Bam Bam

It’s a hell of a thing
When a gun come home to live with you.
Things change,
House change,
You change.

If you were the master, the man
Now you not even the bend down,
Yes sah, servant of the house.
You is the below stair
Threaten live outside
Back door porch
No good nothing
For the gun in big biggest armchair
Tapping impatience.

Gun is restless, got no easiness waiting
Waiting for chat
Gun no watch TV
Got no hunger for pizza,
Special seasoned chicken,
Tub full of vanilla ice cream
With chocolate running down
So you must lick before spooning.

Gun full already.
Belly full of cold bullets
Gun need to let one go.
Not just fart,
But one big brown one
That smell like nothing
No one who never been to war smell before.

Gun got power
Make your palm itchy when empty.
When you doing anything
Make you leave and sit and wonder
Should you take gun out to play
But gun no player

Gun got no hobby.
Gun is professional,
Born into the business
Career change never.

Gun need a target
An aim
Gun is always thirsty for trade

Clever gun make words
Speak loud in your head
Whatever you doing.
Sleeping, watch TV,
Staring out to nowhere.
Don’t reach for nothing to calm you.
Weed no strong enough
H and Crack will paranoid your paranoia
So that when gun say now
You be up and going
Maybe somewhere,
Possibly nowhere
So long as you and gun be on a journey.
And the silence
The silence is so loud
You squeeze your eyes to slits
Trying not to hear
Until Bam Bam
You dead
And who die with you
Only the gun knows

A Brief History of Seven Killings. James, Marlon ISBN-10: 1780746350. (Page 73 Bam Bam )

SuAndi Bio PhotosmallSuAndi OBE

Manchester, England

Acclaimed International Artist – Writer, Performance Poet, Lecturer

Cultural Director of National Black Arts Alliance

Honorary Degree Lancaster University, UK

INTERGENERATIONAL TRAUMA

My father first walked the earth in Warri
His feet sinking into the hot mud of Nigeria’s Delta State
Then one day, as other men launched fishing boats
He sailed far away.
Why, I don’t know,
He never told me,
I never asked.
Africa and Manchester did not offer life parallels
So we never had that conversation

My father never talked of the past
I never asked
What did you do in the war dad?
What was your home like?
Do I look like your people?
Can you see your mother in my eyes?
The way I walk, argue
I’m built a female version of you
Am I the same height as your father?
Words never spoken
Only got silent responses.

My father never said
When the white man came:
But I know he knew.
Summers we would visit his old master
Exchanging our terrace house
For a large white detached in Richmond Surrey
Where my father cleaned;
A servitude repayment for our visit.
While I was forbidden to
Touch, speak, play,
Do anything without first asking permission.
Strange white people I thought.
‘Snobby bastards,’ said my mother when I returned home
‘Where do they think this is?
It’s not bloody Africa.’
Her temper causing her cheeks to flame red
Matching the copper of her hair
‘Andi,’ she’d say
‘Slavery is over;
Get over it.’
What did she mean?
But I never asked
And she never explained.

Schools for my father
Were glorious European opportunities
So he spared nothing to buy
My uniform, my shoes
A too large briefcase.
Copies of the same books that teachers
Distributed daily in class.
Strange, that I had to leave the classroom
To begin my education;
Tutored via overheard conversations
Documentaries, radical articles
And orators from Marcus Garvey to Malcolm X.
Even though neither had a penchant for white people.
But no matter how I broadened my knowledge,
I still loved my mother
Nothing was going to change that.
Now my mouth was full
Of words my brain had memorised
Colonialism, lynchings, detention
Apartheid, segregation
Civil Rights, Black Power
And always
Slavery.

What did my father know?
That the Yoruba’s were favoured for their strength
But whipped long to curb their independence
That the Ibos though stolen in their thousands
Also found an inner power to walk-on water
And the ijaw from Warri
Who speaks of them?
Not, certainly my father.
Except sometimes,
When the silence was so loud my ears would ache
I would turn to him
And he looking far into the distance
Seemed oblivious to the tears
Washing his cheeks
Flowing under his chin
Then water falling towards his heart.

In that moment my father
Was no longer the man I knew
The man I didn’t know.
He was in that moment,
A body filed with the spirits of all his ancestors.
My family from my grandfather
To generations who never imagined life beyond the Forçados River
Conquered, shackled, bartered
Sold, abused, demonised, throttled, burnt, flogged
Criminalised, imprisoned,
Executed by the law under the law.

The trauma of the new
The wicked the evil
Filled my father
So that he could not speak
And I never asked why.
Why,
Before he died
Was he called Thomas

Under my right eye
I have an indentation
It is in the exact same place
As my father’s peoples’ ritual scarring
Some days when I look at it
It seems more prominent
Like it really is a scar
But I can barely make it out
Through my tears

SuAndi Bio PhotosmallSuAndi OBE

Manchester, England

Acclaimed International Artist – Writer, Performance Poet, Lecturer

Cultural Director of National Black Arts Alliance

Honorary Degree Lancaster University, UK

BB King

BB King has quite rightly received numerous obituaries detailing his life as a great musician and a kind man. Here is mine. I first met him as queued for his autograph in 1985 he was touring and also playing for Live Aid. As I waited I noted how he gave everyone time and was interested in all they said. He asked me where my friend and I were going. “To the Grapes I said, “Why don’t you join us” I added mischievously. I never expected him to turn up so I was totally blown away when the DJ asked the girl who was at the BB King concert to take a call. BB rang to say they had an early departure for Live Aid and could not come along. He asked for my address. That Christmas and for every year afterwards he sent me a card and small BB King token. Much I expect like most of his fans. I became a regular at his concerts. Often gathering afterwards with him and one or two of his band for a drink. He was kind, and generous. On one return performance at the Apollo his tour manager said there were fans waiting outside in the rain. BB Asked “Do you think they would mind coming in and waiting while I just sort some stuff out”.

I am not claiming that he and I were great friends. But he always remembered my name, signed his cards personally with the note “Keep on living poetically.” And always his music made me cry tears of sadness and laughter.

SuAndi Bio PhotosmallSuAndi OBE

Manchester, England

Acclaimed International Artist – Writer, Performance Poet, Lecturer

Cultural Director of National Black Arts Alliance

Honorary Degree Lancaster University, UK

Sticks and Stones

Sticks and stones will break your bones but names will never hurt you.

“Sticks and Stones” is a popular saying told to kids when they come home from school crying because they were teased. The truth, being called a name hurts the psyche. Just as the insightful words of a great thinker can be inspiring, the harsh words of a hater can be devastating. If the name you are called has hurtful words expertly strung together, the damage can be more bothersome than physical pain. It depends on one’s level of sensitivity. Even a thick skin can be penetrated with a powerful insult.

Playing “the dozens” back in high school, the object was to trade insults with someone until somebody gave up. Including a person’s mother in the fray could be grounds for a beat down. “Your mother” has probably started more fights than any other two words. When someone is insulted, he or she usually shows what we called the “do’ face.” It’s the look you have when you unexpectedly run into a door. Surprise combined with pain. The imagination put into an insult is key. If someone called you fat, you gave a clever response with a twist to get the crowd standing by to go “oooooh!”

“That’s because whenever I finish fucking your mom, she makes me a sandwich.”

It took quite a bit not to “do’ up” and act like the comment didn’t bother you in the least. With the immense popularity of the Internet, anybody can say anything about anybody with relative anonymity. I think the answer to cyber bullying is close to the same old school advice, simply walk away. In cyberspace, walking away amounts to blocking the abuser, or better yet, turning off the computer.

They say one should develop a thick skin to be an adult in this world. They also say people insulting others are on the offensive because of their own inferiority complex.

I believe them.

William Stephenson

One Night On The #1 Train

Riding the #1 train home late at night is usually fine. Some drunks, but for the most part they pass out without puking or causing trouble. Friday night, I was halfway home when my car was inundated by a group of about 10 twenty‑something black guys. Lucky I saw them when they piled in. I could’ve been in a deep nod or blasting a jam all up in my earholes. If I looked up and saw them suddenly, I would’ve jumped for sure. Probably bump into one of them and that would have been it.

One of them notices a guy sitting across from me. I got the feeling that one of the group had trouble believing he actually ran into him. I didn’t know if this was going to go south so I turned off my Ipod to listen to the exchange. Suddenly the group surges towards the guy. Now I can’t even see the dude they’re talking to because this one brother was big and wide, and damn near stepping on my toes.

Between the “youknowwhatI’msayins” and the “myniggas” I gathered there was beef between one of the group and a dude the passenger knew. It was a tense few minutes and ordinarily I would move to another seat at the other end of the car. The big guy was looming over me and I had no where to go. I had the feeling, “Excuse me, I need not to be collateral damage” wasn’t going to fly.

One of the guys in the back of the pack was all for beating the guy up just because it was Friday. Another said no, wait until 137th or 145th St. We were around 110th at this point, and I hoped hard this situation would not boil over. The passenger eventually convinced the gang that his involvement with the person of interest was minimal but would probably kick his ass, too.

William Stephenson

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