This Time | Poem

This Time

Again we have reached the end
of pages we pick up every so often and
vow to bind tight, bind with the title
this time
running down the spine
because this time, surely things will change.
But we assign the book to history, too soon,
planting the seed for it to repeat itself;
We read the story over and over, the same story again
and expect a different end.
Tear away the binding because we’re still holding the pen
and now the title is not then
but this time.
Always, again.
Never-ending promises to tomorrow,
although they say the best time to plant a tree was ten years ago
and second best is now
this time
the only one that exists.
So we are not measured on past mistakes
or promises of what could be
but this time, until you have a tree
and the story can be moved rightfully
from current affairs to history.
A forest does not stop at the roots but by
blooming endlessly,
giving us our breath.
So though we have no choice about death,
we can choose how we live, everyday
always and
this time, again.

Black poets / writers that have inspired me

I wrote the above poem to be spoken (I have been debating doing a recording but can’t promise it yet). Because less often I have felt like writing over the last couple of weeks, and more often like screaming. Spoken poetry is different to written poetry, often delivered with high emotions. Written form is arguably a more personal and private experience. Spoken form actively encourages a reaction from audiences, whether it’s laughter or tears or anger. I first became interested in spoken poetry because of a programme called ‘Def Jam Poetry’. Since finding those clips on YouTube years ago I have been enamoured with the voices of poets and the messages they bring. Though this is the first time I am attempting spoken poetry, there is no doubt these poets have had a great influence on my writing and how I think. Their words really stick in my head long after I’ve heard them. I want to share a few because I think their relevancy today, despite being first broadcast almost twenty years ago, highlights just how serious of an issue we face. And because I can’t resist I’ve thrown a couple of writers and musicians in too. But if you search for spoken poetry on YouTube you will be exposed to SO much talent. It would be impossible to list every single one:

Maya Angelou – We wear the mask (putting this first because if you only listen to one from this list, make it this one)

Ursula Rucker – What a woman must do

Common – A Letter to the Law

Rudy Francisco – If I was a love poet (this one isn’t about revolution but it’s the one that made me fall in love with Rudy)

Bonnie – My Man (again, not necessarily about revolution but I really respect her point of view)

Frenchie – Fucking ain’t conscious

Erykah Badu – the Baduizm album is excellent. One of the best albums as a whole that I know of.

Lauryn Hill (everything, honestly, so extremely narrowed down…) – Song: I get out. In conversation: Dropping truth to the youth. Poem: Motives and thoughts

Stephanie Yeboah – here’s her Instagram because you’ll see. And you can get to all her articles from there so I don’t have to only choose one!

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – The Thing Around Your Neck which I read for the first time this year on a friend’s recommendation and it will forever be a book I think everyone should read. In fact I can’t believe I didn’t write a review for this one. I will make that happen.

Public Enemy – because if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.

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