Excerpts. 6

“I began to feel that something more than a national trophy case was needed if I was to be truly free, and for that I have the history department of Howard University to thank. My history professors thought nothing of telling me that my search for myth was doomed, that the stories I wanted to tell myself could not be matched to truths. Indeed, they felt it their duty to disabuse me of my weaponized history. They had seen so many Malcomites before and were ready. Their method was rough and direct. Did black skin really convey nobility? Always? Yes. What about the blacks who’d practiced slavery for millennia and sold slaves across the Sahara and then across the sea? Victims of a trick. Would those be the same black kings who birthed all of civilization? Were they then both deposed masters of the galaxy and gullible puppets all at once? And what did I mean by ‘black’? You know, black. Did I think this a timeless category stretching into the deep past? Yes? Could it be supposed that simply because color was important to me, it had always been so?”
— Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me

“Digestion begins in the mouth. If digestion does not begin in the mouth, then look out for indigestion. Indigestion means no digestion. No digestion means no assimilation. No assimilation means no body-building. No body-building means dissolution and death. When a person eats poorly cooked food, his body is not properly nourished. A poorly nourished body produces an unhealthy mind. A person who is poorly nourished quickly turns to stimulants, such as alcohol, to give him a feeling of well-being, which should have been supplied by properly cooked food. Nothing is so damaging as ignorance.”
George Washington Carver – June 29, 1936

“There is another world,
but it is in this one.”
~Paul Éluard

“Never run back to what broke you.”
-Madam CJ Walker

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”
― Sylvia Plath

Compiled by AfroDamus Jonze in collaboration with the WordSoundPower Collective.

Ars Poetica III: Writes of Passage

        “The dreamers are the saviors of the world.”
                            -James Allen

However you like, just do it
As though you were riding a unicycle
Never letting go of the invisible
Handle you have on the landscape of
Memories & language of your dreams
With eyes wide looking for that
Maiden voyage still inside
You as though tomorrow will never

Even if it’s just scrupulous scribbles

Obsessed with observant
Tendencies that vers libre tends
To lend to its pupils who
Have risked the poetry of
Dangling, as words devote
Measures of metaphor
To the rapture of never
Separating life from its

Your soul is saturated
In the tainted tinges of your
Painted angels
& demons, as though
Experienced in the great
Unexpectations of
Life, tuning in the electric
Music of the muses
Alive 24/7/365, & taking stance
In the artful orgy of your soul’s
‘Til your faculties crash, then dream
Yourself a beacon in the world,
Churning an undeniable alchemy of
Prosody until the poem’s an epitaph
Immortal as the scroll of your soul
Only to be awakened by those same
Bearers of dreams still to come….

Even when pandemonium’s
Your only peace of mind

Like poetry were your pottery wheel

Of perpetual ponderings, your
Solitary sustenance of survival
Molded by all of the strangely

Familiar moments trying to stay out
Of art’s way, as today melds meaning
& solders the sonder of serendipitous
Verses, free to be whatever you want

To be –

Like now
Is the truth

Like now
Is forever;


Ars Poetica

        For Archibald MacLeish

With motives of not meaning
But being, poetry

…in the cracks & crevices of the mind

Where the sound of every syllable
Has its own unmistakable 
    Wondering & pondering
(Without permission or
Even decision) where upon
Instinct is the only

…in the secret garden of Sol

Where impossible dreams put on
No airs, necessitating an ear
To the ground
While walking tightropes, for 
We are verses made conscience of our
Own voices reverberating
By word of mouth…it is there, word jazz

Body & soul
Conversing with the cosmos.


Ars Poetica II: an Anomaly of Love

The scroll of my soul
Is an anomaly of
Love, consecrated

As a hybrid of prosaic mosaics
& pyrotechnic poetics,
                                          that sees
Color in sound
Through the vibrancy
                                          of my beating

The scroll of my soul
Divines my rite of passage
In words that matter

Bearers of dreams still to come
(in spite of the crosses
                                            to bear)
Walking waves less
Paved by the masses
                                         yet chosen by


Excerpts. 5

“If our study of Black history is merely an exercise in feeling good about ourselves, then we will die feeling good. We must look at the lessons that history teaches us. We must understand the tremendous value of the study of history for the re-gaining of power. If our education is not about gaining real power, we are being miseducated and misled and we will die “educated” and misled.”
— Amos N. Wilson “The Falsification of Afrikan Consciousness”

“What good are my visions or your visions, beautifully and laboriously worked out in art, if the purpose of it is not to save the something in our souls and make it all beautiful.”
~ Jack Kerouac

“Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging.”
—Joseph Campbell

“Where there is no struggle, there is no strength.”
—Oprah Winfrey

“Look at the birds. Even flying
is born

out of nothing. The first sky
is inside you, open

at either end of day.
The work of wings
was always freedom, fastening
one heart to every falling thing.”
–Li Young Lee

Compiled by AfroDamus Jonze in collaboration with the WordSoundPower Collective.