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Diamond Mason, performing at IWPS 2019 in San Diego, CA.
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This poem is titled "I Didn't Get the Job but I got a Damn Good Poem out of it." One, this week a boy died protecting his classmates from a gunman And this week a room full of mostly white men Decided that a miscarriage may be worth a death sentence. As if one loss isn't enough, this week a generation was condemned And these men rejoice, cheersing drinks And praying over their food while bullets preyed on pre-teens. Two, I learned that good form was women and children first. I didn't think it meant to the slaughter. Three, they want me to be able to move to Birmingham But I want my future babies to have a mother not a martyr But they keep killing children, Keep damning people who look, live, and love like I do, Keep Emmett Till-ing the land and burning their hate within us And watering it with blood and pointing to the sky at a God They hold accountable for evils done by their hands and call it blessing, Call the bleaching of bloodlines a baptism. Four, you can find the oldest branch of my family tree in Birmingham. There is no record of us before this place, Just stories and songs and a desire to survive, So I write and I sing and I keep pushing forward And I remember that we have never been free of what happened here. So five, I don't just want reparations, I want justice! I want what we paid for with our tongues and our bodies and our village names. I want my fucking country back. My family did not build all of this
for these hateful white men And Birmingham is my blood right. Four, so storytime. Some stray Becky that I ran into about a week ago After a brief conversation on bloodlines, bone structure, and last name Asked me, "No but where are you from from?" And I bite my tongue like a wood block at the shock of her audacity And clap back to her bass-ackward sentiment With a side eye fit for Egyptian goddesses.
I wanted to ask her, "Where is hip-hop from? What about soul music and blues?
Have you ever heard of jazz? Has anybody ever questioned their heritage
and when they answer do you question it?" But I recognize her ignorant attempt at validation, Thinking that if she knows the story then it is worth something, Wants me to be worth something. But when I say where I am from, I mean, Three, I am tied to this place by blood, both that in my veins And that which not so long ago wet the soil this city sits on, So how can I say no to home. Two, when I learned the phrase "All men created equal" I asked my teacher what about the women and they laughed. One, a headline of Amber Evans flashes across my screen As Christina Aguilera wails in the background, And I am left to weep over all the possibilities Now laid out in front of me. ♪ <i>And I'm going to pay for this</i> ♪ ♪ <i>And they're gonna burn me at the stake</i> ♪ ♪ <i>But I got a fire in my veins and I wasn't made to fall in line</i> ♪ So, here's to breaking chains. (cheers and applause)