Poems featured are from the Fall ’19 issue of PLR.

 

Capitalize.

Kaitlyn Hinds

 

Capitalize On The Backs Of Those Who Fall Into The Misfortune Of Poverty. 

Capitalize On The Rights Of Your Fellow Man, and The Wrongs Made Against A System Proclaiming Order And Justice.

 

Kait Hinds is a poet, author of The Texture of Colors, and an advocate for mental health based in Charlotte, North Carolina.

 

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In my Father’s Name

(or The Last Time I Daydreamed at Work)

D. Noble

 

I proudly march across the stage as the first one in my family to receive a college degree

I’m overwhelmed as their proud faces cheer for me

But alas, on that day, the only thing realized

Was my newfound access to being proletarianized 

 

My first job commanded a salary higher than my dad ever made

But my bills were

Higher still

And with stress on my head and lint in my wallet

I stand face to face with capital’s logic

Or shall I say its horrific contradictions

 

My adult life beginning 

The same way my father’s life ended

As an exploited worker, broke in a rented home 

A brick mason who simply dreamed of playing the saxophone

His hands now gnarled to the bone as years of backbreaking work overtook them

I knew his dream was gone the last time I shook them

He can barely hold a fork let alone a saxophone

His eyes water every time a Coltrane record comes on

Who knew “A Love Supreme” could be sadomasochistic

Each note Trane blew stuck in his throat like stale biscuits we thanked Jesus for

He fed his kids but lost himself in the process

His eyes dulled and grew distant with each meal we managed to digest

My mom dusts his record player with delicate care

She silently fears he’ll lose his mind if he can’t hear “Giant Steps” skip through the air

She prayed my baby brother would be a girl so he could at least name a daughter Naima

But Timothy’s birth marked another hard head mouth to be fed 

For a man who already knew the futility of being a dreamer

 

Fast forward to me finding myself losing myself in this fucking cubicle

As I recall a hardened breadwinner with ears tender to something beautiful

In a sudden rush of emotion I am overcome with the image

Of his forlorn face balled tightly and grimaced 

When his work-ravaged fingers struggle to set needle in groove

He exhales as “Every Time We Say Goodbye” flies from his one good speaker

I’ve often wondered what he sees when he closes his eyes and feels

I now feel my own chest tighten 

As I likewise slave for bloodthirsty titans

Frightened my life will end like his

An abject proletariat, a working class pawn 

Who, instead of a horn, has given up on dreams of writing a volume of poems

I curse every dawn that my alarm clock comes on and reminds me of my subjugated station

The daily degradation of exploitation is hardly worth these bullshit wages

My rage is fomenting with each word uttered

Could the strife of struggle captured in this lone poem

Be enough to wake me to tomorrow’s red dawn

My father is gone

But his pain remains

And we all wear it daily like the foulest of stains

But fuck rotting away like him to nightly elegies performed by Trane

 

Tomorrow I rise in rebellion in my father’s name

I aim to strike the death blow to liberate us of these chains

 

D. Noble is an activist and cultural worker who organizes with the Greensboro Revolutionary Socialists. He also serves as an adjunct professor at UNC Greensboro in the African American & Diaspora Studies department.

 

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untitled.

Destiny Blackwell

 

The pigs are designed to dehumanize

You cry for help, they hogtie

They did not notice when you died 

They didn’t answer when asked ‘why’

It was his own crisis

Marcus gave no threat of violence

He offered no resistance

He only ask that you help him

No crime, no weapon

The cops murdered this man

With rope officer, with lead

Please go kill yourself instead

As Jesus would suggest

To other pigs demon possessed

I Direct the unclean swine

To a cliffside suicide

Serve and protect 

Break a homegrown terrorist neck

Drain the swamp of your own veins

Stop the virus, self contain

Asphyxiate on your own hate

Serve your country, make it great.

 

Destiny Blackwell is a student and organizer based in Greensboro who believes in prison abolition, black liberation, and, miraculously enough, love.