Tag Archives: works by Cn

The World’s Greatest Threat: Being Black With Self-Respect

They never likeded my swag
cause it was rooted in gang culture
cause out here in L.A.
WE DON’T PLAY.
Nineteen Sixty-Five
ain’t never died
year of the Watts Riots
cause thirty years later
Nineteen Ninety-Two
We kicked off some shit too
year of the L.A. riots
But who really brought it your way
N-Double-U-A
You know what dem Niggas had to say
about dem cops
Police brutality had to stop
But that was before Black Lives Matter
and that shit came from the Town
Oak Land
Where Huey P Newton was the Spokes Man
for the Black Panthers
and its Organization for Community Defense
you see it all makes sense
Now
that video recorders dun came around
But it didn’t to Rodney King’s jurors
who saw his Black ass take a beat down
from six cops standing around
Naw
six cops actively participating
in the demise of an uppity ass negro
cause who he think he was
that he can get away with running from the fuzz
It only took a dahz
of whites
to say
Hell No! To Black Liberation
if that shit didn’t disturb your sleep
Why are you surprised of white criticism
when Beyonce speak
of Female Black Liberation
so join Her Formation
But again this ain’t nothing new
in the Red White and Blue
maybe because whites refuse to have
that conversation
about Nationhood reconciliation
don’t talk about chipin in dem funds
for reparations
They can for the First Naytion
and American Japanese
but when it comes to Black folks
we only get sympathies
from overseas
Because whites don’t wanna
do nothing about changin
the situation
about Black acclimation
into fabric Americana
wit your dirty lies
about apple pies
and second amendment aggrandization
Cause when was there ever a time
we could do
what we wanted to do
as a Black man or woman
legally armed
with a gun in our hand

Change California law
when Huey went to the State capitol
opened and carried
Killed Philando Castillo
in Minnesota
as a illegally armed
Black motorist
Standing on her own property
as a licensed gun owning Black woman
Michigan would rather imprison
a pregnant Swatu Salam Ra for two years
than let her use
their “Stand your ground” law
Due take notice
these were all liberal States
It’s like fake news
in prison blues
that’s why my pants sag
and my Blue Rag hangs low
I’m all that’s negative
bet believe
If I didn’t make myself that way
they would have
wit their lies and alibis
targeting

A great wrong was done to
you my Black children
A great wrong was done to you
my Black child
A suspicion has been casted upon you
it’s called revenge
Revenge
for the wrong done to you
Revenge
for the wrong done
by hands pure as the white of snow
They just don’t know
when you will recomeuppance
You’re under suspicion
My children
My child
Just look into their eyes and you’ll see
Dis is why me brudda
Dis is why mee sistah
Dis is why mee children
you’re under suspicion
What y’all brewing in da kitchen?
We know it gots to be a special stew
full of wicked concoctions
each with our signed I.O.U.
CAUSE YOUR God is dat Voodoo
so we know He’s stirring dat stew
so we don’t want nothing from you Black America
cause we know you’re itchin
to get us in your kitchen
to serve us this brew
and watch it see
do what it do

So Black man whoa
So Black woman whoa
and that’s why you’re always remain
a threat
Da Black man or woman, with self-respect
So Black man whoa
So Black woman whoa
and that’s why you’re always remain
a threat
Da Black man or woman with self-respect

By Donald “C-Note” Hooker

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

Today We Are Sisters

Today we are sisters
Tomorrow we won’t
unless for reparations
together we fight
I am Pro Choice
I am Pro Life
just because she’s in prison
She still has rights

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

Today We Are Sisters is an original work of wax on paper. Done by Donald “C-Note” Hooker in 2018. Today We Are Sisters tells the tale of the 150 California female prisoners that were forcibly sterilized from 2006-2010.

An artist update:

Anyone who observes the body of my work can get a sense that I fashon my work on history. One of the very unique aspects of the 21st Century is the faux belief that we as a species are not the 20th Century. What did the 20th Century bring us? For us Blacks in America, mass lynching and Jim Crow. The century began with a World War, mechanized killing, and mustard gas in War trenches. It went on to produce a Second World War, the gas chamber killings of millions of Jewish people, the mass killings of hundreds of thousands of Japanese through the splitting of the atom. A whole swath of humanity living in the northern hemisphere were under the threat of nuclear annihilation as a result of the Cold War. Kids who have been born post-Cold War, are absolutely clueless of the psychological burden of this everyday fear. The Cold War was an existential threat to our daily lives here in the United States and across Europe. The 20th century also brought us various notions of population control, and these ideas originated from the left of the political spectrum. In the United States, the party that is out of power professes to have the moral high ground in our society. So you get a sort of political preachiness, a righteousness about what they stand for as opposed to the group that is in power. Being a Black male in the United States, we have been orientated that the political left has our back. But in the 20th Century, the Democratic party is the party that the Ku Klux Klan came from, and listen to these lines in my poem, The World’s Greatest Threat: Being Black With Self-Respect

Because whites don’t wanna
do nothing about changin
the situation
about Black acclimation
into fabric Americana
wit your dirty lies
about apple pies
and second amendment aggrandization
Cause when was there ever a time
we could do
what we wanted to do
as a Black man or woman
legally armed
with a gun in our hand

Change California law
when Huey went to the State capitol
opened and carried
Killed Philando Castillo
in Minnesota
as a illegally armed
Black motorist
Standing on her own property
as a licensed gun owning Black woman
Michigan would rather imprison
a pregnant Swatu Salam Ra for two years
than let her use
their “Stand your ground” law
Due take notice
these were all liberal States

So when it comes to an African-American exercising his or her gun rights in Blue State America, they don’t want to extend that to them. These stories are endless and can go on and on. Republicans would argue, that in the course of a mass shooting, if somebody was armed they could mitigate the casualties. Well at a mall in Alabama on Thanksgiving, there was an African American who was a former United States Army serviceman, Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., the 21-year old was armeo and carried out such protection; however, the police showed up and straight killed him, thought he was a suspect.

In 2017, while listening to Los Angeles Public Radio Station KCRW local news program Press Play, hosted by Madeleine Brand, the topic was reparations for forced sterilization here in California. From my programming notes, forced sterilizations were legal from 1909-1979, 20,000-sterilizations took place between 1919-1953 (majority of sterilization), and Spanish surnames were disproportionately sterilized. What shocked me, was from 2006-2018, 150-women prisoners were forcibly sterilized, and these are the alleged reported cases. Now this whole news story was about righting the wrongs of California’s Eugenics program by providing reparations, and that they were actively seeking victims of this practice in order to give them their due reparations; however, nowhere in this conversation was the reparations for these women-prisoners. This is why in the paintoem Today We Are Sisters it contains the following lines, “Today We Are Sisters/tomorrow we won’t/unless for reparations/together we fight.” In the 20th Century Eugenics was legal in California and outlawed in California. But why in the 21st Century the state was authorizing eugenics against its women prisoners? And why did it take until 2014 to outlaw the practice? But they really didn’t outlaw the practice. In the United States, the practice of slavery isn’t outlawed, there is a constitutional exception if a person has been duly convicted of a crime they can legally be enslaved. With the 2014 law, “Such surgies can be performed to save the life of the mother,” SB 1135.

As an artist, I like to give voice to the voiceless. In my work Life Without the Possibility of Parole the story of women doing life without the possibility of parole in a California women’s prison, the vehicle for telling that story was a white woman. In Strange Fruit, the story of mass suicides in a California women’s prison, the vehicle for telling that story was a Black woman. So I was looking for an opportunity to tell a Brown woman’s story. And since the story of eugenics in California was the targeting of persons with Spanish surnames, this gave me an opportunity to tell a Brown woman’s story. Me being an absolutely stupid guy, and using my observations, women are very catty, and they themselves are always discussing how they don’t support one another. This is why the piece is called Today We Are Sisters. Because no matter what side of the abortion debate you are on, forcef sterilization is anti Pro-Life, and is anti Pro-Choice. But remember I said I was just a stupid guy, and I will stick to that story. So imagine my surprise when this work received no love from several women who told me the point of view, as I was informed by them, assuming they have more expertise than I do, as I am not a woman, that some women should not be in the enterprise of reproduction.

[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

Today We Are Sisters (Paintoem) available in prints

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)
The World’s Greatest Threat: Being Black With Self-Respect

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]: White Noise, was a work created by the artist for the “Everything Coffee,” prisoner art exhibit in New York.

The Sorcerer’s Brew

I was first awoken
by its smell
It was carmel
smell
in my mind
roasted
and toasted
to perfection
like an erection
so orgasmic
like reaching out
for a lover again
on the morning after
washing over the tongue’s tendrils
like the baptismal cleansing
that washes away all sins
this caffeinated liquefied warmth
with all its herbal toxicants
of sugars and spice
tho it brings nothing nice
but sin
to do
again and again
Lust
a lust
a desire
an indescrible addiction
for more and more
caffeinated liquefied warmth
sips unending
its herbal toxicants
of sugar and spice
amongst the souls it treats
so
damn
nice

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

Incarceration Nation (Paintoem) available in prints.

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

Mr. Warden (Paintoem) available in prints.

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

THE PLEDGE

I pledge allegiance
to romance
of the Universal States of Consciousness
and to the essence
for which it stands
one love
under God
indispensable
with kisses and orgasms
for all!

To: Munchkin
From:C-Note
Copyright 2017 Donald “C-Note” Hooker

THO HER NAME IS NOT GIBRALTAR, STILL SHE’S CALLED THE “ROCK”

She once belonged to a community that lived high in the California Franciscan sky.
Who was torn apart by war with the Sky.
They fell to Earth, but the Rivers would not let them settle their.
They drove them to the Ocean where they fell to the floor with other displaced people and called their name ALCATRAZ.
Once settled, they could not rest as other displaced people settled on top of them.
And so it goes, four other settlements settled on top until they were 30 miles below.
But a great shift in geological politics were to occur when the Farallon Tectonic Plate people went against the great North American Tectonic Plate people, and upheaved all the settled people.
Now the Alcatraz people lived on top of all the settlements, and the San Bruno Mountain people, the last to settle, now lives where Alcatraz once dwelled.
Having dealt with the pressures of 30 miles at the bottom of the Ocean, she’s now mightier and stronger than before.
Resistant to the wiles of the Sky.
Tho no longer held in her former elevated state, elevated nevertheless into her former regal and majesty.
Tho her name is not Gibraltar, still she’s called “The Rock.”

by C-Note

©2017 Donald”C-Note” Hooker

Tho Her Name Is Not Gibraltar, Still She’s Called “The Rock,” is an allegorical work that gives animation to the inanimate. It is the origins of Alcatraz. Alcatraz began as a mountain; who as the result of the elements, suffered erosion. The erosion was washed into the ocean by the rivers, where it settled to the bottom. More erosion and more and more erosion settled on top of that initial settlement that geologist call Alcatraz. Then two tectonic plates collided and caused the bottom settlement to be the top settlement, and the top to be the bottom. Having been buried 30 miles and under the pressure of the ocean, Alcatraz rocks are wheather proof. Doesn’t she now sit regal and majestic?

[Editor’s Note]: Tho Her Name Is Not Gibraltar, Still She’s Called “The Rock”, is a work that was specifically created for the Art Escape At Alcatraz, prisoner art exhibit on Alcatraz island May-June 2017, curated by Prison Art Touching Hearts.
Help P.A.T.H. in their mission of touching hearts through prison art and give a donation.