About the Poet:
April S., also known as A.p~, is a poet and performing artist from Decatur, Georgia. Although she has been speaking for over eight years, she still considers herself a baby in the poetry world. Nevertheless, she has presented her work both locally and nationally in venues that range from small coffee shops to colleges and/or universities and theaters. She is an affiliate of Rock Star Poets on Tour, the only poet with Atlanta based business, Anonymous Entertainment (a company that features musicians, singers, and d.j.s for a once a year event dubbed, "The Beautiful Life"), and author of "From Radical to Natural." April’s recent accomplishments include Art Fusion 40 Poetry Slam champion, representing Atlanta as a member of the 2008 Art Amok Slam Team in Madison, Wisconsin and publications in The Eclectic and Creative License magazines. Currently, April is focusing more on publishing and perfecting her craft both in the written and oral form through a series of writing workshops.
April has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in journalism from Georgia State University and copy edits a variety of written works from novels and books of poetry to essays and scientific articles. For more information and bookings: www.myspace.com/p_Atsuj or pAtsuj@gmail.com.
- Wonder Woman
(for those influential women in my life)
- I was carved from clay;
birthed by magic through Baartman-like hips;
raised along the spine of women warriors
more beautiful than Aphrodite,
wiser than Athena,
stronger and quicker than Hercules or Mercury
because their bloodline surpassed Hellenic roots.
- I am ancient.
- Immortal. Find remnants of me within many nations.
For, between my legs, I labored seven continents,
stretched my arms wide to nourish clans
not my own.They call me matriarch.Superhuman
because my strength is nearly limitless.
I carry bridges on my back
to make ends meet; lift bus lines and barriers
to move things forward;
survive, unprotected, in the harshest environments:
I have been to hell and back.
I went from Nigger to Black
while there, but raised boys to heart surgeons,
girls, Secretary of State.
- I am teacher.
- Master of complex crafts:
both baker and scientist,
seamstress and philosopher,
commander-in-chief with thousands
of years of experience in unarmed combat.
My prayers are like time bombs:
I fight wars on bending knees
and win. WHAM!
from deadly blows and punches.
I am healer, priest,
illusionist: I can spread $50 checks
over the span of two weeks,
morph myself into several full-time roles. POOF!
- I be like the trinity
multiplied by a million
but still, ONE.
- I even fly a little: SWOOSH…
- ascend into the heavens,
but I am no Jesus.
They call me, Wonder Woman--
A real live super heroine.
Powerful and self-sufficient,
independent of her Batman.
I carry the community like my shawl:
on my shoulders secured by loose strings.
- I am strong.
I break through glass ceilings and survive,
bite bullets from double barrels:
I’ve stomached racism and sexism
for centuries -- POW!
- My vambraces, BINK!, BINK!,
deflect stereotypes: I am educated, successful and black.
Together, when crossed, we are a tremendous force.
Impenetrable like my golden chest plate --
strong enough to absorb pain
inflicted upon my heart
over and over and over again.
I make coping look easy.
... always ready for battle
with my lasso of truth by my side. SNAP!
Its limitless length and unbreakable strain
is like my spine, tough--
the backbone of truth, freedom & justice.
- I am Activist.
- Ambassador for my people, warrior,
courageous and spectacular ... .
- They call me Wonder Woman!
YES! Now, live and in color!
- BUT ... it ain’t always that wonderful.
- It’s hard, unappreciated, and undermined.
And sometimes, I get tired,
I break down,
I want to S C R E A M ,
throw a conniption,
finally have that nervous breakdown
and bare naked my strength.
Strip free from my war gear,
scrub my skin clean of this facade
and stand completely open and vulnerable --
battle scars exposed ...
to be pampered and appreciated,
valued and respected as, simply, wonderfully human.
Because sometimes, I don’t want to be
a Wonder Woman!
San Francisco, CA 94105
ATTN: Banana Republic
SKINNY WHITE GIRL JEANS
Your bananas don’t compliment my curvaceous republic. I am more than peel and bones.
I am the peel, the pulp and flesh -- certified organic.
We [must] Insist!
(For Max Roach)
- Behind gray-blue, vapor-filled hollow dens
where amber tones caressed pipe-lined brick walls,
Abbey shouted, "Driva Man"
in concentrated screams over metal jingles.
- Tenor saxes blustered against thin air--hard
over the beat of wooden shoulders kissing
the sides of Max’s drums. The pulse,
passionately insisting we, the people cry
tears for Johannesburg and all of Africa. Pray
for freedom day while protesting injustices
against every black woman, man, and child in 1963.
- These are the roots leading back to the days
before I was born, still connecting me to Max’s protest
over 40 years later. I hear Abbey ringing in my head.
I feel the soul of the conga in the rhythm of my heartbeat
egging me out of complacency for we have NOT overcome.
- So I insist
- against the backdrop of your silence,
to the echo of my own voice
that We Insist! Freedom Now.
(Freedom) from mental shackles:
fetters locked so tightly around our cerebral,
consciousness no longer breathes,
hope is obsolete, and despair
is accepted as the face of black America.
- despite AIDS statistics and low expectations,
prison figures and economic depravation,
we are beautiful and brilliant,
outstanding and magnificent.
- that We Insist! Freedom Now
from social conditionings tattooed
to the back of our children’s eyelids,
from demons of inadequacy etched
into the crevices of their brain.
We [must] Insist! that they are great, resist
the constant poisoning of their bodies in the name of ADD.
- We [must] Insist! that our men are remarkable beings
created in the image of GOD;
build them up
instead of tearing them
so far below bottom they bypass hell.
- I insist
- we breed positivity out the sacs of our lungs,
speak affirmations to our communities soul,
declaring wholeness to its broken spirit,
strength to its tattered body,
and self-determination into its conditioned mind.
- We [must] Insist! Freedom
from complacency in the status quo.
We have NOT overcome
just because Barak made the ticket.
We must push hard and shove harder,
scream loud and bitch louder
for black girls who lack self-worth
in both suburbia and the projects,
for black boys who don’t expect
to see life or freedom after 25.
- We [must] Insist!
- unity over self-righteousness,
values over materialism,
education over athletics
and entertainment. For
intellect is elastic in quality
and our potential reaches
f a r t h e r than jump shots and hip hop.
- We [must] Insist!
- the courage to dream HUGE
notwithstanding our reality
or what CNN tells us.
... Be the leaders of our own destiny,
letting no one paint us a hopeless people.
We are better,
bigger than oppression,
survivors of hell!
So in the name of Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln,
and all those who came before us,
Let us Insist! Freedom Now!
Thank you brotha'
for your annoying observation
of my round[ed] bottom and w-i-d-e hips.
Perhaps next time,
you could contain your tasteless excitement
and realize that I
I write because I like to, but perhaps more importantly, for myself and others. My writing and spoken word’s purpose is not something that can be boxed, I think. Sometimes it serves to educate the misinformed, to provoke thought, to encourage healing and self love, to inspire change, or simply evoke laughter.
I believe many of us experience a lot of the same things in life, but there are those who are voiceless, others who may be too afraid to speak up, and some who don’t quite know how to articulate it. As a writer and spoken word artist, I have a responsibility to myself and the voices of those individuals, to give sound and shape to our experiences and/or situations in order to enhance lives and, maybe even, save a few.
All poems © Copyright 2009 april S.
Published in In Motion Magazine October 26, 2009