They Will Not Be Forgotten. Chicago Street Journal for January 24, 2018

chicagostreetjournal

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

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

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