#poetry -Inspiration

*Written after “Knoxville Tennessee” By Nikki Giovanni. This poem was written during a writing workshop led by Anthony Harrell Jr., a Peer Ambassador for RealTalkDC.

 

When it pours out

You will be a vessel

For the living;

For the untold story;

For the man behind bars,

And the shackles.

You will be siren

For mermaids still seeking their song;

For the princess of the harem,

And street rats

Choking on their stolen poison.

It will shoot out;

Arrows bowed in back-draft,

And marks drawn for target;

Swift,

Fierce,

Bloody rage of rant.

When it pours out;

It will feel natural,

Unlike the work of normal days.

#videos -Dwayne Shares at “Fighting Cancer With Poetry

Video from a few years ago. I performed at the first “Fighting Cancer With Poetry” event at Busboys and Poets. Since then, the series has taken off and will soon be starting a workshop series for giving people affected by cancer and opportunity to have their voice heard.

Black Paint on a White Canvas

Before the chop lol

*I wrote this poem when I was 17, I’m now 32*

 

Surrounded and speculated as a

speck to be hated,

as a speck underrated.

They expect me to be jaded,

But respect is my payment

For I’ve been ignored much to long.

 

Seen as an urban monstrosity,

Man in the monster of minorities,

man dealing with poverty,

and many mental injuries.

This is my insurance policy,

For pen and paper are my only voice.

 

Taking paper as my opportunity

To offer unity,

You repel it back to me

Improperly.

You offer me immunity

To positivity

for you’ve already reached ecstasy

in your community

While I continue to search for nirvana

 

Your art of lying is abstract,

Add yours, subtract blacks,

Delete my salary, make yours max.

We get no vote, yet we still pay tax.

Grab the brush, or just place me in wax,

for I’m still black paint on a white canvas.

#Videos – BTS – Moment2Movement Recording Session


I had the pleasure of working with New America to record 2 poems and have animated videos created to promote their cause. The video here is of the first recording session where I perform the full version of the poem. It would later be cut and edited for a shortened edition.

To see the final version, click here!

#poems: Snowbodies

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Are snowflakes depressed?

Jumping from the sky to crash into the earth

Do they see their lives flash before their eyes?

Evaporating from parents… holding on to friends in the night skies…

Do flakes enjoy the fall?

Feel the thrill of seeing it all go by so fast.

Do they cherish their moments together in the sky?

Do they have communities?

Hang out in Nimbostratus and play cards waiting for the chance to dive…

Do they get mad at the first jumper for being so brave?

Does that lone cluster of crystal know its fate…

Falling through the atmosphere and ending up in some tree…

On the ground melting… on some homeless guys jacket…

Or does that flake dare to believe

Dive with confidence…

Know about the children awaiting his arrival with hopes of the years first snow day…

Does that first flake ever suffer anxiety?

Wonder if anyone will notice its presence…

Will its friends follow suit, or continue to blow in the wind…

Like the flaky folk they are…

Do snowflakes ever question their purpose?

Sit in the waiting room and talk about life after condensation…

What it would look like if for one day they decided to stick together…

Cause a snowy revolution…

Jump at the same time and create a blanket of frosted beauty…

Are the disappointed when the plan falls through

Because some of them are always late…

Do they hope to see each other in the after life?

Melt assured that the sewer will hold family reunions…

Get excited when they see their friends on the ground

awaiting their arrival…

Pray for a safe landing…

Fall into the grasp of cousins that they never knew

…but feel happy to not be alone…

Do snowflakes fall in love…?

#Poetry -Amber Tambourines

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Amber scenes of tambourines

Shaking like children in winter rain;

Glistening in my memory like

Sunlight on grassy fields glazed by light dew.

That’s where you stand,

Filling cavities and drilling for secrets;

Beaming with laser-like precision you cut through radar,

Bounce sonar waves of the tip of your tongue.

My overnight bag aches for you.

Spontaneous queen lemming,

You call and I follow closer to oblivion

By the second.

Enjoying every moment as if I’m wishing for time

To catch up with the moments we’ve spent.

Just so I can laugh and mock him as he get jealous

Of the stories we shared without his presence.

We’re parallel and nothing could bring our planes down.

We crash into each others mouth,

Meeting death by the tongue,

And swallow each others spirit.

Taste like peace,

Taste like truth,

Taste like hope for yesterdays nightmares to

Turn the page and let it all begin again.

Amber scenes of you and I,

Mixing salsa gyrations into morning breath cocktails.

Sipping yesterdays slumber with today’s first sights,

Accented with a slice of lime and memories.

That’s what it should look like,

A snapshot of tomorrow on today’s outdated Polaroid.

Cause its all time gone within a flash.

This time, of time, our time.  We rewind

Tape players, VCR’s Digital cameras

To watch what would lead to this encounter.

What would cause me to put words into rhythmic pattern?

And what would cause you to

Take my shaking hand when offered for a dance.

Why 17 syllable blurbs of emotion spilled on cell phone keypads

And seeded full-length poems.

Why we still stand here now.

With no umbrella or shield type thing;

Cold from the rain, still shaking like amber tambourines.

#Video – “A Guide For Black Folk Living In America”

 

As promised, I’m making efforts to publish twice a week. On Mondays, a poem; Fridays, a video. Today’s video is of me performing a poem about racial adversity in the U.S. As we all know, its quite… tense here. It has been for a long time. These are just some of my thoughts.

Venue: Spit Dat DC

Videographer: Jenny V

#poetry – “Like Heat Vapor” or “On Rising”

I’m tired.
On nights when I fly alone
After long shift
Of no overtime pay;
Of telling people they have chlamydia;
Of stressing about paying for Darius’ tuition;
If the man behind me is planning to snatch my bag;
If I will make it home to my weight gaining mother and forgetful grandma;
To my bickering parents mirroring my families past;
To the woman I am not allowed, seeing her break under the pressure of their bullshit…
After a day full of wanting to leave;
I get here
To lose my voice in passion.
In yelling and celebrating and Reprimanding people talking during the open mic.
To share my welts like pulsating rainbows;
The pink meat beneath brown flesh, a dish truly rare.
There have been nights when if could have perished only to receive your applause.
An ebbing flow of martyr and witness;
As we die, we are fed;
My pain can help you heal so I share.
This is not my poem.
This is every wounded dove flying again, The wind and the wane
So you can believe in hope.
The open mic is burial site and resurrection.
We die for this moment…

For love.
To have our words fall,
To have you catch me;
Be reborn in quotes and mentions
and better intentions.
To be alive tomorrow.
This is a labor of love.
A birthing of rites
Of writing our wrongs
Of reciting our nights.
Knighting our friends and crowning our selves survivors.
Whether prince or pauper
King, Queen or unclaimed royalty;
we rise.
In love, we all rise.

For those who were at my spit dat feature, this was the piece I closed the set with. It speaks to the burnout we as artists and host face; the struggle endured to even be involved in the arts. And ultimately, it speaks to the love that brings us all back. It’s more than performance and hot lines. Poetry and spoken word continues the be the heart still beating as it’s served to strangers. It is visceral, gory, and beautiful when respected. Respect the art. Respect and support the artist.

Dwayne Does La-Ti-Do!

This is a collection of the poems I’ve performed at La-Ti-Do.


What is “La-Ti-Do” you ask?

Curated and hosted by Don Michael Mendoza and Regie Cabico, La-Ti-Do made its debut to a full house in Washington, DC on January 23, 2012 at The Black Fox Lounge in Dupont Circle and since then, it has become Washington, DC’s premiere musical theatre cabaret and spoken word series to serve the DC artistic community on a weekly basis. The show then opened a touring chapter in New York City on June 9, 2013 at Bowery Poetry Club and continues to do so on a monthly basis. Currently, the show is housed at Bistro Bistro in DC made a special appearance at 54 Below in New York City. Past musical performers include Helen Hayes Award nominees and recipients: Nicholas Rodriguez, Priscilla Cuellar, Diana Huey, Nova Y. Payton, Erin Driscoll, Matt Conner, Chris Sizemore, Will Gartshore, and Joshua Morgan alongside international spoken word artists: Gail Danley, Sonya Renee Taylor, Sophia Walker and Vijai Nathan.

For More on La-Ti-Do click here!

I want to thank Don Mike Mendoza and Regie Cabico for having me! I was my absolute pleasure!