By Lamont Lilly

Poetry has long sustained Black people. And, its role in the revolutionary work of freedom fighters cnnot be denied.

These poems are meant to be angry. They are also reminders to keep pushing, keep fighting and keep supporting each other, as we all seek the liberation and justice we so deserve. The last piece, “Sister Amina” is an ode to the Black women who brought us over — the aunties, the grandmothers, the nannies, the domestic workers. We certainly can never forget them!

This submission is dedicated to Edward Crawford  — the soldier, thewarrior, the fallen.

message from the grassroots

in spite of your tanks

teargas and detention centers.

your prisons, tasers and paid informants.

there will still be honor, love and understanding.

there will still be giving, justice and solidarity.

there will still be life

in the ghetto

worth living.

black babies will still be born

taught to hate you.

black poets will still launch words

meant to kill.

rank and file

bring your homemade signs

on cardboard

and wooden sticks.

bring your mic and megaphone

to loan voice.

bring your rocks

and molotov cocktails

in case they bring it.

bring your fire

for the teargas

that’s sure to come.

tell the scouts

to stay awake out there

we’re depending on them.

bring the women

so we can stand together

and fire back.

black seeds

from the master’s huts

slave quarters

and humble slums

grew strong men.

from the open fields

war kitchens

and vast auction blocks

grew diamond rocks.

from their battered hopes

and buried dreams

grew wildflowers

that refused to bow


or be broken.

American Gothic by Gordon Parks

American Gothic by Gordon Parks

sister amina

(inspired by Gordon Parks and “American Gothic”)

she was amazing

stunning, actually.

beautiful like the kind

you don’t see very often.

even with that iron

dish towel

and heavy vacuum cleaner.

even with that

broom and dust pan

in her left hand.

black. proud.



cleaning for ms. jane

cuz she was too dang lazy.

but still

she was amazing

stunning, actually.

beautiful like the kind

you don’t see very often.

so beautiful

even the dirt, grease

and ms. jane

couldn’t hide her.


Copyright © 2017 by Lamont Lilly. All rights reserved.

Lamont Lilly was the 2016 Workers World Party Vice-Presidential Candidate. In 2015 he was an Indy Week “Citizen Award” winner for his activism and journalism. The presented selections are from his forthcoming debut Honor in the Ghetto. Plain but poignant, his poetry directly derives from the marginalized, from the streets of mass struggle, from the Black experience and U.S. South.

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