Whispers of Krip Love Shouts of Krip Revolution
Poetry by Lateef H. McLeod
124 pages, $18.00
Lateef McLeod writes some of most daring poetry I have seen. This is poetry that is finely crafted and, oh yes, clearly has something to say. The best poets, to be sure, have something to say, they are artist and philosophers.
Langston Hughes Let America be America Again
O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine—the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME—
Now Lateef has been added to Langston Hughes' list of "the land where every man is free." He proclaims it all over this book.
- John Peterson, Publisher
Lateef McLeod is building his career as a writer and a scholar. He has earned a BA in English from UC Berkeley and a MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College. He is three years into the Anthropology and Social Change Doctoral program at California Institute for Integral Studies in San Francisco. He published his first poetry book entitled A Declaration Of A Body Of Love in 2010 chronicling his life as a black man with a disability and tackling various topics on family, dating, religion, spirituality, his national heritage and sexuality. He currently is writing a novel tentatively entitled The Third Eye Is Crying.
Whispers of Krip Love Shouts of Krip Revolution Poetry by Lateef H. McLeod
Am Too Pretty for Some “Ugly Laws”
I am not supposed to be here
in this body,
speaking to you.
My mere presence
of erratic moving limbs
and drooling smile
used to be scrubbed
off the public pavement.
Ugly laws used to be
on many U.S. cities’ law books,
beginning in Chicago in 1867,
stating that “any person who is
diseased, maimed, mutilated,
or in any way deformed
so as to be an unsightly or disgusting object,
or an improper person to be allowed
in or on the streets, highways, thoroughfares,
or public places in this city,
shall not therein or thereon
expose himself to public view,
under the penalty of $1 for each offense.” 1
Any person who looked like me
was deemed disgusting
and was locked away
from the eyes of the upstanding citizens.
I am too pretty for some Ugly Laws,
Too smooth to be shut in.
Too smart and eclectic
for any box you put me in.
My swagger is too bold
to be swept up in these public streets.
You can stare at me all you want.
No cop will bust in my head
and carry me away to an institution.
No doctor will diagnose me
a helpless invalid with an incurable disease.
No angry mob with clubs and torches
will try to run me out of town.
Whatever you do,
my roots are rigid
like a hundred-year-old tree.
I will stay right here
to glare at your ugly face too.
Father Capitalism and
My American brothers and sisters,
I gathered you here today
to discuss an issue of vital importance.
You know the parental threat that I speak of.
How this father of ours has been exploiting us
from the time we were born until now.
Has he not tried to monetize
every single thing in our lives,
until we end up wondering what the cost of love is?
His toxic financial philosophy was our infant formula.
We lapped up being cost-effective
and having a bottom line
with our porridge as toddlers.
Our father Capitalism towers over us and makes sure we
wear out our muscles and bone in dutiful work
for dollars and cents, until we are used up
in body, spirit, and mind.
We are broken like our mother is broken,
our poor Mother Democracy.
Broken to our Father’s will.
With the slap of Citizens United leaving
a scar on her face.
We weep as we couldn’t protect her
as Glass-Steagall and Ergonomics
took the shackles off our Father and his furious rage.
And look how much our Mother nurtured us.
She has instilled in us sacred values
That our words are precious and vital to us
and that we need to listen to each others words
with open and understanding ears.
She made us believe
that if we all worked together
our country will be great.
It was her tender touch and encouragement
we were able to shake off
some of the vile evils of our Father.
From the bloody oiled-whipped backs
the victims of chattel slavery
to the pit of hell that was the factory a hundred years ago.
We as women, people of color, homosexuals,
transgender people, and people with disabilities
were able to punch holes and walk threw barriers
that our Father Capitalism put in front of us.
But, my brothers and sisters,
over the years we have seen as our Father grows stronger,
our precious Mother has grown weak
and her body atrophies under his vice grip.
It is time to face facts and search deep in ourselves.
Father Capitalism will kill our Mother Democracy
if given a chance.
So our choice is clear in light of this fact.
Our patricide will free our Mother to live on and thrive.
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