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Poetry in English

Poems by Gary Hicks

ground zero tolerance… a poem

they’re like a chorus
the guard explained in spanish
sounds of warehoused kids

my mind drifts to cries
of my childhood ancestors
ripped away
at auction blocks ripped
away from screaming
mothers in turn ripped
away from the men
headed towards mississippi
louisiana alabama
where over time our screams
would be transformed
into music which we
merely appreciate while
others pay big monies to
pretend they’re us
and the choruses of
screaming children repeat
themselves for the entertainment
of red cross investigators
at terezin and the noisy
gyms and cafeterias of our
public schools, holding pens
until we’re old enough
to do the real thing behind
the bars of our time serving
those of four walls razor wire
those where we drink crazily
to the no tomorrow to
which we’ll sing

(berkeley ca 6-20-2018)

proletarian pugilism

(a participatory observation, or #mea culpa 2)

no holds barred
prize fighting
gladiatorial performances
in coliseums
built by those
who also supply
the lions.

but the bleachers
are sparely
filled only with
those come to
watch a fight
amongst comrades
who have
nothing better
to do than
play at revolution
for want of
even a
time where
the name calling
means something
and squandering
intellectual gifts
gets paid for
in blood where
paying and owning
broken pottery
will no longer


(berkeley ca june 9, 2018)


(for nc)

thanks for your verse that
brought down my high blood pressure
facing genocide

meanwhile here at home
the chief co-conspirator
receives stolen goods

there is no temple
imperial embassy
new roman fortress

o jerusalem!
where is sala hadin to
return you to god?

(berkeley ca 5-15-2018)

—Gary Hicks

Poems by Denizé Lauture

Sunray of Knowledge

The only sunray
In the classroom
The center
Of the main blackboard
To project
Its universal light.

The Cactus and the Blood Flower

Once in the dead of the darkest night
Deep into the fleeting bed
Between two quicksand dunes
Of a barren civilization
A wandering CACTUS
Met a glowing BLOOD FLOWER
He knelt
Placed her shadeless body
Between three dreadful goads
Suddenly as smooth
As the loving fingers
Of the Greek gods.
His lips met deeply
Each open petal.
A wonderful rainbow lining
Shrouded them
From all evil eyes
And radiated their sweet dreams.
The morning after
A gentle fresh water lake
The most exotic carnation garden
Where there had been a barren land.

The Poem

The poem was on a table
A poem in black ink
On green paper
I was humming an old tune
A tune my old folks used to hum
The poem turned into a body
A wondrous body full of life
And the tune I was humming
Became a veil
A golden veil covering
The living poem
Two patriarchs arrived
Each one with a stethoscope
One auscultated my heart
The other the poem’s heart
The poem’s heart and my heart
Had the same rhythm

Le Sabbat des Sorcières

The gentle waves of the calm sea of holiness
Carry the soul into peaceful dreams.
Still she sold her soul
Became a witch
To celebrate a witches’ Sabbath.

Relentless stallions circled and circled
Crisscrossed the circles
Pranced ragingly upon the fallen cross.

Then from the eastern mist
Like a bloody blanket
Underneath a blonde giving birth
A cabalistic cloud mounted
Unveiling a red full moon
And a few stars
Very distant
Like terrified witnesses
Running away from a crime scene
And scared to be called to testify.
The four winds of the cosmos
Were blowing.
The forces of life
Were working.
From a temple of flesh they sprang
Their flesh was alive dancing
Dancing like blazes in the wind.
There was no question of fornication
But of the creative forces
The unruly veneration.

When the full moon reached its zenith
The same elemental wantonness was there
When dawn’s golden honey
Covered the hills’ crests
They were still twisting
Like thousands of love making snakes.

(Extracted from A Kiss To The Land, 2017)

Poems by Tontongi

Climbing up Lady Liberty on a Fourth of July

(Dedicated to Therese Patricia Okoumou, the woman who climbed the Statue of Liberty in New York on the 4th of July 2018 to protest the treatment of migrants and immigrants by the Trump administration)

She has gotten her nerve, Therese,
from the millions who invaded the streets
on this past sunny Saturday of June.
Her wings have found solace
in the blowing wind of this Fourth of July
when she climbed up unabashed
the Statue of Liberty of all things
to scream out her horror
in the face of children put into cages
while their parents are thrown in jails.

She has gotten her nerve, Therese,
from the memory of all who died
in the name of justice
and for higher aim for this land.
She wants on this Independence Day
for Lady Liberty to be her witness
in exposing governmental atrocities.

She has gotten her nerve, Therese,
from those millions of consciences
on the last sunny Saturday of June
who called out the hypocrisy
of those who feign to embody
the most holy professed ideals.

She has gotten her nerve, Therese,
on this Fourth of July in the neo-Nero era
from those who take to the streets
across the whole of the USA to say:
This land is all of ours!
No hate! No fear!
Immigrants are welcome here!

(Cambridge, July 4th, 2018)


Marie Lagone suddenly
comes to me in Harvard Square
this afternoon of a hot summer;
she came to me all black
corsage black and skirt black
and a black hat that makes her
look like Papa Gede on November 1st.
She mumbles a few words
that seem outside apprehension.

Marie Lagone was beautiful
before she was gone to the darkness;
I ask her “Why are you in all black?”,
she says “I’m enjoying the transformation
to a different state of being,”
Marie Lagone was never gone
she just changed her universe.

Marie Lagone is our Goddess
put under the spell of madness,
on her Gede appearance in the Square
she exhibits the sexiness of time passed
when with Rodney on her side
she conquered Cambridge
and all her beauty,
the conscience of her community
she was, steadfast in her fight
for the right of us all to be.


Poems by Selwyn McLean

There is Peace in Jazz

(Redeeming the Soul)

There is no peace here
Only lies and contradictions
Vanity offered as morality
Falsehood wrapped like gifts
Ticking time bombs ready to burst
Casualties of a system cursed.

There are no dreams fulfilled here
Only nocturnal gazes and empty steer
Improvised lives waiting their turn
Learned hands grasping to earn
Livelihood on hold
Anger barely under control.

Ayler wails, tears roll, Spirits soar
Trane and Dolphy, they knew the score
Redemption comes in the rhythm
Freedom flows from beyond
No more tears; it is time
Peace will come.

(August 2002)

I Will Not Remain Silent

(For Trayvon Martin)

I will not remain silent
It is no longer necessary
Not for fear of offending
Not for fear of being denied or deprived.

I will not remain silent
while the founding supremacists
revoice their accumulated doctrines of race
in hope of recreating myths
that they were created superior, and I, inferior.

I will not remain silent
when delusion and idiocy pervade,
anointing America to be post-racial
because the commander-in-chief is race-less.

I will not remain silent
while my abundant melanin is questioned,
while pathological vigilantes profile my pigment
sowing seeds of strange fruit,
reproducing old codes of Dixie death,
self-defense a confident lament.

I will not remain silent
to become complicit in my own re-oppression
No excuses can be offered
in this world of inescapable enlightenment,
where freedom is proclaimed to exist freely.

I will not remain silent
and endanger the fragile survival
won and preserved by my ancestors
over centuries of resistance
against the supreme savagery
of such a vulgar civilization.

I will not remain silent
when rancor pervades vacuous press
paid for by monied demagogues
devoid of elemental justice or humanity,
murdered victims so easily criminalized
by manufactured lies.

Will the American Inquisition never end?
For Trayvon, I will not remain silent.

(April 2012)

—Selwyn McLean

Poem by Sahaj Sabharwal, Chowk Chabutra and Jammu

Nothing Much For Minors

Minors are those less than eighteen,
As they don’t have knowledge in keen.

They don’t have a driving licence,
As don’t have driving sense.

Minors are given just pen and page,
Their life is not more than a cage.

Holiday is not given even on Sundays,
As their age is negligible for fundays.

Parents are worried not to get blame,
From minors they just want their fame.

Circumstances are same for every minor,
Parents are just their life designer.

—Sahaj Sabharwal Chowk Chabutra Jammu (11th Class) ©sahajsabharwal, Delhi Public School

Tontongi reading his poem “Haiti is not what you say, Mr. Tèt-mato” in Somerville, Massachusetts.

Tontongi reading his poem “Haiti is not what you say, Mr. Tèt-mato” in Somerville, Massachusetts.

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