Buffalo Soldiers by Alixa Brobbey
Really, America is not a melting pot.
It's a barrel full of claws, click-clacking
over each other's heads as they quick-climb
their way to freedom.
Here, the Chesapeake blue clatters
past his red siblings as he cargo-barrels himself
towards open skies. When he's close, milky hands
swift-kick him to the bottom.
Undaunted, he steels himself and picks up
the steel, rusty and old. His courage is enough
to fill the half-empty barrel and ill-fitting clothes.
Enough to cheer the aging charger forward.
Not a crab, but a man in uniform
serving those who tight-shackled and block-sold
him barely yesterday. Only a stomach full
of steel and grits could be this loyal
and willing to die for a country that
has suffocated his family for centuries.
Ready to spill his own blood for men who stole
his blood--daughters and sons and wife.
With every march and command, he crafts
and shapes a country full of dreamers and climbers
dancing to the beat of a cracked bell and carrying,
not racing, each other towards open skies.
Black Soil by DC Perry
Before time dark space consuming,
Land born from the birth of time Pangaea
Conceived by the heavens for a greater calling,
I am black soil seeded
With trees precious exhaling the breath of life,
And flowers feeding creatures towering above me amid strife
Looking for stone and mortar building castles bold,
Protecting their diamonds and jewels I spawned deep within my caldrons cold,
Treasures from the ground beautiful and unique,
Soil black is my name yet lighter eyes stare at my brick bleak,
Jealous of my power they constantly seek,
Shouting names like dust, mud, and dirt to demean,
Many of these false gods walk upon my pebbles supreme,
Asking "Have you forgotten I am a King not beneath thee,
My gravel hardened from building your homes infinitely?
Please silence the anger and respect my royalty,"
For I am the foundation of this world
White glaciers, hurricanes, and hatred cannot move me,
they try to burn with crossing fire scorching my skin ebony
Instead mirrors are formed reflecting their evil subtly,
I share my parks yet they will never take my dignity,
Graves within my bosom will hold their decaying minds quietly,
The demise of belittling thoughts from within my subterranean core?
Generations try to remove me from society
Yet I am the floor,
Forgotten are that all luxuries are made from my strongest ore,
Wondering why I quake and tremble infuriated for centuries before,
Having been taken for granite and constantly spit upon my face,
At times I may crumble unable to find my place,
Under oceans of challenges where darkness finds every space,
Sunlight warms my hands reaching for its embrace,
Calming my molten soul before I explode from this mountain prison,
Bright tulips now grow from my pores filled with an eternal mission,
Hear me all that exists above and below,
I am not your slave among trash that ignorant hands throw
Upon me my anger heightened for covered roses cannot grow,
From the very beginning to the end under sod
Black soil transcends,
I am above you and only below God.
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