Black History Month
Indy Pulse Winners
In honor of black history month, both Indy Pulse and Boston Pulse hosted a poetry competition. Community poets from each region served as judges for this project. The premise behind this idea was to not only honor black history, but to also have students reflect and see themselves as part of such a rich and continuous movement. Some common themes and guidelines that students were charged with were:
A) #BlackLivesMatter is more than just a hashtag (inspired by the "14th Annual Alumni of Color Youth Conference" hosted by the Harvard Graduate School of Education).
B) Intersectionality (the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage).
C) "I have a dream that one day…" (research I have a dream speech by MLK, include aspects of his speech in your poem and if you think we are reaching his dream OR if your dream aligns with his dream)
D) Definition poems: Take one of these words below and research them with concrete events. After you have strong ideas on one of these words, create a poem with the first word of each line starting with the word you chose.
Social Activism is ...
Freedom is ...
Justice is …
Civic Leadership is…
Choose your own word
Directions: When you write this poem, keep in mind all of the things that we have learned so far this year:
___Figurative Language (imagery, similes, personification, hyperbole, metaphor...etc)
___Sound and Silence in a poem to build suspense
___use sensory details so our audience can see, feel, hear, smell, and taste your poem’s words
___Tone / Mood
___Point of View (of unpredictable characters)
___Voice / Style
Boston Pulse Winners
1st Place | Zaniya | Arsenal Tech High School
I’m like a man waiting for bail. Do you know how long I’ve been chained up to this inner prison cell? A century goes by and I’m wondering why? Why can’t I release myself to have freedom inside? The days become longer and I drag on weight of the thinking, like a plain white wall, blank. When freedom comes, I’ll know, it’ll taste like victory, like winning a fight against Tyson or Lee.
2nd Place | Xavier Boyd | Belzer Middle School
"Black Lives Matter"
Today, Black Lives Matter,
tomorrow, Black Lives Matter,
an undisputed rivalry in
black people against other Black people or White people
Gangs do not define a person it declines a person.
Black people killing each other for what? money
fame, reputation, or just pure revenge. I don’t give propaganda their drive they
find their own but next thing we all know is a crisis downtown in the cold peoples
houses gone memories lost, childhood extinct but in all of us there is gap we all
need to surpass, unlike things that died in the past, but there is no future anymore
yes there is young black people, we have to stick together we have lost to many and
won crowns, like Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, they didn’t deserve to die
just a few mean people that wanted to have others grieve and cry to much
black america is under siege
black people I love you do You love me
All Lives Matter at least you say they do
But when I raise my hands all you do is continue to shoot
I can’t breath yet this world is full of oxygen
As I walk down this street there goes another hashtag again
You steal our culture just like you did us
You forced upon us your religion, in God you trust
There are many shades but light is a must
Well my Black is beautiful in melanin we trust
Your gangs are men in suits
Or people in sheets ain’t nothing new
Say her name like how you sneak and say nigga
Every time they shoot
The grave gets bigger
All lives matter
But Black Lives Matter too
You ain't the ones getting killed
So this probably don't matter to you
3rd Place | Alysha Martin | Belzer Middle School
White, Black, Purple, or Blue,
We are equal; we are all the same.
The big girl who you made fun of, she is starving herself.
Thinking that if she was thin she would be beautiful.
The ‘stupid’ girl you made fun of yesterday,
she has a learning disability,
The man you made fun of because he had scars on his face,
he fought for our country, shooting bullets for our freedom,
The ‘gay’ boy who you made fun of today,
He killed himself, he thought it wouldn't stop
if he did that when in reality
It would stop, if he told someone,
That boy you made fun of because he wanted to wear a skirt,
He got yelled at last night for wearing one because it’s a ‘girl thing’
You see we speak but don't think,
1st Place | Terell Rice | Match Middle School
When all I want
is to be by myself
that’s when they bother me
the yells, hitting, screaming, and tag-team punches
of your ancestors…
France, Barbados, and Ireland
People asking what are you then?
Each ancestor fighting and yelling under my skin
for all of the little things:
Ireland and France don’t like my dark eyes,
dark skin, dark lines, dark everything
Yet Barbados loves them
And all of them copacetic with my short temper
inherited from my father, but they never
ask me -- my ancestors -- ASK ME!
Each ancestor threatening to take over
as soon as I lose control,
yet what do you do
when it slips your mind?
Nationalities teaming up against each other,
waging wars underneath this skin
that almost breaks the surface in.
When all I want is for them to sign peace treaties…
The only thing they can agree on is being
the leader that I was meant to be
using poetry to calm the intersectionality of identities
and at these times -- i’m at peace.
2nd Place | Jourbienthia Paul | Match Middle School
"Who am I"
Who am I to judge what I see in the mirror
How the figures I have
aren’t where they're supposed to be
How I look like my dad and not my mom
How my anger would erupt like a volcano
on a great peaceful day
but always be calm when war came forth
Who am I to walk like the creature I am
tall and weak but packing a powerful punch
Minty sweet but sour with a crunch
I would ask myself those questions
as I walked to a big gate
of who I am.
I would look at the mirror that came forth from me
and recognize that I am a simple creature who is a nation
with a tad of French and maybe Canadian too
but who knows because my blood is a rainbow of colors
but to those who are colorblind
all there is to see is one color
I would wonder around my thought and figure where my creativity came from
because my mom and dad are on the boring side
I would wonder
why am I so clumsy
a dork, a nerd, a scientist, a writer
I would look at this mirror and wonder
why has the apple fallen so far from the tree?
3rd Place | Nicholas Hinds | Match Middle School
"Black Lives Matter"
The white cops shoot at us
and our chests shatters, apparently #blacklivesmatter?
We put our trust in their hands
we hope to collide, but not disband
the number of black death in a day expands
we don’t shout we chant
but you don’t give us a chance...
You told us that every man is equal
I’m going to be the Martin Luther King Sequel.
In our hearts we have a deep hole
mess with us
we’ll chase you like a dog that sees a big bone.
Jan Thomas | Indy Pulse Judge
Dana Ruff (D. Ruff) | Boston Pulse Judge
Jan Thomas is a talented poet and scene supporter of various open mic venues around Indy. Thomas currently serves as the Arts Ambassador & Community Liaison for AmeriCorps Public Allies primarily focused on creating and implementing youth art workshops. Thomas is passionate about spoken word, youth, and the arts of every form and fashion.
D.Ruff is the co-host of the "if you can Feel It, you can Speak It" Open Mic, held every 2nd Thursday of the month at the Bella Luna/Milky Way in Jamaica Plain. He has been writing for over 15 years, performing for over 10 years and is a member of Writers' Block (with Matt Ganem, Gia Flores and Kimo Hill). Over the past decade, he has featured at venues such as The Middle East, Slades Bar & Grille, The Haley House, Darryl's Corner, The Strand Theater and The Apollo Theater. Additionally he has performed at Bay State College, Boston University, Emerson College and Wheelock College. His book, "Staying on 94: Tales from a Misguided Soul", is a collection of his performance and written poetry. D.Ruff performs with a unspeakable passion in hopes that society will recognize the flaws in institutionalism, find bravery to collectively speak and start to demand real change for future generations. D. Ruff is also a Match Middle School Alumnus and is passionate about giving back to the very community that inspired him to write.