All posts filed under: Writing

Michael Kleber-Diggs at July 13, 2016 Black Poets Speak Out event [credit: Tom Baker, MPR News, 2016]

Saint Paul Morning

By Michael Kleber-Diggs The author originally read this piece on July 13, 2016 at the Black Poets Speak Out event held in response to the shooting death of Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, MN. Learn more and listen to an excerpt from his reading on the MPR website.  Morning, walking my neighborhood I come upon a colony of ants busy at work. I take care not to step on any and miss them all, then encounter, up a ways, a fellow traveler greeting the day. I am frightening her.  No. She is afraid of me. Is she an introvert? Is she a neighbor? Is she just in from the ‘burbs, from the country? Is she scared of the inner city? Am I the inner city? Is she racist? Aren’t I the one who should be wary? Or is she a survivor – like me? It can’t be what I’m wearing: khaki’s, a blue & white check button-down, short-sleeve shirt, those Keen sandals I favor because they’re comfortable, my feet can breathe in them. You guys, I am …

People at Philando Castile's funeral

I am Philando Castile

by Tyeastia Green “Thug: noun a cruel or vicious ruffian, robber, or murderer.” I’m not a thug. My dreadlocks hang on the nape of my neck There’s a halo of pride A glow of esteem, built upon by all of those who came before me. My people, who have long since passed Leaving their legacy. As we continue to search for the cultural identity stolen When we mounted ships for the land of free. I’m not a thug. Education won’t spare me. Money won’t refrain me The love of my family, can’t keep me in safety. For there are too many who fear me. Too many who see me, threatened by my physicality. Because I was born into a country That never meant for me to be free. I’m not a thug. Thug is code for the N word you don’t want to speak. Outwardly. Thug is code for the cowardice you feel, unfoundedly. As my blood spills. Apparently, too much to ask not to be killed In a country my ancestors built. Their chains traded …