Aniekan

One People, One Community

Artist: Aniekan Udofia | Good Hope Road, Anacostia, Washington, DC

Artist: Aniekan Udofia | Good Hope Road, Anacostia, Washington, DC

On A Classroom Discussion of Frederick Douglass’s “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July”

A poem by Joseph Ross, 2016
dedicated to K.A and M.T.

Reprinted with permission from the author.

He sat on the edge
of the classroom, having learned

the safety of edges. Before him,
American Literature, a stone

of a book, lies open to
a lion’s page. Douglass’ questions,

a low growl, quiet for now
but their teeth are poised to sing

an attack, to devour anything
the color of complacency.

Last night as his human eyes
stalked this speech, this student

caged the words in his own notes,
furiously underlining and writing

like the skin of our century
hunting down the answers

to Douglass’ questions that live
to haunt his country.

Today, those questions claw at this
free student, stunned by their teeth.

As the discussion begins, the lion’s
words lunge off the page.

Everyone in the room panics
and scatters into brilliance. Some are

unprepared for the animal precision
of this nineteenth century

man the slave breakers
could not break. But this student’s

pulse thrums with post-slaughter
adrenaline. Never before has he

seen words rise up and fight
like the predators they are.

Read the inspiration for this poem, Frederick Douglass’s Independence Day Speech at Rochester (5 July 1852). It can be found on the TeachingAmericanHistory.org website.

Joseph Ross is the author of three books of poetry: Ache (forthcoming 2017), Gospel of Dust (2013), and Meeting Bone Man (2012). His poetry has appeared in a wide variety of publications including The Los Angeles Times, Poet Lore, Tidal Basin Review, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, and Sojourners. He recently served as the 23rd Poet-in-Residence for the Howard County Poetry and Literature Society, just outside Washington, D.C. He teaches English and Creative Writing at Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C. and writes regularly at www.JosephRoss.net. Follow on twitter @JosephRoss27.

Words Wrought

Washington, DC Street Art

Artist: Aniekan Udofia | Location: Florida Ave NW & 4th St. NW, Washington, DC

Artist Profile: Aniekan Udofia

Words Wrought

A poem by M. Higgins

Thoughts trapped
Mental magma welling up
Creative consciousness
Below the surface
Straining to erupt

High pressure
Thoughts collide
Concentration breakdown
Expression a must
How to begin
Thoughts trapped
Stumped again

A burst of energy
Thoughts flowing
Simple inspiration
Pen in hand
Words follow words
A hint of land

An island forms
Thoughts flow
The island grows
Slowly forming mass
An island of thought
In a sea of chaos
Words wrought

Bomb the World to Pieces

Busboys & Poets, K St. NW & 5th St. NW, Washington, DC

Busboys & Poets, K St. NW & 5th St. NW, Washington, DC

Artist: Aniekan Udofia | Location: Washington, DC | Songs: Spearhead “Bomb the World” (Armageddon Version) and Safari Soundlab “Bomb the World to Pieces”


This poem in lyrical format is from Michael Franti and Spearhead. The image commands it…The picture is just one of many pieces painted on wooden boxes and placed outside a Busboys and Poets restaurant in Washington, DC. It’s a fitting location for the poetic message of peace it conveys.

Bomb the World

Songwriters FRANTI, MICHAEL / YOUNG, CARL ROGERS / SHUL, DAVID
Published by Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Please, tell me the reason
Behind the colors that you fly
Love just one nation
And the whole world, we divide

You won’t say, you’re sorry
There is no other choice
God bless the people now
Who cannot raise their voice

We can chase down all our enemies
Bring them to their knees
We can bomb the world to pieces
But we cant bomb it into peace

Whoa, we may even find a solution
To hunger and disease
We can bomb the world to pieces
But we cant bomb it into peace

Violence brings one thing
More more of the same
Military madness
The smell of flesh and burning pain

So I sing out to the masses
Stand up if youre still sane
To all of us gone crazy
I sing this one refrain

We can chase down all our enemies
Bring them to their knees
We can bomb the world to pieces
But we cant bomb it into peace

Whoa, we may even find a solution
To hunger and disease
We can bomb the world to pieces
But we cant bomb it into peace

And I sing power to the peaceful
Love to the peaceful yall
Power to the peaceful
Love to the peaceful yall

We may even find a solution
To hunger and disease
We can bomb the world to pieces
But we cant bomb it into peace

Say we can chase down all our enemies
We can even bring them to their knees
We can bomb the world into pieces
But we cant bomb it into peace

And I sing power to the peaceful
Love to the peaceful yall
I sing power to the peaceful
Love to the peaceful yall
I sing


A bonus track from Safari Soundlab, enjoy.