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Ahsaki G Jul 26
I am just 1 generation removed from my Jamaican Heritage
USA is my country of birth yet Jamaican customs and traditions are woven into the fabric of I and I

The foods permeate my palate and set me apart from my American counterparts
Instead of chitterlings, collard greens, *** roast, & black eyed peas
I savor salt fish and banana, stew peas and rice and curry goat as my traditional meals.

I was born into my parent’s American dream
Straddling the fence meant I sometimes didn’t fit in

I don’t speak Patois yet the accent has painted my tongue
To feel so connected to a culture, yet so distant from its people
JAmerican is the name given to me.
Jun 2017 · 538
My Neighbor
Ahsaki G Jun 2017
My neighbor and I don’t speak
We wave a friendly wave, call out each other’s name then retreat to our respective homes
My neighbor and I don’t speak
We smile sweetly and sometimes greet with a kiss
My neighbor and I don’t speak
We share soul food…Colombian Ajiaco for me and American Pistachio Cake for her
My neighbor and I don’t speak
Maneuvering the 2 languages takes too much energy and time
My neighbor and I don’t speak
We love with our actions, sentiments, and eyes
Jun 2017 · 475
Black is Beautiful 2 Me
Ahsaki G Jun 2017
My Black is beautiful…to me.
It’s the beauty contained in my family tree
The spectrum of charcoal to milk of you and me.

Natural from inside or skillfully applied
Black experience is infused with pride.
Yet we are seemingly the only race
Encouraged to dismiss our history’s disgrace
Stories of riches, kings and queens
Reduced and treated as fairy tales and dreams

Black is not the look of hair texture or skin
Black is the connections of the past within

Whether Born on American soil or from island sand
The slave trade from Africa is where all our histories began
The curve in your hip, plump of your lip,
curl in your hair and skin not so fair
Are the influences of the ancestors that we all share.

The African Slave trade is where our histories began.
Torn from Mother Earth, distributed to complete a plan
Now this is not to take from others’ tribulations and strife
But this is the reality of the new beginnings of black life.

Brought to a land with no connections to the past
Sold into servitude relegated to sub-caste.
Followed by Jim Crow laws, which were given the right of way
The residual effects are still evident in present day.

Nonetheless, Black families fought to preserve with
values held dear.
Despite the ongoing atrocities they were made to bear.

But, something happened along the way to interrupt the advancement and flow
Black families came under attack from elements we all know.
****** and crack took the focus off the cause
They disproportionately affected black families, taking fathers with their laws
The residual effects, unseen for generations, so occult
Generational poverty would ultimately become the result.  

What we see today are images that depict limited education, family structure and despair
What we see today are the results of communities in need of drastic repair.
The Black Lives Matter movement is not an arbitrary pun
The movement speaks to the healing and work that has yet to be done.

The flip side of the coin depicts positive images of black people doing what we can do
These are the images people need also pay attention too.
There are many accomplishments that black people have brought to bear
Look around and there are examples of triumph everywhere.
Despite the strongholds of repression and strife
Black people have excelled in all aspects of American life
People who look just like you and me or members of your family
People who strive for advancement ... and just want to be.
With aspirations to stand up tall and remain unbowed
I am encouraged to be my very best and make my people proud

See, to be black is to take the bitter with the sweet
Part of a diverse people with love and devotion replete
It’s not a simple monolithic experience that we all share
Black experience changes for people everywhere.
So please don’t limit us by the depictions on TV
We are as varied as the branches on an old Oak tree.

I will never hold my head in shame or deny my family tree
For all the good and all the bad, my black is beautiful to me.
Aug 2015 · 996
Have You Ever Had a Dream?
Ahsaki G Aug 2015
Have you ever had a Dream?
Something you wanted to get done?
Something that made you smile inside?
Something that sounded like fun?

A dream that inspired you to reach for the stars.
It could be finding someone special or driving fancy cars?

Maybe completing a degree or getting finances on track.
Maybe going on a cruise or traveling the world round and back.

Helping those less fortunate by giving of yourself.
Or just moving up the corporate ladder instead of sitting on a shelf.

Our dreams should inspire us to be our true I&I.;
They should encourage us to be authentic and not live a lie.

They don’t always come easy and the work might not be fun.
But the most fulfilling feeling is when the work is all done.

What happens to a dream that we have placed to the side?
Was it our own decision, or did someone else decide?
Our dreams are our very own requiring our own blood sweat and tears.
They propel us forward along the way dispelling many fears.

The dream thing may seem daunting with the goal seemingly so far.
But in actuality they are sometimes nearer than we think they are.

Don’t lose hope and let your coveted dreams go to waste.
Remember they were the very future that you once chased.

Brush off the naysayers and pursue your dreams with steadfast vitality.
For one day your very dreams will become your own reality.
Inspired by: A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes.
Aug 2015 · 827
Why Reentry (Prisoner)
Ahsaki G Aug 2015
Why Reentry? some may ask
A waste of time, a too big task?

They committed a crime, let be what will be.
Lock them up and throw away the key?

It’s not that easy as you will see
Because they eventually get out and neighbor you and me.

The deck has been shuffled and we don’t always choose our card
Some of these inmates weren’t raised, they grew up, and life was extremely hard.

Some call it dumb choices, others youthful
Some were forced into these positions by the
culture of oppression.

Now, there’s no place for pity, but many of the
stories are untold
With firm and consistent direction, we can see new lives unfold.

Some have never had a checking account or paid a legitimate bill
These are basic everyday functions that each of us can help instill.

It’s the ones that want the assistance to get back on their feet
Those are the ones that we prepare to identify their needs and meet.

That’s what reentry is… preparing them for another chance
To try and make better choices, and in life have a better stance.

None of us are angels; some could’ve actually caught a case
One more dumb decision could have landed OUR butts right in their place.

Can you imagine life without a job, no way to pay a bill?
Can you imagine no money for medicine if you child or spouse was ill?

Unable to get a car to take you from place to place
Unable to pride fully look another man
directly in his face.

This “second prison” hinders them as a result of their crime
This second prison should not exist once they’ve done their time.

Their families and children need them, it’s hard enough out there
These fathers should be taking care of their family’s welfare.

Children raised without a dad are at high risk to offend and fail
By helping their fathers do better we help the children stay out of jail.

Care and custody is what we’re tasked to do
The examples that we all set is what they will look too.

We can’t do it all by ourselves, resources are what we need
Volunteers and community resources help US help them to succeed.

We have to make them better then when they first came in
For some it’s a fresh start for their improved life to begin.

With hundreds of thousands of  inmate releasing year by year
Reentry increases readiness thus reducing public fear.

So inmate is their title for now, but one day they will be out again
We can increase the likelihood that they do not reoffend.

Let’s rally behind reentry efforts, we have much to give
Let’s help secure our own safety and the way that we ALL live.

— The End —