Tag Archives: ferguson

Allegiance, a poem for “Rebel”


like rusted barbwire
nothing gets past me
over me

Never Bow
nothing can get through to me
but your mixtures of smiles and advice
and now, that can only touch me through rain / Mama I miss you

my doubt outruns ruined panty hose
going back and forth like a father to work / a mother to prayer

Write a song for yourself
one that can march
when your walk is crooked
and your back is misguided

A song of allegiance
that can speak
when your twisted tongue is to capacity with
blues and sours and thorns

A song that pledges allegiance
to bodies that abandon couches and beds
but comfort the concrete slabs of
Oakland / Ferguson / Baltimore / New York

Blow the horn
Live to tell

Rebel Continue reading Allegiance, a poem for “Rebel”

he Howled / no cry (a prose)



It’s a boy.

That puppy love brought forth a boy, Junior.  He was the first child and the first son.  He will be a junior.

and there were tears. soft cries of joy.

and Junior was ambitious.  he climbed for freedom from his playpen and the security gate    / he had his father’s eyes.  Junior

and his father’s hefty build.  shoulders, a parallel span to the sky.

and speaking of skies, Junior told his father with a trembling voice,

he saw “Satan chasing the angel and the angel running into the face of God”

and his father chuckled until he saw the picture sent from his son’s cellphone.  then he believed him /
Continue reading he Howled / no cry (a prose)

When We Arrived presents: Destroy in Order to Rebuild (Ferguson) a poem by Natalie Patterson

“A riot is the language of the unheard.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

This is not about a single boy being shot and killed in the street
This is about black boys being shot and killed in
the streets by a white men who took a vows to protect and serve
And how too often for the comfort of other black bodies do the shooters go free

This is not about Michael Brown
Not about Darren Wilson
But I wish it could be 

This is about america and its broken promise for freedom
About children not growing into adulthood
This is about a community continually being asked to have grace in the face of our children being murdered
About life spans being cut short
This is about buried bodies and eulogies

This too is about Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Oscar Grant
About justice being elusive
About rage and war
About white people not owning their racism
About white guild and obliviousness
THIS is about an anger you can not comprehend from the luxury of your privilege
So be mindful of your mouth because the world is listening
Listening to the lack of compassion for a community in mourning
No, broken windows will not bring him back but it sure does drown out the sound of sobbing
Sure does distract from the confirmation that we live in a place that doesn’t give a fuck about my existence
Mutes the realization that people will call you an animal for expressing rage in the only way you have left
This is about race 
And how normal it is not to care about people that don’t look like you
Easy to speak to something you know nothing about

Have you ever seen life leave a body?
Ever felt wronged and had not a thing you could do about it?

This anger is about having to explain to white people on twitter and instagram why buildings are being burned
Because that is the only way to get your attention
Standing politely asking to have a conversation about race breeds discomfort and moans about playing the race card but
What do you know of being born black?
What do you know of the conversations black parents must have with their children about the way the world will treat them?
What do you know of a mourning like this?

I ask you these things because this is where healing begins
The second we get past political correctness and tell the truth
It is hard to wake up somedays knowing people that look like me are used as target practice
Knowing that my brother has not and may NEVER be safe
That I am safer because of the illusion my skin and eyes provide
The truth is, some days I want to hide from embarrassment because we are so disconnected from humanity
Value things over life itself
Choose to ignore the complication of rectifying inequality
and wonder why buildings are burning

Do not confuse the fire during a riot as misplaced rage
They are sending smoke signals to the ancestors
Begging for the justice our government fails to provide
Ferguson is performance art
Find the meaning in the broken glass
In the de-constructed police cars
Find the irony in how quickly the tear gas flies from hands meant to protect
Their voices have been ignored but these burning buildings cannot be

I pray we find our humanity
Find truth and justice
Learn to listen past our bigotry
and let this city destroy in order to rebuild.


When did you know you were a poet?

It took me a long time to believe that what I was writing in my room could fall under the same category as the greats. I really struggled with claiming that title but I remember asking Brutha Gimel, a fellow poet, when I first was beginning to take myself seriously how I would know when it was ok to call myself a poet. His answer was simple “You don’t have to tell a tree it’s a tree.” That has always stuck with me. I have always known I wanted to say important things, it took until I was 20 to know that poetry would be the way I would do it.

Do you have a favorite style of poetry? If so, what is it?

I really love free verse. There is a structure to my writing naturally so I don’t need rules. I started writing for the freedom of it, so free verse it is.

What can poetry teach us about life?

Everything has transferable truth. Every single thing. Therefore, poetry has the possibility of teaching us everything we want to know. It is the wise person who can learn from listening or reading and fully understand the experience without having to learn it by doing. I have learned so much about the world by listening to people sharing the way they see and experience life.


Natalie Patterson is a poet with the heart of a photographer, she is about capturing the moment. She started her journey with poetry at the age of 19, while in College at California State University, Los Angeles. She spent 10 years at the nation’s largest poetry venue and worked her way to being the first female host and producer in the 17 year history. Natalie has traveled the country on a college tour, has appeared in film, tv and documentaries. She has been Director of Poetry for Collective Voices Foundation and currently is Vice President of SisterSupport.org, a non-profit committed to the advancement of women. When she is not traveling for speaking engagements, consulting for Sephora or teaching her workshop Re-Connecting: Vulnerability & integrity, she is working on new ways to use her voice to inspire other to live fully self expressed. To find out more about Natalie or her work: www.natalieispoetry.com

Political Focus in college SGA and BSU



Allow me to introduce Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr., the parents of the unarmed young man gunned down in Ferguson, Mo. in August, Michael Brown Jr. aka Mike Brown.

The images from this tragic incident have quite powerfully paralleled to that of images from the civil rights movement.  Images from all over the world that prompted political attention and involvement from communities in Mexico to parts of China.  In my opinion, some of the most significant photographs came from colleges and universities that participated in the “Don’t Shoot”
Continue reading Political Focus in college SGA and BSU

Ferguson: no longer important?; Still Very Potent

The media has moved on to something else.  The murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. is now old news and the country is in an uproar over Nick and Mariah getting divorced and Ebola making its’ way into the states.  Just like the country was in nation wide support and rallies for the “Bring Back Our Girls” distress from Nigeria, we have now obeyed the media and moved our emotions elsewhere.  But this little town in Missouri has vowed NOT to be satisfied with being told, “justice will be served.”  No, not this town!  While we sleep, they take shifts and keep the city officials on their toes with protests and sustained organizing until they can speak in past tense, “justice has been served.”
Continue reading Ferguson: no longer important?; Still Very Potent

a map can assure this once was a quiet suburb; ferguson, mo.

it’s not a feeling.  it’s more like a sting.  I don’t believe a sting is a feeling, it’s more like an impulse.  a flicker or tease of a taste.

and the taste is a jar of honey left open during the month of August.  it has remnants of sweetness but only the frame provides certainty it was honey.  only the map can assure us it used to be a quiet suburb of st. louis.  the city of ferguson, missouri.  which is the sister city to sanford, florida and detroit and atlanta and chicago and new york and… and.

the city connects corners of churches to grocery stores and movie theaters to court houses.  there are miles of studied architecture on houses of bungalow, cottage and manor homes that are primly arranged around squares of cemeteries.  and the neighborhood has picked up traffic over the past few years. but the neighbors don’t complain. in fact they don’t notice.  their big houses have big mortgages and so they work during the day and then through the night.

Continue reading a map can assure this once was a quiet suburb; ferguson, mo.