A Healing Place

A single Hawk Glides across the sky, a sign of Hope. Alone, i stand marveling at this beautiful place. A place of healing wounds that cannot be seen. War a distant memory. The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. Here he provides me all that I need. A quiet place. He allows me to lie down in Green Pastures, a water bearer to lead me to rest beside These Quiet Waters. A pleasant place to restore my soul. Yes, I’m considered blessed no longer stressed, even though I didn’t travel through muddy waters a search of a mother’s love. Condemned, because of my father’s past transgression. Through it all I fear no evil; for you are with me. When I bowed down on one knee, trembling in defeat, it was you who Lifted me and led me to this Pleasant place of grace and mercy. Surely healing and loving kindness shall follow me all the days of my life.

Inspired by Psalms 23

By Darryl Tyrone Burnside.

Visions From Within

There are times when visions of the sleeping demons which reside within are brought forth from chambers of Darkness within my mind. Even now, they stir and are restless as I hear the echo of the Lock and Load mechanism of 9 mm, Mini-14 and pump shotguns… As I wait for the sharp crack of the shouts everything seems to go black. Had only a second or two gone by–or was it longer than that? I had no idea but as I focused and brought myself back from the abyss, I realized that it was not me that was hit, but one of the vatos in front of me. It was not my own brains, blood, and shards of bone that was spattered everywhere… It was his–the vato that was laid out in front of me. With the screws yelling commands, whistleblowing, alarm sounding, and the familiar sound of keys rattling in rhythm with running footsteps… All I could do was step over the vato’s body. My boot coming down into a pool of blood that had already formed under the collapsed corpse. What’s gacho about the experience was I couldn’t even kneel down to help the vato for if I or anyone else would have done so the movements would have been construed or interpreted as aggressive and would have been placed in the same peril. An unknown and inexplicable hatred and rage surged through me for the animal that had just blown this vato’s brains out all over me. I was forced to step over him, walk away, and do so without showing any emotion whatsoever. For many years I was somewhat psychologically affected due to the blood I can never wash, sandpaper, or polish off my boots. Though at times I buffed out such a shiny gloss that the boots resembled mirrors. The stains seemed never to completely disappear. Perhaps the stains were only so deeply engraved into my subconscious that no matter what I did I could never remove them. As I relive the scenes and sequences of those events I can physically feel the anxiety, tension, and fear, as well as hear screams and sounds of chaos and disorder. The visions and images within are all alive and well. The memories of endless carnage and bloodshed are impossible to escape from or forget. They are as vivid as if I had only lived them moments ago. As I know not how to control these Demons of darkness which refuse to release the visions of chaos, madness, anxiety, death, angry hatred, despair, and fear, I can only hope to contain them. To witness grave injuries or the deaths of warriors who have stood beside me in peace-time and in battle is a heavy burden to bear, especially when one cannot reach out and help those Brave Fallen comrades. At times it’s almost unbearable to sit and hear the screams from within as their echoes reverberate through the chambers of my spirit. As pintos it’s not each to live with these conflicts, memories, and visions but what other choices do we have? As Warriors we are men of many wars, visions, and injustices. Our environments often dictate our actions, and although alive and seemingly healthy on the outside, within is a constant battle submerged in turmoil and conflict, the spirits of darkness which control those images, visions, and memories will never completely relinquish their hold on us. Though it is difficult to relive these memories they will forever be a part of us. So difficult to understand, as terrorizing as many of these visions are, they will always contribute to our inner strength and struggles and in them we will continue forward…and make it.

by Robert J. Garcia
PSP SHU
Copyright 2000

The Mystical Painting

They ran across the railroad tracks and returned to the hood through an entrance in the rear of the Projects behind the office. The excitement of the fight still swirled in their minds. There were 20 of them and they had all just finished getting down with Los Angeles Jesters. They had represented the Barrio and slipped away clean when the Judas arrived. As they gathered at the Four Corners in the heart of the Projects, they were slapping five, laughing, and reliving the events and excitement of the fight. Everything was de aquellas, all the homies felt proud for getting down and representing the Barrio. It was time to take up a collection and buy some pisto and do some real partying with the homegirls. A couple of vatos brought their liras and when the pisto arrived, the gathering moved to the office, the playground behind the Project’s where Gato, Pastel, and Chico’s mom lived. In no time the party was in full swing. Tony, Lil John, and Lil Tiger were playing the liras and singing. Rabbitears and one of the homegirls were kicking up some dust and dancing a corrido on the grass, and the homeboy Karate was trying to convince his ruca that he single-handedly downed five vatos at the fight. In the background, Torito, Boy, and Lil Willie were taking it all in remembering the tempos they spent together in the joint and how they used to envision thoughts of partying here in the Barrio just like this. It was the ultimate viaje being here partying with all the jente who were willing to put themselves on the line for you, and who right or wrong, would always back your play, “jenti de aquellas”.

At midnight, the party was still blasting, all the jente was still there. Yet, as the party continued, Charlie Wino began to withdraw himself from the others. He couldn’t put his finger on it, but there was a definite void in his soul. He decided to leave and take a stroll through the hood. As he walked away from the office he could still hear the laughing and partying in the background, and as it slowly faded he knew that the laughter would never again have the same meaning. As he walked toward Leroy Street, the mirror on the Big Wall came into sight. Zapata was almost lifelike standing there. A symbol of pride and dignity, a warrior of days gone by. Homeboy Rabbitears had put his soul into the painting of this mural and the result was a masterpiece, a beacon of strength watching over the Barrio. He felt drawn by the painting of the great revolutionary hero and as he approached the mural a voice startled him “Que pasa cholito, why aren’t you celebrating with the rest of the homies?” Homeboy Charlie Wino quickly looked around trying to determine where the voice came from, but saw no one. He turned slowly towards the painting and broke out in a cold sweat when he realized that it must be Zapata talking to him. The painting had came to life!!

“Don’t be afraid cholito, I’m only here because your soul has called for me,” Zapata spoke to him again.

“But you’re only a painting, how come you’re talking to me?” Charlie Wino replied.

“Do not ask who or try to understand how,” the old warrior tried to reassure him. “Just know that I’m talking because you are ready for what I have to say, even as you were fighting tonight, you were ready for what I have to say and why.”

“I wasn’t calling out to you,” Charlie Wino countered quickly, “I was just getting down for my hood!” But even as he denied it, he sensed the old warrior was looking directly into his soul, but he wasn’t ready to admit it. For a fragment of a second homeboy felt kind of foolish, conversing with a painting on the wall, but he continued– “You yourself fought in the revolution, you as a warrior should be able to understand why I am fighting!”

“Cholito, the old warrior almost laughed, “how can you compare our revolution to this gang warfare? Have you not read the history of your Mexican ancestors?” Zapata asked, but when homeboy didn’t reply, he continued, “We fought for the rights of the compesinos, the people. The farmers, the hombres who fought at my side were men of peace who until then had devoted their lives to work in the soil and raising their families. But when the little they had was threatened, they fought with great courage.” The old warrior paused, recalling with a proud heart the valiant men who gave their lives for the cause of freedom, who at times fought with nothing more than machetes against rifles and guns. Again, the old warrior spoke, “Cholito, you are a very brave and courageous young man, but these noble traits are being wasted because you are fighting for causes which have no meaning. Number one, how can you justify taking up arms against other Chicanos simply because they live in another Barrio, and another thing, how can you or the homies justify selling drugs to earn a living? Even if you yourself do not sell drugs, you are partially contributing to the destruction of your brothers and sisters who are destroyed daily by the current drug epidemic. Their jefitos are just like yours, they also cry when their hijos are hurt, they pray for their hijos just like yours and they swell with pride and joy with the accomplishments of their children and they eat tortillas, frijoles, and chile just like your family does. Ideology, there’s no difference between your culture and theirs. Yet you are killing each other with drugs and gang banging– why!!?”

Charlie Wino did not answer the old Warrior. But as he stood before the painting, The youngster felt the Warrior’s wisdom penetrating the core of his soul and he began to melt the doubts confusion from his heart and mind.

“Your life is so precious ese, the old Warrior sensed that the little homie was beginning to understand…, “yet you are willing to lose it for the sake of some excitement and a reputation, and to continue to live your present lifestyle, you will surely become your own enemy.”

With that final note from the old Warrior, the homie heard a familiar voice behind him. It was Rabbitears strolling and speaking to his hijo Snoopy. Charlie Wino turned and was greeted by the homie Rabbitears, the artist of the mural. “Orale homie, que paso ese, how come you’re all alone?”

As Charlie Wino turned to check out the painting of the old Warrior, he softly stated, “I’m not alone– I have been with him!!!”

Homeboy Rabbitears knew exactly what he meant, because he too had once spoken to the old Warrior and had his soul touched by the great wisdom of the old Warrior. The homie Charlie Wino turned and put his arms around Rabbitears’ and Snoopy’s shoulders and they all strolled toward the Four Corners–the heart of the Barrio.

You know Rabbitears, tomorrow I’m going to the library so I can begin to read and learn of the struggles of our raza and ancestors, because tonight I have learned in order to prepare my future I must also understand my past, que no?” And, with that statement he bid good night to the homies…”Ay te wacho minana Rabbitears and Snoopy!”

Well, it seemed the homie was on his way. He was finally going to make a stand against Barrio Warfare and drugs in the neighborhood. But as he walked alone that night, he was gunned down. What a loss!!! He was and could have been the tool to free his homies from the anguish and violence of the Barrio Warfare and drugs.

The time has come for you to believe in yourselves and to know that you can make a difference. Remember that gang banging and drugs will in the long run bring nothing but sorrow, misery and pain, and only take what is important to you away from you!

The time has come for you to believe in yourself and in your ability to seek the education necessary to open the eyes of your brothers and sisters in the Barrio and to hold one another up in a positive way.

The story “Mystical Painting” is a dedication not only to my Mexican race but also to all the brothers and sisters inside and out who have the inspiration to bring their people up. The task can only be done through education. So, take it upon yourself to educate yourselves so that you may be included in the driving force of educating those who will follow in your footsteps.

by: Robert Joseph Garcia

1992 PBSP-SHU

COPYRIGHT 1992 Robert Joseph Garcia

Institutional Diaspora of Black Americans will be Represented at 29th Celebration of African American Poets and Their Poetry.

On Saturday, February 2nd, 2019, in Oakland, California, at the Oakland Public Library, West Oakland Branch, Multi-Purpose Room, from 1 p.m. through 4 p.m., will be the 29th Celebration of African American Poets and Their Poetry. This year’s theme is aligned with the 2019 theme of Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s Association for the Study of African American Life and History (EST 1915). ASALH’s 2019 theme of Black Migration emphasizes the movement of people of African descent to new destinations and subsequently to new social realities. While inclusive of earlier centuries. This theme focuses especially on the twentieth century through today. “When speaking of the Black experience, I’ve coined the phrase ‘Institutional Diaspora’ as the mass migration of Blacks from their American homes to America’s prisons,” says Donald “C-Note” Hooker. Inspired by the theme of the event, C-Note created an original work for the event entitled, American Negro: A Migrant’s Story. It poetically chronos the mass migration of American Blacks from their West African homelands to America’s prisons.

Catch the recital of American Negro: A Migrant’s Story at the 29th Celebration of African American Poets and Their Poetry or read it online at Mprisond Poetz.

Event: 29th Celebration of African American Poets and Their Poetry
Date: Saturday, February 2, 2019
Time: 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Oakland Public Library, West Oakland Branch, Multi-Purpose Room
1801 Adeline Street, Oakland, CA 94607 (510) 238-7352
Contact: Oakland Public Library, West Oakland Branch, (510) 238-7352 or event organizer, Ms.Wanda Sabir (510) 255-5579 or info@wandaspicks.com

Mprisond Poetz
American Negro: A Migrant’s Story
https://mprisondpoetz.wordpress.com/2019/01/13/american-negro-a-migrants-story/

American Negro: A Migrant’s Story

Listen to the drum beat
drum beat
From my West African Motherland
to an island in the Caribbeanne
Listen to the drum beat
drum beat
Listen to my heart weep
heart weep
To a plantation in a Southern State
to Emancipation from which I could not escape
Listen to the drum beat
drum beat
Listen to my heart weep
heart weep
Back to enslavement
because the 13th Amendment says they can
because of convict leasing
just ask any historianne
Listen to the drum beat
drum beat
Listen to my heart weep
heart weep
Went home to the Maker
from being hung from a tree
cause the Ku Klux Klan
thought that’s how it ought to be
Listen to the drum beat
drum beat
Listen to my heart weep
heart weep
Jim Crow
a great friend of the Klan
so I left the South
to become a Chicagoanne
Listen to the drum beat
drum beat
Listen to my heart weep
heart weep
Congress cut off funding
for Wars in foreign lands
created a drug called Crack
from the Columbian Hinterlands
Started a Drug War
aimed at the Black community
and locked us all up
with impunity
Listen to the drum beat
drum beat
Listen to my heart weep
heart weep
Now I’m a part of this new diaspora
from Miami, L.A., Brooklyn to Peoria
21st Century Jim Crow.
Now a penitentiary cell is my new home
Back to bread and water being a full-course meal
just like an 1841 so what’s the big deal
THIS IS THE AMERICAN NEGROS’ MIGRANT STORY
went from a plantation Hell
to a Warden’s prison cell
Now we’re just lonely and alone
and the songs we once heard
we don’t hear no moe
“Brotha over there
in the next cell,
‘Are you still listening for the drum beat
the drum beat?’
I don’t”
Oh Lord, just put my heart to sleep
heart to sleep
American Negro: A Migrant’s Story

by Donald “C-Note” Hooker

Artwork by C-Note

My Concrete Hell

I sit here and I look around
I can’t believe this is where I’m found
This is my world, in this cold, dark, cell
My concrete Hell

A tray of food through a hole in the door
There’s no chairs to sit on
So I eat on the floor
Nice cold showers three times a week
From a knob on the wall it comes out weak
This is my day
In this cold dark cell
This is my concrete Hell

The clothing I wear a stained, and used
From my bra, to my underwear, socks and shoes
No one to talk to,
No one to care
So I sit on my bunk, and that the walls I stare
All alone in this cold, dark cell
This is my life
This is my concrete Hell

My 3″ mat on a concrete bed
A stainless steel toilet
Is my right next to my head
I sit on my bunk, and look around

This is the place where I am found
All alone in this cold, dark cell
This is my punishment
My concrete Hell.

by Katrina Blasing

The Girl of Yesterday

I’m trying to find my way
Back to the girl of yesterday
Back to the girl I used to be
Back to when I was free
Free from the darkness of today
Free from the sadness inside me
How I get there I’m not quite sure
I only know I have to try
I Won’t Give Up, lie down, or die
I’m out there somewhere, I know I am
So I’ll keep on looking and I’ll find my way
Back to the girl of yesterday

by Sandy Blazinski