The Fourth Annual Poetry Battle of ALL the Sexes

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.