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Voices and choices in read, wite, and blues.

 In square rooms,
 At rectangle tables,
 We go in circles,
 Round and round.
 Triangulate the sound of heated voices
 Boxed out by lukewarm choices.
 The chill reminds us we are, in deed,
 In the boardroom.
 Check the spelling.
 Faces are telling.
 Body language is yelling.
 Now is the time for change.
 Strange how we never seem to get there.
 An air of confidence is in short supply.
 Try as you may, our intent is to stay
 On this topic until the horse's spirit
 Passes through our pounding fists.
 You do get the gist of this insight, right?
 Fight leads to flight, try as we might
 Flight from the bored room
 Years, decades, generations, centuries passing
 Same wheels spinning within the walls standing
 Supported and cemented with privilege
 Steam released, mold formed, few complain
 The rest continue the work expected
 Serving to perpetuate
 The hierarchy of the democracy
 The democracy of mediocrity
 The democracy of mediacrazy
 Their hypocrisy making us crazy
 Or are we just crazy thinking that the threads of
 Red, white and blue will ever be threads of love, peace,
 and spirituality
 It's our right to right the wrong
 Yet the wrongs continue to mutate
 Passing through sources cloaked in innocence
 When will the day break?
 Allowing the morning to be filled with more than mourning
 You do get the hiss of this insight, right?
 wrong! rights? wrong!
 as childhood dreams melt on sidewalks
 quick mama, gimme 35 more cents
 i need the ice cream man the ice cream man!
 he smiles his minimum wage smile
 as i give him mama's food stamp change
 my choices limited by mamas limited change
 liking licking my lips i consider and choose
 red white and blue on a stick
 my dreams melt into
 broken patterns etched into cracked sidewalks
 this one looks like our mother's torn body
 as she passes through my tightly griping fists
 you do get the flip of this insight, right?
 right? human rights?
 while the stench
 of corrupt
 governments
 seep through singed nostrils
 of landless farmers around the world
 gagging, suffocating, and gagging them
 until there's no food left to stock woven baskets,
 wooden carts and howling! growling! bellies.
 while greed hunts for land
 exchanging morsels of democratic hopes
 for big scoops of consumerist nightmares.
 while liquid gold is squeezed from Ma's shrinking bosoms
 accelerating the wrinkles on her sun-baked body.
 you do get the twist of this insight, right?
 Technocratic
 Automatic
 Erratic
 Stagnant.
 And seldom democratic
 Devoid of deliberation
 And cheap on some action.
 It's no wonder
 Our rights are in question
 Baby bruh and lil sistah
 Taking lessons
 About the American dream
 From screaming heads
 On TV screens ...
 It's all fantasy filled
 Spilled in a glossy glitz
 To make you forget
 About the truth ...
 But hey, It's live and in RED WHITE And BLUE!
 And on the corner down the street
 Mr. Rhythm screeches with slurred speeches
 As he looks deep into our eyes
 And shouts "Y'all betta recognize!"
 His bloodshot eyes symbolize
 Red, the bloodshed that floods our
 daymares and restless nights
 Blood on our hands,
 cuz the lid is too tight
 on corporate ties
 and government lies
 White flight and the right to gentrification
 White profit running the nation
 Blue bloods of aristocracy
 Telling us there is a democracy
 Red lines that bank some communities
 as outsourcing yields no immunity
 to unemployment lines
 and crimes of all kinds
 White lies "spinning" the truth
 White collars shredding their ruthlessness and greed.
 Blue collar cocaine is crack
 differences in consequences
 will break the backs
 of generations
 Profiting off the blues of brothas and sistas
 who is REALLY paying the dues?
 These assassins of civil rights
 Try to mystify and justify
 others' plights
 You do get the gist of this insight, right?
 Fight the urge to simply disengage.
 red
 in life's looted histories.
 The battle rages on beneath the mask.
 white
 in liberty and justice for all?
 Ask purposeful questions.
 blue
 in the pursuit of whose happiness?
 What legacy do we leave to our children?
 mommy, what's a democracy?
 red
 in our appetite for oil
 there'll be no spoils of war
 daddy, are you democratic?
 They say it is automatic in America
 white
 in unaccountable corporate power
 systemizing "isms" in every tower
 teacher, can i shape this classroom?
 blue
 in bruises from American barbarity
 mr. president, how do you sleep at night?
 red
 in sacrifices for consumerist opportunities.
 spirit, do you hear my prayers?
 white
 in the noise of psychological warfare.
 self, will you sit and engage with the discomfort?
 blue
 in the music created from those who spoke!
 What do these insights invoke?
 Voices and choices in read, wite, and blues.


In Memory of Dr. Kipchoge Neftali Kirkland July 4, 1970-March 18, 2005

On Friday, March 18, 2005, Dr. Kipchoge Neftali Kirkland (or, Choge, as he was affectionately known) unexpectedly passed away from natural causes. Long before this tragic day, Choge had entered into our lives and the lives of countless others, ultimately changing who we all are, as well as what we do. Specifically, Choge's life purposefully blended the academy with the community, the arts with the sciences, and the structured with the spontaneous. With respect and humility, we collectively share this original poem to celebrate the culture and life that is Choge.</p> <pre> For You, For Me, For Us What he gave in life,

He gave in death. Perspective. Share in my introspective insights

As I fight back tears for one of our dearest Fallen. We know now that profound grief Would soon come callin'. All in all,

I now know that angels Were hard at work. Check my claim.

We were all having the Exact Same Day. It was the only way We could hear news, This Deeply Sad. Notwithstanding was our illusion of choosin' If the date in question fit the description:

Good Or Bad. I dare say that normality Had no home

On our collective day. I'm reminded how Life and memory Are funny that way. Then came the Revolution. Phone call, email, or in person. There came a whole lot of cursin' To the sky With the heavy-loaded question: Why?! Heads up. I might just cry On this next part. I learned on a Friday that my Heart

Stopped. Stomach dropped. Screams strained my voice box.

Rolling waves of tears appeared. First I felt for Choge, Then myself, Then all of our peers. Know this for sure, Brotha Chog had no Insignificant Connection With anyone here. Be you sister, brother, current or former significant other, Parent, teacher, student, son, or Other. You Are his fellow revolutionary.

It's damn near scary how one mortal man Has combined us into one powerful hand. Ours being a multicultural fist, Raised in the name of Freedom. And Critical cultural consciousness.

Know and trust that I understand. It's almost too much to take.

So make sure you hear me on this. God Does Not Initiate

Injustice. I'm not a religious man. Spiritual is who I am.

And Family is who we be. Lean on each other. Lean on me.

Together we'll get to that place Where we find peace With Choge's passing. Be thoughtful. Be purposeful. Live well.

What he gave Us In life, He gave Us In death. Perspective. </pre> <p>Authors

Carolyn W. Jackson is a lecturer with the College of Education at the University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.

The late Kipchoge N. Kirkland was an assistant professor in the School of Education at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.

Christopher B. Knaus is a lecturer in African American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California.

Jennifer K. Outhouse-Bell is a teacher in Seattle, Washington.

Chanira Reang Sperry is an academic advisor with the Department of Education Services of the Art Institute of Seattle, Seattle, Washington.

S. Purcell Woodard is associate director of the McNair Program/Early Identification Program at the University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Dr. Kipchoge Neftali Kirkland
Author:Jackson, Carolyn W.; Kirkland, Kipchoge N.; Knaus, Christopher B.; Outhouse-Bell, Jennifer K.; Sperr
Publication:Taboo
Article Type:Poem
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 22, 2005
Words:1314
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