise that stats don’t tell the story
How my people get assigned to another category
It’s like playing Scattergories – some people play the game
While the others on the sidelines must deal with all the blame
I know I hit a vein when the shame blush your face
I’m giving you a taste of the peeps you can’t replace
When you ride them on a rail out of town cuffed up
held like chattel for the slaughter get ‘em booked and roughed up
We blame the land of origin who send the malcontents
When they learned the business here from the time of innocence
To the moment that they realize that Canada’s a fraud
Gavel licks the tabletop, they lock you in a pod
The time it takes to strap ‘em in a seat upon a plane
Is just long enough to exorcise our undiluted shame
The lessons of the world were taught to youth upon our streets
It’s funny how we do this then we kick them on their seats
For if we take the challenge of correcting our mistakes
Then we stop dumping criminals in unrelated states

Yard mon likkle bwoy come from ‘round de way
Tek time, gonna fly from his early day
Yard mon bigga bwoy teach dem how fi run
Aweh to cold habitat and further from de sun
Yard mon likkle man runnin’ from de blue
Tek time for de crime, captivate fi true!
Big mon cross de mon, mon go sen’ ‘im weh
Down to de Caribbean to mek de yardie pay

The criminals that make the news that came from other lands
And were given all the privileges we place in children’s hands
They learned it from the man but made a fateful trip
When they failed to understand the need to grab citizenship
Too late to get a grip and hold all that they wanted
When the courts dispensing justice if the rule of law is flaunted
The sentencing is over and the chance for mercy gone
With the counsel for the Queen of England chatting on the lawn
“The justice system worked, the perpetrator pays
Reuniting with the country where he learned his evil ways”
But hold up when I say that we are evil evermore
When a child is sent away to unfamiliar foreign shores
Surroundings that impound the chance to learn and to forgive
And the comment on our culture is we’ll kick you in the ribs
So send to us your immigrants to reinforce our ranks
We’ll pick all of the good ones, toss the bad with no thanks
Then as the ultimate prank the scum that we created
We’ll ship down to the Caribbean as some twisted favour
This disassociation that we never once debated
Makes our country to those nations little better than the slaver

Yard mon likkle bwoy come from ‘round de way
Tek time, gonna fly from his early day
Yard mon bigga bwoy teach dem how fi run
Aweh to cold habitat and further from de sun
Yard mon likkle man runnin’ from de blue
Tek time for de crime, captivate fi true!
Big mon cross de mon, mon go sen’ ‘im weh
Down to de Caribbean to mek de yardie pay

© A. Gregory Frankson, 2003. All rights reserved.

How does this featured poem make you feel?

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

Home is Here

Enlarge poem

Where are you from?

let me ask again – i said, where are you from?

because Black folks are definitely not Johnny Come Lately
our contributions are critical, central and stately
when Champlain claimed New France for the Gaul with the crown
who did he have with him to guide him around
but Mathieu da Costa who knew the lay of the land
and the languages spoken we know he could understand
but how would he know them unless he got here before
the man credited with breaking new ground in our lore?
the sheer gall with which power tries to silence, suppress
the pain and the triumphs of my people – i guess
time is now i say something and make myself clear –
my
home
is
here.

East York is the place where my life began
at Toronto East General Hospital by the capable hands
of a Polish-born doctor, who had a daughter the same age
he and my Jamaican mom watched as both children were raised
by people who came to Canada for hope and a chance
that their kids would develop the means to advance
and have impact to blaze a path curtained in snow
in a land where my Black ass at 20 below
shivers shaking in shelters to go fight for my due
now i plow ahead knowing what all of us knew –
our country was snatched from indigenous hands
and built with their blood on oppression’s commands
disenfranchised, ignored and whitewashed to submit
to the dominant power of the French and the Brits
all the way to today and the rest benefit
from the theft of a livelihood we won’t admit
supplied the foundations for an immigrant preserve
while original peoples live Third World on reserves

walk around downtown Halifax – there’s Black people there
endured centuries of viciousness, violence, despair
oppressed by their neighbours and the governments of the day
do you think that those memories can just fade away?
the Maroons, the Loyalists, and Africville’s stain
are notable solely due to overt glint of chains
revisionist bigots work to gloss over crimes
of humanity held hostage by their odious designs
i remind all those people who think Canada’s mosaic
is anything but farcical, mythic and prosaic
that if you scatter a mess and then claim that it’s beauty
to refuse to clean it up is dereliction of duty
when that’s followed by the urge to cover up mistakes
how can you baldly assert that we’re better than the States’?
i declare – you who question my right to this place
based simply on the colour of my skin and my race
have been brainwashed to believe that history is white
and Laurier, King and Trudeau held upright
are the model our kids must be taught in our schools
with the hope we adults are uncritical fools
who revere the old leader who gave Smuts the idea
to fleece Black South Africans like Jason and Medea
and build a golden oasis, an Afrikaans sanctuary
based on our racist Indian Act – they’ve duped the unwary
to believe King’s xenophobia and Trudeau’s false construction
of a society that justly birthed racial hatred’s destruction
it’s now so engrained that it’s treated as fact
that our country is the world’s promulgation of a pact
that assures immigrant groups that the vices abroad
could be stifled over here – that perspective’s a fraud

Black people here can tell you that racism’s alive
an encumbering restraint so it’s harder to thrive
so take heed and don’t step up and glibly succumb
to the urge to ask with arrogance “hey, where are you from?”
i’m born of this land and it’s here i remain
and the depths of my roots allow me to ascertain
without doubt that this country of water, rock, trees and ice
is exactly where i belong – my forebears paid the price
so i could stand here and state with no shame and no fear
my
home
is
here!

© A. Gregory Frankson, 2008. All rights reserved.

Comments

Your email address will not be published.