This is a quick chapbook by Reggie D. Johnson. But in 20 pages Reggie is full of reflection. Reggie is full of fear, full of strength, full of freedom, full of rejection. To feel completion when sitting with bravery. It is a year of overcoming. While the clock may still be ticking negatively in the now. Maybe, just maybe there is a unity in time, in people, in change. Towards impermanence. The lyrical poems in this chapbook is the ultimate in a thinking man's poetry. Real poetry, not based in fiction, a storytelling from truth not from a new found religion. The errors and failures of government, the death of heroes when people became "SCARED" and their hidden prejudices out for display. Reggie perfectly preaches out the rhythm of covid-era poetry and holding up a mirror to the world to see the reflection of all the sacrifices that have been given. The blood that has been shed should make us stronger, even as the ills in the air suffocates not only our breath, but clogs the clarity in our minds. The years even in it's most "radical" to many still seems to be a still frame that doesn't fade easily. Just remains gray. But the hope has to be vocalized, because WE have to recognize that WE are the ones that can change the direction of the compass. Let's change the compass and head to the right direction. Finally. This chapbook has so many thought provoking poems including (Not Just on) Juneteenth published on this blog, soon to be in a Fevers of the Mind Anthology and also a Best of the Net Nominee. I applaud Reggie D. Johnson for putting out poetry that matters more than just a self-righteous glorification. Here is a link to the chapbook through Daily Drunk Magazine. https://t.co/VePilY3a9w?amp=1 @dailydrunkmag
Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
Reggie: I started writing at the age of nine as a hobby I did on summer vacations. Langston Hughes was one of my first influences.
Q2: Who is your biggest influence today?
Reggie: The writers I’ve come into contact on social media who I’ve become very good friends with: Natalie Hernandez (@yerrrnandez), Luis Delossantos (@CoolerStoryMarc), Harold Fonseca (@halfxyou), Elijah Horton (@elijahhorton94), Chris Butler (@CLBpoetry) Daniel Alvarez (@itsdannylondon), Bruce Llano (@Beeruce_Sama).
Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing/art?
Reggie: Cincinnati, Ohio. I was taught to write about things you know and have experienced. Speaking personal truths will help to strengthen your writing.
Q4: Have any travels away from home influenced your work & describe if so?
Reggie: Yes, I recently took a trip to Orlando, Florida to meet up with some of my friends who inspire me continuously. That time away and being in that environment with all them helped me create some dope content that I can’t wait to share with everyone very soon.
Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a poet/writer/artist?
Reggie: When Drake released his Take Care Album. After 9, I didn’t pick up poetry again seriously til I turned 19. That album showed so much versatility in his writing and the ability to express his emotions through art was inspiring.
Q6: Favorite activities to help you relax when not writing/creating?
Reggie: Playing video games, listening to music.
Q7: Any recent or upcoming promotional work you’d like to do now?
Reggie: I have a surprise project dropping July 1st, with Daily Drunk Magazine and then at the end of the summer I’ll be releasing my tenth book.
Q8: One of your favorite lines from a poem of yours?
Reggie: From my poem 'Look At Me' found in my book, Cuarentena: "I am black I am then I am now I am what's to come We are not less than We are equal We just want to be heard And not for your entertainment I am black And you will not take that away from me"
Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?
Reggie: A few people. Natalie Hernandez & Luis Delossantos taught me to not minimize the writing. Keep writing as it doesn’t matter how long it is or that it needs to stop at a certain length. Harold Fonseca, Elijah Horton taught me to expand the creativity. My love for music has now transcended into new territories as it has not only incorporated in my writing but I’ve had the pleasure of doing songwriting too. Also, Harold and Chris Butler have taught me to be the voice of a generation. In these last few years with everything going on in the world, the way I could ease my thoughts was in writing. I thank all of them for pushing me to the next level.
Links to Reggie’s work on this blog.
(Not Just On) Juneteenth
Been a little over year Of people having to be reminded of what black is A reminder of the anger and a reminder of the sadness Still the fact is It shouldn’t take a trauma for you to understand a trauma Only thing we are doing is piling it up Adding a comma Some try to be empathetic others will just call it drama And God got something for they ass I’m a call it karma What goes around comes back around And let’s just use it to describe 2020 We traded chains and shackles For cuffs and death Something we saw too many A nation went from uniting like minded people To further put a division between everyone To the point that folks can’t even be subtle with their racism So what can one do? We continue to be a voice We continue to be the change We continue to persevere We have to… We have to withstand any and everything Now so those that come after us don’t have to as hard Just as generation after generation had to Just remember me as the bridge Someone on the journey to a better life I’m black I’m proud Give me my flowers while I’m here And not just on Juneteenth Everyday And don’t forget me when I’m gone Wolfpack Contributor Bio: R.D. Johnson
This poetry shouldn’t be a challenge. This will be a celebration of unity & a place to unleash any sadness, tensions, exhaustion regarding the ongoing unjust killings due to racist ideologies & terrorist who like to re-invent their own history to match an idea in their head that was never theirs. Give us your feelings, give us your words. Tell us what you can do to encourage others, Tell us how you can help stop political & blue corruption, systemic racism, and most importantly give us words that you feel will stop these deaths.
It has been a year since George Floyd, longer for Breonna Taylor, longer for the shit that was Jim Crow Laws, Slavery, don’t forget Rodney King, don’t forget Amadou Diallo, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Rekia Boyd, thousands upon thousands others. Martin Luther King Jr gunned down for change. The leaders that preached for change always met with resistance. Stop this hate America!
Poem #1 by Catrice Greer
Check below link for what Catrice and other poets are doing for the Cheltenham Poetry Festival Events.
Come Home a poem for George Floyd (June 7, 2020 Catrice Greer) These wombs, sacred, we build placenta worlds of blood and bone cord by cord, cells churning with life a zygotic landscape s .. a .. f .. e safe from gunshots, lethal force, blue bias, blows safe from bent-tongued accusations, chokeholds, grief tears and pain light-years away the amniotic sac aglow you hear only my voice Mommy … I walked with you, my love, my sun floating close to my own heartbeat tethered in the mitochondrial house we are one my peace, your peace my child, to lose you to this world that does not know you never carried you is not the deep-rooted tree of life I birthed a premature exit is not the afterbirth of my labor Call my name when the end is near I will come again for you I will come again for you, my angel my sweetness you will reside here with me, rest in peace. Come home. breathe breathe breathe
Poem #2 Links to my social justice poems on this blog & other links
Above is a link from my wife HilLesha's blog Tothemotherhood.com HilLesha is a mixed-race writer, blogger, co-editor, mother, wife & so much more. *this was from her blog, any content about contests is no longer available*
Poem #3 link to R.D. Johnson’s poems about civil rights & social justice 4 Poems by R.D. Johnson : Malcolm & Martin, Angels, Dr. King’s Dream & February 1st (re-post)
Poem #4 link to Troy Jackson’s Essay “We the People” from the Anthology An Essay “We the People” by Troy Jackson (from Fevers of the Mind Press Presents the Poets of 2020)
Poem #5 link to Samantha Terrell’s social justice poetry 3 social justice poems by Samantha Terrell : “Advocacy” “Who We Are” & “Hurry Up Justice”
Poem #6 Stop the Hate Poem by Sarika Jaswani
Below the lambent candor of periwinkle sky Beneath redolent shades of sovereign sun In a garden of remembrance lays a Martyr Farther from littered complexities Yonder of stinking grudges Away from leaking old bottles of comparisons Mildew and rotting timber of America's foundation Off the beaten track Floyd breathes beyond color of skin Where grief ceases to be transient And shuns mute palette of emotions At the end of rainbow where they each call out and Say their names There rests a harbinger of hope and change. Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Sarika Jaswani
Poem #7 Able & Sable Hearts in Color & Deed by Pasithea Chan
The world is a stable filled with creatures both able & unstable. Those who are able have hearts capable of empathy towards their community. But those who are unstable have hearts so sable they cripple humanity. Their differences define a life of dignity for the rest of humanity. Able hearts play their parts sorting people by acts not words in the name of equality & justice But sable hearts take part in breaking people's hearts sorting them by color to spread terror in the name of service. Able hearts have peaceful minds that analyze words to sort what they fear from what they see or hear. But sable hearts have broken minds that pander to their fear blinding their eyes with what their hearts steer. Able hearts are driven by compassion to foster good even if late because for them right and wrong are black and white. But sable hearts are driven by obsession to spread blind hate because for them freedom is a bait to catch black enjoying whats white. Able hearts will do what's fair because they care But sable hearts will just be there to hunt those unaware. Like day and night, one is light bringing wealth the other is dark with crime bringing death. Show me a man who ran & I'll show you fear from those near. But show me a man who stood his ground & I'll show you justice. There are many George Floyds and Breonna Taylors out there but sadly there are few who truly care or dare to say times have changed yet sable hearts haven't Because right and wrong are not the only black & white In a world where grey is for those who chose to bray blind lies to hide behind a colorful rind. In the end, hearts and minds dictate the kind of life we lead not our colors because we all bleed Red So how can color decide who is good or bad? We are all one; color is just one kind of human kind I'm sure we can agree that deeds can sort the human kind. Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Pasithea Chan
Poetry: Nine by Anneka Chambers
Nine Minutes I Fight For Life In an instant my body is slammed to the ground Nine Minutes I Fight For Life Exclaims from the public echo all around Nine Minutes I Fight For Life I am unarmed, handcuffed and I pose no threat Nine Minutes I Fight For Life Enforcement of this kind is unlawful, do you have no mercy, nor any regret? Nine Minutes I Fight For Life I am pleading with you, please stop! Nine Minutes I Fight For Life Emotionless is the expression of every standing cop Nine Minutes I Fight For Life I lay here helplessly, one against four Nine Minutes I Fight For Life Excessively this Officer pins me to the floor Nine Minutes I Fight For Life I am in excruciating pain Nine Minutes I Fight for Life Explain why you have chosen my soul to claim? Nine Minutes I Fight For Life I hurt until I bleed Nine Minutes I Fight For Life Executing your act of violence, as I cry and plead Nine Minutes I Fight For Life I cannot breathe, I cannot move, I only feel Nine Minutes I Fight For Life Encourage this Officer to remove his knee, from where he kneels Nine Minutes I Fight For Life I am doing all I can to hold on Nine Minutes I Fight For Life Every cell in my being is fighting this wrong Nine Minutes And I Will Not Survive I love you family, colleagues and friends Nine Minutes And I Will Not Survive Eventually My Life Ends. REST IN POWER GEORGE FLOYD 25.05.2020 Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Anneka Chambers
More Links: https://subterraneanbluepoetry.com/SubterraneanBluePoetry.IX.II.html including a poem by Wolfpack Contributor Megha Sood WolfPack Contributor Bio: Megha Sood
Poems by Laura Grevel:
Texas Freeze Over—February 16, 2021 On that freezing eve in a winter storm, where nothing was the norm, eighteen-year-old Rodney Reese was walking home down a Plano street. He’d finished his shift at Walmart, groceries in hand, still had a good ways to go, slipping and stumbling in ice and snow, still had a good ways to go, when they showed up and slowed. He heard the shout, saw the colors of the car, felt a shiver run over his memory wars: remembered what happened to George Floyd in Minnesota, Eric Garner in New York, Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, Daniel Prude in New York. Did the cops remember the truth as they told him to stop? That they’d been sent to make a wellness check? Not to be a pain in the friggin’ neck? That the state was now a disaster zone of ice and snow, bodies freezing in homes? Did they remember that he was a man? That warnings were given by the weathermen? That warnings were shouted by the BLM? They asked him to stop; he sweated and labored on. If only he could get home or where someone could see what was going on. He peered resolute through the snow, through the dark, and he prayed. “Where you going, son?” “I’m going home.” “Why you walkin’ in the road?” “Sidewalk’s icy, man.” “Where you goin’? You need a ride.” “I’m goin’ home. Don’t touch me!” The cops get out, come close. “Why don’t you stop? We want to talk.” “Don’t touch me, man!” They grab his arms, cuff him. “This is an investigation!” So though it makes no sense to anyone with a few cells of gray, they charged him for walking home—charged him with being a pedestrian in a roadway. He spent the night in jail, managed to keep his heart from fail, managed to keep from other travail. Next day the police chief let him go, said they should ‘a’ taken him home, didn’t know what was in those cops minds, was it race? The chief couldn’t say. Rodney, when asked later why he didn’t want to stop for the cops, said, “I seen all this stuff with George Floyd. It hurts, man.” People Are Looking They just keep killing black men— these self-appointed vigilantes and cops—killing men jogging down the street like Ahmaud Arbery or men coming out of a shop like George Floyd and the BLM started marching and the Trump response sent an Armageddon of armored cops and henchmen to attack people who were not armored who were protesting the murders of black men. A Star Wars attack on regular people, and the protesters march wearing Covid masks, march those streets, through smoke and tear gas, and the robotic cops bear down bear down brutalize and my mind races to find the puzzle pieces because I seem to have missed something. 1968 I am seven. I walk into a church in East Austin with my mother, brother, sister. Moselle who cleans our house and takes care of us kids invited us to her daughter’s wedding. And when we walk in and walk down the aisle and sit down, my heart begins to thud because people are looking, then not looking, at us. We are the only white people there. 1988 I am 27. I walk into a church for the wedding of Sara. She is a friend, a co-worker, a fellow accountant at the State Auditor’s Office. And when I walk in and walk down the aisle and sit down, my heart begins to thud because something is similar, something is wrong, people are looking, then people are not looking, at us. We are the only white people there. 2020 And my mind races to find the puzzle pieces as a despot’s robot army marches on people who are protesting the murders of men— murders because of the color of their skin. An obscene scene of spleen sent by a President who is more mean than man, sending a smokescreen to make a show that is the only way he knows. And my heart thuds and my mind races to find the puzzle pieces: 1968, 1988, 2020, and I look back and ask Sara, where were the other people from the office? Why did none of them come to your wedding? During workdays, we all worked together. During lunches, we ate out together. During out-of-town audits, we travelled together. My God, Sara, I remember back then I heard one or two excuses busy, kids . . . but most had no kids— most of our co-workers were single, and white. Oh, Sara, how blind have I been?
Just a Scratch
See you used to scratch me That first one showed the lines First contact, first strike Caught off guard by your words and actions And how they both affect me physically and mentally The next time you went for blood The blood permeated the layers of the subcutaneous and cutaneous Oxidized and oozed You knew how go take things up a notch You became a mosquito that was drunk off blood Wanted to be the life of the party Knowing the very thing you were doing was killing you inside too But you still continued You finally scratched me hard that you went deep The scars from before reopened as the pain and suffering Became your fountain of youth But for me it was getting old To me, it was to time to scratch em back And let me feel the rage Of doing what you’ve done to me All these years And I just sat there and let you do it I look at the mental scars I have left As the memories of where I was And how far I came And I’m glad to see those marks Are fading away