The Real.

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No, you will never understand

What it feels like to walk a mile in my shoes,

So hold your tongue

When you feel the urge to ask me

Whether it’s now okay to use the N-word.

 

All I have ever known is being a foreigner

I would love to say the stares get a little easier

And at times, it feels like no one can get to you

But when a community singles you out 

For the way you look, you’re bound to get taken off balance

Feeling the unofficial divide between you and them.

 

Do I need to keep reminding them

That I worked for everything I have?

Maybe give them some proof?

That being black does not entail every solution I see

Lies behind a cocked gun?

And that is where the problem is; approval,

I do not need to explain myself to you or anyone else

Contrary to your sphere of understanding

It is not my life mission for you to make me feel included.

 

– O.D. ©2018

 

Art by: Paginacero

 

Working in a foreign country can indeed have its benefits. On the flip side, however, it is notably much easier to feel like an outsider. I’m in Thailand right now and where I work I’m the only black person, it’s a pretty cool place, and I truly appreciate some of the co-workers I have come to call friends. Here’s the thing though, when I initially started working there my abilities were constantly put into question; most of the higher ups wondered if I was up to the task (they were not really subtle about it).

My line of work needs people with great proficiency in the English language, and it was only when I showed my certificates that they started to take me seriously. Many might think I’m reading too much into this, I would agree if other employees went under such rigorous scrutiny. My friend (from Russia) was surprised when he heard how everyone was questioning my skill; considering how he relies on my help at times. You should have seen their faces when I showed them my qualifications, they could not believe it, their perception shifted entirely. A black person with more skill than his boss, unbelievable.

“People here are afraid of black people because of what they see in the movies” verbatim from a co-worker; she was right. Even my neighbour, really lovely old lady, I used to greet her every morning. I say ‘used to’ because I eventually stopped when I realized that she is actually afraid of me. She is so afraid to the point where, if we are about to cross paths, she walks in the opposite direction to avoid coming into contact with me. At first, I thought I was just being crazy, but when I saw that happen five or so times, in a row, I knew there was something fishy going on.

And these are some of the things I encounter on a daily. I am generally positive, but it’s these lingering issues that take a toll on me, and in all honesty, I have run out of excuses to give others. I do appreciate all the people who see me regardless of my ethnicity, and those are the only people I associate with. Those are the only people I use my time and energy on.

These poems I write about being black, they come from a real place. I’m not asking for sympathy but expressing my thoughts to those that take the time to read what goes on in my mind. It’s not easy being black, but at the same time, I would never choose to be anything else.

 

 

 

Spirit and Soul.

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I savour every frame

Of those picture perfect moments

Captured by my all-seeing eyes;

Unbeknownst to nay-sayers

I am not plugged in to the consensus

Instead, my spirit and soul

Find fulfilment at the prospect of my seclusion.

 

– O.D. ©2018

 

Photograph by: unknown

 

Totem.

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It took the intersection of my

Dispersed thought clouds, to combine vapoured yet

Paralleled lanes of understanding,

Into a richer, heavier, condensed form of thought.

 

It took, experiencing life through different lenses

For me to have a clearer picture of my intended purpose.

I bear stripes they try so hard to look past

Even as I tango at the center 

Of their one dimensional point of focus.

 

God gifted stripes in whichever shade you choose

Black or white, my enigmatic nature is of your making

Takes a closer look to understand parts of me

I would never dream of spoon feeding to you;

But that would be too much for you wouldn’t it?

Actually working for something, and thus, to you

I bid, Adieu.

 

Attempts at bridging positive thoughts to those 

That need them, with Reason(s) I can only hope

To remember when my days get darker;

Sad really, how you work so hard to gain my approval 

Even if it means you take the role of being the sole 

Source of toxicity in my social circle.

 

Uncustomary for a Champion to not take the time

To write for his people, my melanin brothers and sisters

“You are beautiful, let no one tell you otherwise”

And yet, within our ranks lie the uninformed,

Who sell our culture for cheap in a bid to garner cheap pops

To think slavery was a choice is a reality only you

Would bring from the plantation that binds you

In your mind.

 

A sell out like you could not begin to understand

That which we go through… …but let me stop

And take deep breaths, before I yield

To your wish

Of making this all about you.

 

– O.D. ©2018

 

Picture by: NicolasEvariste

 

Spoke to my father the other day, we were talking about my family totem which my grandparents (on every occasion) never hesitate making mention of. The Zebra.

My father said it was done long ago as a way of signifying clans or tribes (emblems of sorts) to help know who was in our bloodline. Furthermore, most of these totems were associated with character traits. An example he gave me was of those from the Buffalo tribe; how they’re considered to be short-tempered, I found it quite fascinating. 

I absolutely love Zebras (bias from it being my totem maybe) but it goes beyond that, the stripes resonate with me. Not to mention the all-powerful hind kick capable of shattering a crocodile’s jaw (Incredible!)

But I’m gonna stop now before this becomes a Nat Geo special.

 

Daily Post: Flaunt

 

 

 

 

 

 

Divine.

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You are, who you are

The world does not need

To understand your beauty

For it to make sense.

 

– O.D. ©2018

 

Art by: AlexanderIsPortraits

 

Foreign

Un·in·tel·li·gi·ble

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Culmination of each written piece:

Unearthed by the intertwining of multiverse mediums

My “Post-poetry-discovery” personality is past relatable; 

Constantly, I raise the peace sign

As a Self-defining Afrofuturist,

Champion of the Black Star,

Otherworldly ink slinger;

One, if not all, take your pick.

Not entirely the point of focus

As the only thing that needs understanding

Is my position in the war between dark and light.

 

Before I forget, woe to those

That would dare interfere

With the formation of my inner thoughts;

Often caffeinated as the ballpoint rolls,

Often told its a bad habit – or so rumour has it –

But, if that is indeed the case,

You might as well say the same

Of the source; the art form.

 

 

I dance between the parallels of perception

What you think you see of me 

May indeed be the remnant of my astral projection

As each verse does its best to compress

A different facet of my personality.

 

I am – to surrounding cliques

What Cinderella’s glass shoe is, to her sisters;

I don’t fit, even as they desperately

Try to wear me as their own.

See, when I say I’m transparent

Believe me, I don’t exaggerate

Like glass, you will see through me

But only get to see, what lies beyond me,

And not me.

 

– O.D. ©2018

 

Art by: Joshua Mays

 

Wrinkle

Africa

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“Always and forever yours, Africa”

I absolutely love this picture; a combination of the chosen aesthetic and power behind the stripes. I immediately got inspired.

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Out, standing,

As if to make existential, in the material,

That I am, indeed, outstanding.

Isolation facilitates

The unabridged flow of my thoughts.

 

My words and how I deliver them

Will undoubtedly trigger those

That would wish to have me in a position

That best suits anyone,

But me.

 

Black Magic is what I call my skin, 

I am the fable you grew believing does not exist,

I am that amalgamation of African spirits which

 Make me a nightmare to supremacists.

A sneeze? Please — perhaps even less,

Is more than enough to liquidate 

My supposed confinement.

 

How do I put this subtly?

“Your belief in my genius is irrelevant”

I am not your disciple; waiting eagerly

For you to say, what I inherently know to be true,

I am that intellectual phantom

You are yet to meet.

 

– O.D. ©2018

 

Photo by: sixreadrabbits

 

Wonder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unapologetic.

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Intertwined with the movement,

Liken me to a lightning rod, stationed

On this side of the cosmos, receptive to divine energies,

Power that would, in a second, fry the light bulb

Filament; your idea, left in a crisp

Assuming you’ll ever be better than me.

 

And when they say we don’t belong here, 

I couldn’t agree more, Backstory richer than Mansa Musa

Melanated Kings and Queens,

Rich in body and mind, were not made to dwell here,

One by one, Extracting them from this world,

For this prison, is not our home.

 

Your approval to me, as useful as a bonfire on the sun

Just a small dust cloud I vacuum, repackage

And send back to you;

I’m polite that way.

 

Multi-faceted champion, diamond,

Swerving an exodus through landmines

The floodlights don’t blind us, 

Rays serve as a reminder of our many sides;

Sides you try to hide, from the brain-washed

But it’s only a matter of time…

Watch this space.

 

– O.D ©2017

 

Rebel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Champion Of The Black Star.

“Nobody’s as powerful as we make them out to be.”

-Alice Walker (The Third Life of Grange Copeland)

 

“I don’t want a Black History Month. Black history is American history.”

– Morgan Freeman

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Perhaps I really am arrogant

A speck of dust that chooses not to settle

On the sand dunes with grains

Filled with contentment,

But rather, hitch a ride

On the winds of change

Soar through turbulent skies

Finding my own truth

Not relying on that which I’ve been handed.

 

To fight for my people

Rather, the suppressors of a movement unhinged

A month is far from enough

Give me a platform

To praise the origins of the Black Star

And i’d rather use it

To address the blight in society

To expose the condescending confinement

Of a history that dwarfs

That which you choose to give.

 

I will not smile and be subtle in how I write

You weren’t subtle when you

Mistook our kindness for weakness

Bringing your “ideal” forms of change

Like you’re the definitive source of salvation

Cursing an entire race

To a legacy of cotton picking.

 

What do you call it again,

First World? Third World?

To who, you?

You trying to tell me

That as a continent

We are nothing until you believe 

We are something?

That all we could ever hope to be,

Is you?

Don’t make me laugh.

 

You shoot us in the knee cap

Run a thousand miles with OUR supplies

Then tell us to catch up?

You broke the rules, to make new rules

To break them,

Again.

 

Do not tell me to quell my rage

As you sip martinis in the comfort

Of foundations built on my forefathers

Blood, sweat and tears;

I am an incarnation of 400 years of rebellion

I am the echo that reverberates  

In place of those afraid to be perceived

As disturbers of peace.

 

Peace is not living under

A commercialized sense of happiness,

Peace is not lying to ourselves

And others that you see us as equals;

Peace is building awareness for your crimes

Peace is the admission, 

That you would not be where you are

Without us.

 

– Original-Dante ©2017

 

Art by:  tacsitimea

 

The Being Black Project.

Dunno how I forgot to post this piece, but I decided to considering it was laying idle in my drafts section. Besides, its been a while since I posted anything 🙂 . I’ll be returning soon though, count on it…In the meantime…enjoy.

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What does it mean

To carry my particular pigment?

Unaccomplished?  inferiority?

Rip your outdated memo and listen closely,

Because it means power, my friend

What else confirms our superiority

Other than the relentless effort

By supremacists to hide such knowledge.

 

My role is not to convince you

That what I say is true,

But hear this,

What you see on me as melanin,

You’d best reaffirm

As unintelligible dark matter

Coursing through my veins

At unsettling speeds

Settling well under my skin.

 

It would be convenient wouldn’t it,

To have a “Black history” month?

How kind of you,

To reduce our vast history

To a month,

As if it all fits …

Why is there no “white history” month?

If not to raise peoples’ consciousness

To the idea that we’re different.

 

Well then, if being different means

I don’t end up as manipulative

Or power hungry as you

Then I, in kind

Whole-heartedly accept.

 

– Original-Dante ©2016

 

Art by: JoelKelly

Questions #2

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Questions #1

 

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Because its different

Does it necessarily make it wrong?

Or is that kind of thinking

A reflection of the rational mind

Trying to justify

What the conscience believes

To be inherently wrong?

 

But is it really?

Or is questioning the aforementioned

A result of human nature’s shackles

Passively gearing everyone

Towards conformity?

 

– Original-Dante ©2016

 

Art by:  Ninjatic