King’s Lair

Savagery surrounded me.
In a den of fierce lions, I was home.
Not alone, He was with me.

Snarling teeth, sharp claws, roars.
I was the toast and the main course.
They hated me for my righteousness.

Some named me demon.
But everyone felt me
some type of way.

I could not fight or flee.
That choice was taken from me
so God carried me away.

He delivered me from the snares
of torturous death to salvation,
all because I lived as a child of God
and the blame was not mine to carry.

Painting by Sir Peter Paul Rubens
Daniel in the Lions’ Den
Flemish 1577-1640

By Thomas Agbonyitor

Nostalgia

Born with a rebel yell
I emerged upon the scene
Silence quelled the spirits

He was a special child
Reflecting on times of yore
My innocence was taken for granted
My unbridled passion moved me

to the forest
to the field
to the sea

I smelled like outside
When I discovered full showers
I discovered women

Watching movies
And drinking OJ
were the only aphrodisiacs I needed

I discover women still
With every page I turn
I see myself

Now I worry about money and bills
I miss the thrill of a long night out
that never became tomorrow

At tomorrow’s end
I long for the days of
yesterday’s presence
and the perfection of today’s existence
but am filled with sorrow

By Thomas Agbonyitor

Driving in My Car With Girls

Jump in the car and let’s float.
My vessel was a ferry boat
to sin sensation.

With you riding shotgun,
the sun was around at night.
It reflected off the moon
as it glowed on us.

The kaleidoscope in my mind
of these women riding around with me
is ghostly.
Now that these seats are empty,
I solemnly reflect on times past,
bad chicks twerking in the backseat
with no gas.

I was a king amongst men, searching
for the perfect woman,
searching for the one to be
my ride or die.

Lollygagging and galavanting
are pure joy in the summer.
Sweat dripping from our bodies
as we ride with the windows down,
playing our favorite song.

I was told not to love too easy,
but failed almost every time.
At least while riding shotgun,
they were mine.

By Thomas Agbonyitor

AMERIKKKA

AMERICA IS A RACIST COUNTRY. If you need proof, look no further than the George Floyd incident and the world’s subsequent reaction. If you need further proof look at the election of Donald Trump as President. If you need even more evidence, look at the January 6th Capitol riots and how barely any shots were fired at the rioters. Since George Floyd, there have been more police shootings against unarmed Black men. George Zimmerman is still walking free. And hundreds of thousands of Black men are in jail/prisons for nonviolent crimes.

I’ve been maced and handcuffed unjustly by the police. I’ve witnessed Black men get passed over for a promotion at work by a White man for a White man. I’m making minimum wage and I’m barely paying my bills every check. Sometimes I go to sleep at night with nightmares about how I’m going to make it. As Black men, we wake up everyday feeling like the system is against us. Then, we go throughout the day dodging land mines and trying not to get the police called on us for being ourselves. AMERICA IS A RACIST COUNTRY.

We Were Animals

Born of blood and pain
Savagery was the game

Pack animals
Wolves on the hunt

Huddled in tribes
Dancing to our native rhythms

We hungered for more
Searching for God in nature
But our nature was godliness

We planted
We cultivated
We built
We dressed up in fine cloths
We made machines more powerful than us
We became slaves to the money we made
All the while yearning
For a return to the watering hole

To a spear
To flesh
To blood

A rebel yell from the soul
A primitive scream
Murder, death, kill
A nightmare made real

Since the beginning of time
We’ve raped and pillaged
The Spartans threw weak babies off cliffs
Men do not know the definition of peace

We made love to our women
With unbridled passion
The fire that burns for them
Is unquenchable
Our aggression in bed
Is evidence of God’s true savagery

Therein lies the secret
God is holy
But he also made the devil
Everything comes from Him
Including the savagery of it all
We were made in His image
So to be savage is to be God

By Thomas Agbonyitor

Red sea

Lost in a world of nothingness
Delusions trap my mind

Drowning in a sea of internal tears
I can’t swim to the surface

I choke on my own saltwater
I spit up blood

It envelopes me like a flame
Now I’m swimming in a red ocean of blues

The blood, thick with poison
Serenades me
It cradles me to sleep

I dream of a dew dripped,
sun kissed meadow, hereafter

But wake up drowning.

By Thomas Agbonyitor

A Reflection

There is no power in Blackness
There is only power in you and me

Blackness is not real
White men made it to keep us in chains
Igbo, Yoruba, Ewe
Our tribes are our identities
The Atlantic Ocean washed us into one blood

So now here we are
Joined in color
A shared history
of overcoming adversity

MLK
Malcolm X
Harriet Tubman
The list goes on
of individuals putting us on

Imagine one million MLKs
marching on the mall
Or one million Harriet Tubmans
freeing themselves

Nowadays with Google and hard work
you can free yourself
So, why aren’t we free?

How to Overcome Racism in America

We are in dark times. The coronavirus pandemic. Police brutality. Riots. The Trump Presidency. We have stay at home orders. Unemployment is at an all time high. There are a lot of reasons to feel scared. The future feels uncertain. I want to look at this from a different angle. I want to offer reasons for hope.

The riots are a good sign. It means people are upset at a system that was already failing. It’s been long overdue for America’s racist institutions to revolutionize. That was a good step.

Now is the time for every American to recognize his or her own power. It’s one person, one vote. As terrible as his presidency has been, every American should be voting Trump out of office in November. That won’t happen. We won’t get everyone, but we can still win.

Also, we need to participate more in local elections. That is where a lot of the legislative and judicial battles are won. That’s where we can win the fight against police brutality and racist institutions as a whole.

As Blacks, we need to take our culture back. A lot of our music, movies and TV are stereotypical, offensive and harmful, especially mainstream rap music. That is not entirely our doing. A lot of times, the powers that be force entertainers to make a certain type of film, show or music out of their own racist agenda, which cannot be separate from the larger mechanism as a whole. But, we’ve got our own movie studios and record labels now. Artists have more freedom. We just need to recognize it and stop supporting trashy entertainment.

We need to improve education. Schools in the inner city are a travesty. We can fix that. Either we can give them more state funding or we can rezone schooling districts to distribute wealth more fairly or come up with a more even way to distribute money to schools than through property taxes. And curriculums have to change. We can no longer teach Black students their history starts as slaves. Don’t leave out the part where we were kings and queens in Africa. Again, a lot of this depends on voting. We need to support candidates with these platforms. A lot of independent charter schools are popping up. Let’s keep that up.

And, finally, we need to get wealthy. Studies have shown that the biggest factor which determines someone’s wealth in life is the wealth of their parents. White people got a major head start, no doubt. We weren’t even allowed to own anything. In fact, we were considered property. But, it’s 2020 now. There are wealthy Blacks out here who aren’t celebrities and they walk among us, hiding in plain sight. We should learn from them. Google is our friend. A lot of wealthy Blacks have blogs and YouTube channels teaching us how to do what they did. We should network within our community and take care of our own. Black Wall Street happened because O.W. Gurley bought the land in Tulsa and would only sell it to Black people. He was a free thinker, enterprising and proactive. In 2020, that’s the type of attitude we need. And, we need to stay strapped, in case racist Whites want to bomb us again.

Strange Dream

It’s the strangest dream
living in this black body
staring at my dark skin
laying in bed
in the TV glow of night

I wonder
Why am I hated for this?
It’s just melanin
It’s just skin
I know that
looking through my eyes from within

What do they see
when they look at me?
Should I wash my black off
so I can be free?

I am not safe
not even at home
The cops can bust into my home
with a no knock warrant
They can kneel on my neck
They can shoot me in the chest
or my back
My being is constantly under attack
because I’m black

Programmed with hate
They see black and see enemy
They see threat
They don’t know
I just want to live, laugh, love

Oppression weighs on my chest
as it heaves trying to sleep
My thoughts racing
with all these causes to defeat
Racism feels like everything

Then I have my epiphany
They can pepper me with spray
Tear me with gas
Pierce me with bullets
or drown me in the sea
They can do whatever they want to me
But they cannot kill my inner being
They cannot kill a soul who dreams

By Thomas Agbonyitor