Category Archives: Black Culture

Blasphemy

Stagnant
at the crossroads
Trying to figure my path Cautious
as I get to walkin
Lord tell me
Why
You’ve forsaken me

Since the beginning it’s been rough
feeling fucked
with no luck
Can somebody tell me why
I can’t sleep with no lights?
Had to lay in bed
spooked
Praying to God
till I see the light

You took my brother from me!
No longer do I have a treasured friend
to confide
in, late nights

This day I’m filled with rage
inflamed
with secret hate
Would you believe?
I was out cast of 13
going through something

Desperado!
Beliefs built on tragedies
and from being ridiculed at school
Cause I couldn’t read a sentence
Excuse me
but please Bitch
Give me distance

If I told you I’m a product of the 80s
incubator
crack baby
So my comprehension ain’t like the rest
So I acted out in school
Started breaking the rules
Now these White folks want me doped up
Hard bitten
from all these ruinous blows
Lord please
don’t let me go

Is it my FATE
to face elimination
at a fast rate
despicable me
I turned into something
I thought I’d never be
I’m on my knees
Like please
Lord Save me!
And even when I turn from you
You never left me alone
cause You cared for me
And when my family left me alone
You was there for me
Thinking about what big mama used to say:
“You was choosen to stand with Christ in the end
so take hold yah shield,
Grip your sword real tight
And stand up!”

Big mama say pray
for yours
and help those
who are too weak to help themselves

But I’m still runnin
through the city
really livin
ruthless
Cause them suckas try to kill me
Now the feeling’s mutual
21-gun salute
I’m quick to shoot
Just like in them Western movies
Used the bottle to drown my sorrows
thinkin I’ll stay shermed-up
to keep from getting wet-up
See I’m just try’n to protect my soul
they said the Lord knows your heart
cause I’m out here on my own

Gotta sleep with the chrome
cause I ain’t got no damn home
Had to do a lot of shit
that I didn’t want to
but I really had to
Survival the fittest
my inauguration to this gang living
Really started robbing
and stealing cause I hate that hungry feeling
Really trying to avoid the killing

Only robbing drug dealers
trying to stay morally correct
Although I disregard Christ
trying to stay morally correct
Although I disregard Christ
I felt his shield right above me
When them dudes hovered above meFeeling his unbounded love
had an effect on my mental state
No more blasphemy

by Darryl Burnside

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No More Massacres

“First, this is not a method for cowards. It does resist. The nonviolent resistance is just as strongly opposed to the evil against which we protest as in the person who uses violence. This method is passive or non aggressive in the sense that we are not physically aggressive towards our opponent. But our mind and emotions are always active, constantly seeking to persuade the opponent that he is mistaken.
This method is passive physically but strongly active spiritually. It is not aggressive physically but dynamically aggressive spiritually.”

A Message from Martin Luther King Jr.

No longer do I spread a message of violence
not even in silence
My Old Testament
was shoot anyone for whatever reason
My community was infested with gun violence
and I didn’t take a liking
just the sound alone created fear in my heart
Still I didn’t submit
Unfortunately I found myself at 13
in a hospital
a victim of gun violence
bleeding
shaking my head
Like dang
What’s the reason?
Started holstering a gun for All Seasons
morals became corrupted
trapped
in reaction without Law & Order
secretly, tactically, preparing for war
Cuz there’s brutality all over the world
See in my ghettos we groom-to-be Killers
Black-on-black killings
Hearts full of Madness
cuz we misguided from youth
But ever since Gabrielle Gifford got shot
and that little girl Christian Taylor died
that was with her
I died a little inside
truly it was then
where I realized
that my heart was divided from truth
I became teary-eyed
My new testament begins…
Now I’m picking up the shattered pieces
digging through the rubbish of my rearview
Face-to-face with my own demons
Please forgive me for my mishaps
Reality check
No more 21-gun salute
Hands up don’t shoot
I’m motivated to be a positive man
now can you tell me the same about you
Please don’t send the troops
Can I get a moment of silence
For all the victims of gun violence
Pay attention to all the pro-gun ads Across the Nation
cover with kind Pleasures
design to take over your mind
but I stand with councilwoman Janice Hahn
Keeping Columbine, Sandy Hook
Las Vegas shooting victims
Them 17 kids and Parkland
10 in Santa Fe Texas
Them church shootings in Charleston and Texas
Let’s stand up for our little cubs
it touch my heart
When Emma Gonzalez and Edna Chavez led the march
to Washington
to approach Congress
Ignited the walkouts of classrooms in all 50 states
In a fight to ban assault weapons
Look how we took it to another level
Reuniting as one
cause the willing stop chilling
and became willing
So please get up
and don’t give politicians
Please stand up for us
as America’s Got Talent contestant Flau’Jae said it best
“Let’s put down the guns”
Dedicated to the victims of gun violence

by Darryl Burnside

Artwork by: Donald “C-Note” Hooker

CAN’T BLACK LIVES MATTER TOO???

Tic
Toc
goes the clock
On the mystery
of the history
Of
who am I
And
who are you
And
who are we

Maybe
to better understand me
I should try and understand you
So when I heard of the demise
of the Indian tribes
from the White perspective
was that they had put too much trust
in the treatise they signed

Now you
can better understand
why Sandra Bland
told that policeman
I HAVE RIGHTS!!!
and ended with
losing her life

But that has nothing to do
with the perversion
of the aversion
towards the Chinese
whereupon our first immigration law
was to get rid of them all

or the Japanese version
who will tell you
that internment is a diversion
it was imprisonment

You see history
is His story
but what about
Her story
now that you’ve heard
some of Their story
all we ask
is just a simple task
Can’t Black Lives Matter
Too???

You see no one knows
what the Poles went through
in World War II
where six million died
half of them Jew

or in 1891
the single day
worst
mass lynching
in America
took place
in Louisiana
against the Italians
cause being a Catholic back then
was like being a Muslim today

or that
in 1848 through 1860
in a twelve year span
out here in California
they lynched
163-Mexicans

You see history
is His story
but what about
Her story
now that you’ve heard
some of Their story
all we ask
is just a simple task
Can’t Black Lives Matter
Too???

No one knows what a Black woman goes through
cause it was a Black woman who started
hashtag Me Too

and White privilege
means many different things
to many different body
but to the Black family
it means access to their body

How many times did the slave masters rape Black women
so many times I ain’t got a clue
so you’re not a clown
when you look around
and see a lighter shade of Brown
just ask the African, the Aztecan, and the Mayan
how that happened
These women had no choice!
there was no Twitter to give them voice!

Some say Thomas Jefferson was a great man
but how many times did he have to rape that woman to produce six children
and when we called him father
he denied us
and all of America told us
Yousa lie!
But in 1998 DNA gave us proof
that for over 200-years Black folks had been telling the truth
then I heard somebody scream who did not look like me
HOW COULD THE PERSON WHO WROTE THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE HAVE ENSLAVED HIS OWN CHILDREN!

You see history
is His story
but what about
Her story
now that you’ve heard
some of Their story
all we ask
is just a simple task
Can’t Black Lives Matter
Too???

I want to set the Record Straight!
hashtag Black Lives Matter ain’t got nothing to do with no cops
It got something to do with a civilian
and his name was George Zimmerman
and he shot and killed an unarmed Black teenage boy
by the name of Travon Martin
and there was NO JUSTICE FOR US!
and just like all the other civilians before him
with Dey Lynch Mobs
and Dey Gang Rapes
so much was going on Rosa Parks had to investigate
and this was some twenty years before she refused to go to the back of the bus
80-years removed from slavery so much horrors had been thrusted upon us

In 1944
in Alabama
Recy Taylor
was twenty-four
she was walking home from church
when she was abducted by six Caucasian boys
She said, “Please don’t hurt me, I have to go home to my children.”
Five hours later
Her father found her on the side of the road
beaten and raped
Now I comes from a woman!
We all do
And when I heard this story
I cried
but when I heard her sister tell it
I died inside

Dem boys wasn’t content with just raping my sistah
Dem boys played inside my sistah
My sistah never had any children after that
Dem boys went all up inside my sistah’s body
My sistah never even gotten pregnant after that
Dem boys played inside my sistah’s body!

You see history
is His story
but what about
Her story
now that you’ve heard
Our story
We have a daunting task
Such an overwhelmingly daunting task
For YOU TO ASK
CAN’T BLACK LIVES MATTER
TOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

by Donald “C-Note” Hooker

Here is the audio version:
CAN’T BLACK LIVES MATTER TOO???

Editor’s Note: To For more epic poems by this poet, check out: THE CRIMINALIZATION OF OUR AMERICAN CIVILIZATION (This Is Not A Manifesto)
STRADIVARIUS: Play Her Like
It Must End! (BLACK FEMALE BOYCOTTS AGAINST BLACK MEN IN THE PEN)

Here are audio links:
The Criminalization of our American Civilization (This Is Not A Manifesto)
STRADIVARIUS: Play Her Like
It Must End!: BLACK FEMALE BOYCOTTS AGAINST BLACK MEN IN THE PEN

White Noise

High ceiling
windowless room
soundless
except the white noise
of bright lighting
humanless
except me
furnitureless
except door’s knob
queasy
of uneasy
a hot mess
but nevertheless
I wait
in this Twilight Zone
of a disaster
seconds
turn into minutes
minutes
turn into hours
still feet
a quickend pace
a slow jog
complexity of thought
rise and fall
like a statistical graph
wondering
searching
Did I see?
Crashing the disturbance
of the undisturbable
Deputy good cop
and officer bad cop
hurled accusations
of machinations
I could not have done
I remained silent
silence brokered for a cigarette
to which I refuse
until
the swiftness
of wiffness
of roasted caffeine
filled the room

by
Donald “C-Note” Hooker

[Editor’s Note]: The Sorcerer’s Brew, was a work created by the artist for the “Everything Coffee,” prisoner art exhibit in New York.

INCARCERATION NATION

My country
is still not free
This sordid land
of hypocrisy
Of thee I sing
Land where my fathers died
Land where the slaves did cry
on every mountainside
Prisons reign supreme

About Paintoem
Poem by: C-Note
Painting by: C-Note

Incarceration Nation is an original work of ink, graphite, and wax on paper. Done by Donald “C-Note” Hooker in 2017. The painting was inspired by the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March in August of 2017, and is the sequel to his first political work Black August-Los Angeles. The red dots represent the location of the state sanctioned deaths of: Travon Martin in Florida; Michael Brown in Missouri; Sandra Bland in Texas; Philando Castile in Minnesota; Freddie Gray in Maryland; Ezell Ford, Wakiesha Wilson, Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) & Oscars Grant in California; and Charleen Lyles in Washington State. The poem written later in the year was inspired by the NFL players “Knee Protest.”
” I was looking at other iconic American verbal expressions of patriotism,” says C-Note. “And ‘My Country, Tis of Thee,’ also known as ‘America,’ is probably third on that list. The creative juices to create the poem had nothing to do with the painting; however, together they make an excellent one-two punch, as a political work of art.”
The painting Incarceration Nation was given to the California Prison Focus as a donation. However, you can still buy prints of this piece, and other related products, at Fine Art America

[Editor’s Note ]: This Paintoem, like all Paintoems, are given to the public, to have free use rights, so long as acknowledgement is given to the artist(s).

Links to other Paintoems:
Mprisond
My Dilemma
Tears of the Mothers
Black August-Los Angeles
More Paintoems

California Prison Focus is a 501(c)3 non-profit whose work as a prisoner’s news source needs generous public support. Click here to their website’s donation page

California Prison Focus • 1904 Franklin St • #507 Oakland, CA 94612 • contact(at)prisons(dot)org • (510) 836-7222

MR. WARDEN


They call me Mr.Warden
and in my mansion
there are many rooms
Rooms of despair
where nobody cares
If you live or die
Where nobody cares
if you scream or cry
So addicts beware
the high you receive today
Will be the low
I’ll give tomorrow

About the Paintoem
Poem by: Donald “C-Note” Hooker
Painting by: Donald “C-Note” Hooker

“I tell people all the time how important your sketch pieces can be,” says C-Note. “The painting is an unfinished work. The poem, I was thinking about addicts, addiction, and A.A., and how if drug use don’t kill’ya; you’ll likely end up in here.”

[Editor’s Note ]: This Paintoem, like all Paintoems, are given to the public, to have free use rights, so long as acknowledgement is given to the artist(s).

Links to other Paintoems:
Mprisond
My Dilemma
Tears of the Mothers
Black August-Los Angeles
More Paintoems

FATHERS AND SONS (A Play Written by Prisoners)

Edited by:
Donald “C-Note” Hooker and Mohammed White Ali

A once in a generation work of art that gives voice to the boy in every man, and to the man who needs to be heard by every boy.

ABOUT

Fathers and Sons, was a play held March 15-17, 2017, at the California State Prison-Los Angeles County (CSP-LAC), and performed by the prisoners housed on the B Facility yard. It was directed by Leah Joki who was assisted by five professional actors under the supervision of Meri Parkarinen of The Strindberg Laboratory. It consisted of 20-acts. These were established works from playwrights such as Shakespeare and August Wilson. It also included original works from the CSP-LAC B Facility prisoners.
Fathers and Sons (A Play Written by Prisoners), is a multiracial work consisting of the edited and unedited versions of the written plays by the prisoners performed in March of 2017. This work also includes new material from CSP-LAC B Facility prisoners that were not a part of the original March playbill.

PLAYBILL

Another Wounded Soul
by Tuan Doan
Tears of Shame
by Tuan Doan
Running the Streets
by Mohammed E. White Ali
Father to Son
by Dontay Hayes
Accidental Legacy
by Derric Burbie
Foolish Man’s Land
by David Garcia
Chasing a Dream
by Travon Pugh
The Seed of Bonnie and Clyde (South Los Angeles Edition)
by Donald “C-Note” Hooker
Grandpa and Michael
by Jerry Cooley
My Father’s Gone
by Ira Benjamin

FROM THE EDITOR

I put together this compilation after conversing with most of the prisoner writers on the play Fathers and Sons, and hearing the frustrations of their stories being edited down. None of them have ever put on a prison play before and may not have understood brevity is good. But my concern was the editing of content. So much so, I felt it was a real travesty against our society.* I am quoted in a Paintoem as saying “We create monsters of ugliness but we’re scared to look at our own creations.” As a member of the Restorative Justice Community we believe at getting at the core truth. We will never get to the core of the mass incarceration problem here in America if we simply whitewash its causation. Simply acting that our criminal justice is justified because our prisons are full of degenerate Wally Cleaver’s of Leave It to Beaver, who’s background are from good homes is not the truth. This is not the general upbringing of the men in our prisons, nor the sons they have left, or are leaving behind. While not all women may agree, the Chorus of Voices are loud enough that bodies of work that give women insight into the man, man-child relationship, are helpful. In households where the woman is raising a man-child alone, her sisterhood, her gender, is not enough to rear a man. This is not some chauvinistic banter, but is the authentic Chorus of Voices of single women households raising a man-child. A man must be involved in this endeavor. While Fathers and Sons (A Play Written by Prisoners), cannot substitute for a living, breathing, and present male, it is a must-read for the junior males of our society. An insight, a tour, of how one gets into a mess, and how to avoid it.
Finally, for those who want to work with prisoners and have their voices heard, don’t whitewash it. To do so makes about as much sense as a U.S. President serving a foreign dignitary a state dinner consisting of the cuisine from that dignitary’s homeland. When foreign Heads of State come to America, feed them hamburgers. We live in a golden age of television that was founded on the backs of cable shows such as Sex in the City, The Sopranos, and further exacerbated by Breaking Bad. The point being, the American public will support gritty reality. And these were my frustrations, and my passions, in presenting to you, Fathers and Sons (A Play Written by Prisoners.

Click here for link to free download of play Fathers and Sons (A Play Written by Prisoners)
Related Links:
Prison Foundation
The Strindberg Laboratory
Leah Joki

*This comment should not be misconstrued. Leah Joki is a Julliard trained actress, and has over twenty years of teaching prisoners theater. She is highly beloved by her students. The schism between writers and the direction a director takes the writer’s written material is nothing new to the process or the industry.

Artwork:
Dreams of the Fathers
by: C-Note