Dance Africa

Motherland not the homeland

Or the promised land

Though she nurtured us

From her breasts

Dancing among and around

Us protecting us at times

From the elements of an

Unknown world for as long

As she dared Africa Motherland

Not the homeland not the promised

Land but we danced on her shores

The Nile River valley waters rushing

In over heads bowed down to

Other deities for survival out of

Necessity we danced on Africa’s shores







Mourner’s Bench

Oh Lord save my soul
I’m down on bending knees
Praying on the mourner’s bench
Lord I do believe
Oh Lord save my soul
Father hear me now
I need to be born again
Lord just show me how
Oh Lord save my soul
Hit me with Thy might
Oh Lord save my soul
Thy spirit guides my sight
Thank you Lord for peace of mind
A joy that before
I never could find


Photo Bomb circa 1953

A lopsided wooden church

With a steeple

Leans in the background as

A well-dressed young man poses

For a picture out front

With his foot on the fender

Of his ’49 Pontiac  Grandma

Hettie dressed in her darkest

Sunday best inadvertently passes

Through the path of the camera’s

Lens  just as the Kodak snaps she

Covers her face with a widespread hand



making POETRY

The love of all things

poetry has me holding

fast since a child

needing to put words

on paper

string and thread them

like beads into meaningful

patterns put words together

like puzzle pieces perfectly



the Dr. is out, but…(for Dr. Maya Angelou)

without knowing you
taught me the
meaning of love and
understanding of myself

as a person of color
in all things
to no longer be
afraid to lift my
voice and  sing
rise above the friction

of life relegated
to the 2nd class
citizenship lane

rise above

the  life sentenced to
the iron bars of
a caged-in soul
which now sings
praises to you daily
for healing me for
making me fit
enough to lift
my voice
to rise still



Shelly Halpern Ph.d
Knows Black History
How I want to be

I sat in her class
And to my surprise
Tears began to swell up
In my eyes

I could not deny
Her superior knowledge
She knew what she  spoke of
She taught it in college

But I never got over
that night
I walked out her class
For spite
Shelly Halpern Ph.d
Was  white



she was tall and lean

skin as dark as night

hands on her hips

fist clenched

when she caught the spirit just right

and at pee dee baptist church

on any sunday afternoon

mama be shoutin and singin

some ole time spiritual tune

struttin back and forth

holy ghost dancin cross the floor

shoutin in the fire of the spirit

til she couldn’t shout no more

praise the lord

she sayin

glory must be on high

praise him hallelujah

praise him

til the day i die

jail-house blues

came home this mornin
bout half past three
got in bout
half past three
got in this evenin bout
half past three
county sheriff there
waitin for me
you under arrest
for shootin ben brown
i arrest you for shootin
ben brown
i’m lockin you down
for shootin ben brown
and not puttin
that fool in the ground

Why Papa Changed His Name!

It was durin the days of slavery

when white folk owned the land

and black folk was catchin

all kinds of hell

especially from the klu klux klan

it was about that time

jim brown was born

in a little town called kershaw

where black men fought and bled and died

in america’s patriotic war

jim brown was a part of that heritage

the big the strong the tall

but the fact that he looked most near to be white

was the key to his sudden downfall

you see papa had a job on the road

playin music in a vaudeville show

and white or black you can take it as fact

played the best banjo you could know

folk knew  papa walked a  thin line

in kershaw weren’t no news

and on the road most times more often than not

just a white man playin them blues

well things got to goin real good one night

jim brown ain’t nothin but a man

it was one thing to play with the boys in the band

but with they women

now that’s out of hand

papa didn’t mean no harm of course

he was like any red-blooded man

drinkin corn likker chasin fast women

well i think you most understand

one night after a crowd pleasin show

two women met papa at the bar

they loved the way he plucked those strings

but til now

had admired from afar

they all had a drink

or two or three

took a walk by the light of the moon

and before he could run down his pedigree

they ended up drunk is his room

when the fireworks started to explode

their actions  decided by committee

but papa didn’t know

that the girls in his bed

were akin to the mayor of the city

he awoke with a gun at his head

and a noose tied tight around his neck

and the records ain’t clear

how it all went down

but papa left that place in a wreck

white folk took the thing personal

so it gave papa unwanted fame

and that was the reason

papa left kershaw county

and why papa changed his name.