The Fourth Annual Poetry Battle of ALL the Sexes

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    by Tiny, aka Lisa Gray-Garcia

    The Fourth Annual Poetry Battle of All the Sexes was hosted by your favorite revolutionary poets, media-makers, poverty scholars and cultural workers at POOR Magazine. Each year there is a “fighting” theme; this year it was “Mixed Martial Arts” and each battle was held in an 8-foot “cage” built by artist Will Steel at the Sub-Mission Gallery in San Francisco’s Mission District.

    This year’s “battle” was MC’d by trans-Latina beauty Alexandra Byerly, who works with the revolutionary group El La and judges were La Mesha Irizarry, Devorah Major and Laure McElroy. It was a benefit for the poor and indigenous people-led grassroots arts and media organization POOR Magazine/Prensa POBRE.

    Here are the first, second and third place winners’ poems. The poets’ unorthodox, creative spelling has been left as they wrote it.

    First place winner

    The first place winner – in the battle of Educated Ghetto Gurl vs. The Society – is Jewnbug!

    EDUCATED GHETTO GURRL

    by Jewnbug 2011

    BORN IN A PLACE

    CONDITIONED FOR DEATH

    RAISED ON GOVERNMENT CHEESE

    PARENTS TARGETED TO BE DOPE FEENS

    HOUSELESS N HUNGRY

    SOCIETY WANTS ME TO BE IGNORANT

    BUT AIN’T NO DUMMY

    GOT WIZE TO THA MIZEDUCATION

    OF YO SURVEILENCE

    PROJECTS

    PUBLIC SKOOLS

    PRIZONS

    US MILITARY ENLISTINGS

    NEVER ASSIMILATING OR LISTENING

    STAY THUG LIFE

    RESISTING

    RISING TO THA TOP

    SINGING GHETTO SUPASTAR!

    CONSCIOUSNESS

    CULTIVATED UNDERGROUND

    CAN’T AFFORD YO BRAND NAME LABELS

    MAKING MY FASHION TALK OF THA TOWN

    REBEL WITH A CAUSE

    SPEAKING OUT AGAINST

    YO POLICIES, PROTOCOLS, LAWS

    PROHIBITED MY NATIVE TONGUE

    PIGEON

    SLANG

    EBONICS

    U AINT MY GOD

    N I AINT YO SON

    SPEAKING TOO LOUD TOO FAST

    CAUSING LYRICAL WHIPLASH

    I SMASH ON U

    U THINKING U MORE DIGNIFIED

    CUZ I ROCK A SHOELACE FO A BELT ON SUM JEANS

    PLEASE!

    U PUT ME DOWN

    THEN CAPITILIZE ON MY SWAGGER

    LIKE, “THAT’S HELLA GHETTO”

    I DON’T PLAY THO

    NO DIPLOMATIC TACTFUL RAGE

    STRAIGHT UP IN YO FACE

    U LABEL ME

    TROUBLE MAKER

    THAT’S CODE FOR

    TRUTH TELLER

    FO REAL FOR REAL

    NO FAKER

    I KNOW TRU ESSENCE OF SUCCESS

    DESPITE THE MESS

    OF YO CIVILIZED VEST

    MY INTEREST TO DO MORE THAN SURVIVE

    MANIFEST

    CAME WHEN I HELD MY HEAD HIGH

    WITH NO SHAME

    YEA IM FROM THE GHETTO

    N IM DOING BIG THANGS

    EDUCATED GHETTO GURRL

    SHE WAS KUNG FU FIGHTING

    SHE WAS ALWAYS WRITING

    EDUCATED GHETTO GURRL

    PUTTIN WHOLE SOCIETY ON TRIAL

    N BRINGING THEM TO THEIR KNEES

    Second place

    The second place winner – in the battle of Po’ Student Mama vs. Creditor Predator – is Vivian Thorp!

    CREDITOR PREDATOR

    by Vivian Thorp 2011

    Don’t call it a comeback… I’m under attack y’all …

    Creditor – Predator … for da’ edumaKKKation …

    Creditor – Predator … for da’ edumaKKKation …

    Da’ aUpgrade to Flash Player 10 for improved playback performance. Upgrade Now or More Info. answer machines re-playin’

    over n’ over again

    creditor haterz sayin’

    “aw’ hell nah’

    “we ain’t playin’…”

    Y’see, da’-gats-I-stow-on-da’-down-low-

    I ain’t stayin’

    Keepin’ perpetrators layin’ … no supa’ sayin …

    So get this one-son … mutha’fo-fo’ … I ain’t payin’

    Givin’ me pain

    make me insane

    freakin’ twistin’ my brain

    straight dumpin’ on my name

    ya’ perpetratin’ my shame

    while I’m caught up in da’ grind, jobless now losin’ my mind …

    jus’ tryin’ to earn my chedda’ …

    to get my game on betta’

    keepin’ my flow on the go

    undercover well you know…

    In the midst of this wickedness … it’s capitalist …

    internet money invisible

    click the box

    it’s dat’ simple

    kickin’ down on da’ cash flow

    mechanism-capitalism-insto-automated-bank-roll

    dat’ makes the world holla’

    wanna’ get tha’ paper?

    then I gotta’ pay dat’ phat dolla’

    Creditor-Predator yeah-ya’s wastin all yo energy

    houndin’ up on my ass fo’ da’ cash

    from here to eternity

    jankin’ my income tax

    I’m still livin’ in poverty

    student loan shark mutha’fo-foz’ … always huntin’ me

    Creditor – Predator … for da’ edumaKKKation …

    Creditor – Predator … for da’ edumaKKKation …

    Creditor – Predator … for da’ edumaKKKation …

    Don’t call it a come-back … I’m under attack y’all …

    Don’t call it a come-back … I’m under attack …

    From dat’ Creditor – Predator … for da’ edumaKKKation …

    Don’t call it a come-back … We’re under attack now!

    Third place

    The third place winner – in the battle of MamasisterdaughterQueen vs. Black Brother – is Dee Allen!

    OPEN DOOR

    by Dee Allen

    Every time you get together,

    Black women always

    Lament over their male counterparts.

    One sister would ask,

    “Where are all the good Black men?”

    Another sister would give

    The expected answer:

    “They in jail.”

    There’s no denying

    That if you look inside of any

    Jailhouse, you will find

    More Black men

    Than at a sold-out Wu Tang Clan show.

    Don’t forget, there are good Black men

    Outside the jailhouse walls.

    You’d quickly get with one

    If he has

    The right vehicle,

    The right house,

    The correct look

    And most importantly, the correct

    Amount of cash

    And lots of it.

    Security is what you seek, but doesn’t

    Every woman want that?

    I cannot speak for other brothers,

    Just on my own behalf.

    I have no vehicle,

    I live in the inner city,

    I’m not the B.E.T. Rap video thug

    Or the Ebony magazine overdressed gigolo type.

    I’m so poor.

    In your eyes, I’m this failed

    Experiment in adult life.

    Not a good provider for anyone.

    Target of a racist, classist society.

    But each day, despite all

    Obstacles & shortcomings, I’m trying to be

    A decent Black man.

    You haven’t lost me to a White woman,

    As many of you would claim.

    You haven’t lost me to the holding cell

    At some county jail.

    In fact, you cannot lose

    What you never had from jump.

    My door is always open

    To women of all skinshades & races.

    My door is open to you, too.

    There’s no discrimination policy.

    No turning away the procreator

    Of Black life.

    Pass through it and you’ll find

    Where one good Black man is.

    Tiny – or Lisa Gray-Garcia – is the consummate organizer, co-founder with her Mama Dee and co-editor with Tony Robles of POOR Magazine and its many offspring and author of “Criminal of Poverty: Growing Up Homeless in America,” published by City Lights. She can be reached at deeandtiny@poormagazine.org. Visit www.tinygraygarcia.com and www.racepovertymediajustice.org. Read more about issues of poverty and race written by the people who face them daily at POOR Magazine, www.poormagazine.org.

    2 COMMENTS

    1. Marlomn Crump. Jeremy Miller and I gace a 2 hours interactive Know your rights workshopd for Jewnbig middle school cals in the TL yesterday, the 2 teachers and stidents loved it ! one of the stidents, a young Mexican Anmerican kid, decided to intern with us at Education Not Incarceration, after participating !

    2. sorry for typos… I do know how to spell., but my neuropathic fingers miss keys a lot….

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