My Verse – a visual spoken word

today I write my verse
not because I want to
but because I have to
I write my verse to
give voice to the voiceless
to give sound to the silence around
to make light out of dark
to bring peace out of war
and squeeze water from oil and blood

and so,
     I write my verse
compelled to write words
that might right all the wrong
that’s been done all along

through me
         words
must be written
must speak for the children
for those who can’t stand
                        on their own
like twelve-year-old Eduardiño and
his favela boys who sleep
under bridges and tunnels
and call the streets their homes
who steal meat just to eat
or sell drugs for the thugs with
with no mother’s arms to hold
Eduardiño, who’s 9mil glock
locks and jams
            as he pulls the trigger
the Swedish tourist shivers
      but that’s just life in Rio
for skinny Eduardiño

my verse is for Malai in Bangkok
so cute, so fresh
so ruined
      at only ten, she sells her assets
for a toothless street pimp
who promises pure puntang to
fat-bellied, gray haired Americans
but her pickings ain’t pure at all
            this ain’t Malai’s first rodeo
she’s been riding the bull since long ago
her heart weighs more than rocks and blocks
cause there’s a reason they call it Bang-kok

I write for nine-year-old Dharani
      who, instead of learning to read and write
wakes at 4am to struggle and fight
to scavange the Dhapa dumping grounds
            of Calcutta
in discarded filth with her mother
digging for food, plastics, metals
anything of value she can peddle
knee deep in middle class trash
what use in books and math?
when the urgency of now is pressing
to look upon her is depressing
but she smiles, she smiles,
                       she smiles
inspiring my words for miles

these lines are for Michel,
whose muddied seven-year-old hands
tirelessly mix salt with oil and sand
twisting mud pies for his mother
with grandma, sister and brother
to sell for five cents a piece
in Cité Soleil market streets
but Michel’s mud pies
are not mud pies
            like Carlo’s in Hoboken
his soul is nearly broken
his food from Haitian soil
I pay homage to his toil
        cause eating earth is perverse
but still I write my verse
to try and nourish his dirt

Oh, these odes I write for Ashanti
no not the million-dollar pop star
but the nine-year-old malnutrition
who’s bruised and scarred
her fragile feet all charred
she’s been walking thirty days
across famined deserts in a daze
Ethiopia has gone dry
and no one really knows why
                ten days ago
her two year old
brother Alem
was left behind
            to dry and crack
like desert sand, his broken back
scorched by the sun and
treacherous heat
                wasting away
just like Ashanti
and like 30,000 other children
no one even tried to save them
and so for them I write this poem

I write for the American silent majority
for those that know but won’t say anything
for those that say something but don’t know
the complacent
    the complicit
        the conspirator

my verse is for those
who’ve been silenced by default
who won’t use their voices
who can’t
           who don’t
who shouldn’t
who should
I write my verse for truth and justice
it gives rise to those who once have spoken
it resurrects those leaders long gone
this verse hails their dead voices
invokes echoes of ghosts like
            King and Malcolm
Mandela seraphim, Mahatma Gandhi still starving,
Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass
Rosa Parks jumping off the bus
cause she just can’t take the ride anymore

I can’t take it anymore
so I write it down
             right here
not for myself
      but to myself
because all I do is write
and all you do is listen.
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About Wilson Santos

Wilson Santos is a writer, filmmaker, music producer, DJ, spoken word artist, graphic designer, entrepreneur and college professor. And he makes a hell of a Mojito too.

Posted on September 20, 2013, in Poetry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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