The more things change, the more they remain the same. We've all heard that old saying. It does indeed seem that history is repeating itself. Chicago Street Journal (CSJ) dedicates this issue to all those who gave so that we may live. There is never a wrong time to celebrate their lives and purpose. Sonja Cassandra Perdue, Associate Publishers, Digital 773-609-2226
14 January February 2017 2018 Chicago Street Journal Call 773-998-1925 to be in the next issue.
December 2017 Chicago Street Journal January February 2018 2017 15 BLACK IN AMERICA IS… Black in America is a poem written in blood, pain filled stanzas of people reduced to mud on a plantation of snow. It is living with anxiety that goes undiagnosed, silent conversations with ancestral ghost while Marvin’s Make Me Wanna Holler plays in the background. It is being fearful of traffic stops by agenda having cops who are eager to turn us into hashtags. It is a worldstar video full of wide hips and tatted backs playing against the echo of cotton field whip cracks which dominate legislative voting floors. It is watching hipsters “discover” your neighborhood; appropriation of our culture into consumer goods because wanting to be black is an American pastime. It is standing in line for $300 J’s; fire from religious pulpits condemning all gays while pastors baptize their side chicks. It is being more comfortable with the people living in your phone rather than with the people living in your home because sometimes illusions are kinder than reality. It is Grandma’s hands and Pop-pop’s storytelling, family get togethers full of food, laughing and yelling; matriarchs and griots mimicking the sun. It is remembering black love unafraid and intense; velvet paintings and nag champa incenses inspiring many raised fist romances. It is kids who love STEM writing algorithms and code, blerds, anime watches and gamers who dream bold; silent architects of future rebellions. It is the night feared by those only loving the moon, scared that darkness will ultimately consume their precious alabaster shine. Black in America is a poem written in blood, pain filled stanzas of people reduced to mud on a plantation of snow. © 2017 abruvanamedsly The Official Black Poetry Cafe, affectionately known as the BPC, was founded by poet and author Mark Goggins and began as a highly successful online poetry forum on March 3, 2005. It was created out of a sense of dissatisfaction that Mark had with some other online poetry outlets at the time. Some of those outlets had membership fees while others either censored poets or had so many restrictive rules that Mark felt it was hindering a more creative atmosphere. So instead of complaining about it, Mark decided to create his own free forum that was also free from censorship and what he felt were unnecesarily restrictive rules. Thus, The Black Poetry Cafe was born. As social media began to take hold, Mark decided to evolve with the times so he morphed the BPC into a Facebook group in 2011 and achieved an even greater poetic audience. There are currently over 15,000 members. The group allows poets to post poems and encourages the members to comment on the works of others as well in order to facilitate an artistic environment where there is interaction between the poets. There are also weekly poetry challenges or prompts that are assigned to the group by one of our nearly 20 admins who oversee the group. These admins rotate weekly issuing these challenges. Every few months Mark will intercede and issue a challenge of his own and award the winner a trophy called the BPC POETRY SUPERSTAR AWARD. The award is a crystal trophy standing 14 inches high and engraved with the winner's name. These special challenges typically last 2-3 weeks and the entries are judged by the group's admins who then select a winner via admin vote. Our latest challenge was titled the, BPC BLACK IN AMERICA CHAL- LENGE and was won by a very talented poet that goes by the name of 'Abruvanamed Sly.' We intend to continue our weekly challenges and periodic challenges that offer a chance to win the coveted BPC POETRY SUPERSTAR AWARD trophy as well. We further intend to continue to grow and challenge our artists via these challenges to learn different poetic styles and forms as well as engage in a wide variety of topics. BPC is committed to the integrity of the art and strives to maintain a healthy artistic atmosphere that educates as well as entertains in a censorship free environment with the exception of nude depictions. And while we are the BLACK Poetry Cafe, all ethnicities are welcome to take part and add their own distinct flavors to our poetic mix. Mark Goggins, Founder The Official Black Poetry Cafe