Category Archives: Rhythm & Poetry

Rhythm & Poetry

Voice of the Silenced

February 22, 2013, by

For the second season of Hurricane Season course, we created artistic piece that illustrates a sharp connections between systems of oppression; in other words environmental problems. We had choice of how our artistic piece was going to look like; the three were conceptual, visual and poetic map or web. I chose to do a poem because it was the only thing I thought that stood out the most considering the issue. Writing a poem was a great fit for this project because I was able to complete it in time and people seemed to understand it which a big deal. An unnatural disaster that I chose was mountains being destroyed. I also had to focus on inner city of the U.S ( West Virginia) and compared it to South Africa’s issue in mountain mining. I did research, at least five reliable sources, to make my poem realistic and strong as possible. Bellow is my poem that inspires me even I wrote it my self.

by the time you read and understand this it will be already too late
late to save the mountains,
the shields that our earth had to suffer for,
all the pain she had to endure,
sacrifices she had to make,
to protect us, and support us
giving us a reason to live for,
a vision and a future to work for,
inspiring the weak and the poor that can’t survive the unfair environment
the injustice of the modern world surprises her;
getting bigger instead of getting smaller
even her cunning eyes couldn’t realize what was happening
until it was almost impossible to stop it.

Mountains destroyed
rivers in the valleys left to die
topsoil blown away by desperate wind
air not breathing freely
trees thirst to death
earth starved until she gives up
no one grateful for what she has to go through
to see us laughing and strong like the oak trees that survived Hurricane katrina
ungrateful for everything she sacrifices for us,
instead we are destroying her,
betraying her, abandoning her, hurting her with our greedy and needy,
hurting ourselves trying to live like gods
lying to ourselves that we are living the way we were destined to
Living the poor and the weak in to the ledge of the mountains
hopeless like a beautiful flower with no one to see it or smell it.

The rich are blinded by money
their only dream is to have even more
the rich in control of medeas
diseased trustworthy scientists,
turning them into traitors,
the poor blinded by fear
silenced and afraid that their voices won’t change anything
the rich buying mountains from the poor
buying the mountains to only be destroyed and left uncovered
even though covering the mountains to their original state was the condition,
many were left stripped and useless for development
nothing is able to grow freely
corporations able to get away with this madness
the whole of Virginia unable to stop this
the whole world silenced,
knowing the outcome.
our tortured earth abandoned
now nothing she can do to protect us
there’s nothing for her to do to stop the greedy that came to man
it’s too late for her to do anything,
but it’s not too late for us
saving the world and our mother earth is up to us now
we need laws of the earth more than we need laws of a nation right now
silenced people need to rise in order to make this world fair
twisted medias needs to rise against greed
laws needs to change like in South Africa
where people strike for a better world
fight for a just life.

as we rise, we save billions and millions of unheard lives
unseen mammals
unknown lives to come
our children and grandchildren
to live in a place they call our home instead of my home.

Image by: Trigo Fire, Manzano Mts. New Mexico, 2008.

How to Hunt a Poem @ LTAB 2012

February 24, 2012, by

The purpose of this piece was to write an individual poem for the LTAB competition and perform it.

I am proud of this piece because I did good with it and it took my worst fear away: being nervous in front of a crowd.

I learned that memorizing your poem is so important for the judges and the audiences, but mostly it’s good for you to help concentrate.

LN @ LTAB for the GCE Citi Zens from GCE on Vimeo.

Johnnie & Jennie van Rensburg, 2011.

Save The Mountains – Protest Song

November 7, 2011, by

The purpose of this piece was to choose a problem that is going on now in my community and to protest this problem through a poem or a song. I chose topsoil removal and conflict minerals, because they are everything: we need topsoil to survive. I had a partner who chose conflict minerals. Since these problems are connected, we had to find a way to connect our poems. In this piece, I discovered that whenever we destroy a mountain, we pollute water, kill history of people, and scare away wilderness.

How does a man destroy a mountain?
To strip its life, its gold.
Tin, tungsten, tantalum and timber,
Our earth will be annihilated before I grow old.

Stop, stop, think twice before you destroy…
something vital to the world, a traveler’s joy.
Nothing belongs to you, possessions are not real.
It belongs to every single one of us —
and the animals, the plants the surreal…
listen to other voices as you listen to yourself
Shut down whatever you are doing and listen
Listen and know why…
Top soil is everything, it will tell our story when we die.

Find out what…
you can do about it
we can stop this, if we come together
we can do this
if we don’t think to our-selves:
spit it out, what’s on your mind;
your thoughts WILL change the world.
We’ve been wrecking and digging the Congo since 1985,
for cell phones and laptops,
for 5 million lives.

How does a man destroy a mountain?
To strip its life, its gold.
Tin, tungsten, tantalum and timber,
Our earth will be annihilated before I grow old.

The Congolese are being robbed of the ground that they stand on,
their land is being excavated fumigated inebriated and planned on.
The country lives in mass fear,
the rebels inflict mass murder.

The Appalachian have been robbed of all of their beauty,
they are now barren, desolate and picked over.
How do you feel today… on your iPhone, in your Range Rover?

How does a man destroy a mountain?
To strip its life, its gold.
Tin, tungsten, tantalum and timber,
Our earth will be annihilated before I grow old.

It is earth who allows us to walk upon her
— are we too barbaric to live in harmony and honor?
Are we too ignorant to realize that destruction of a mountain
is an act of murder?
Are we too greedy to give the earth the love she gives us?

How does a man destroy a mountain?
To strip its life, its gold.
Tin, tungsten, tantalum and timber,
Our earth will be annihilated before I grow old.

View at the top of Gros Morne Mountain.

natalielucier (2010) View at the top of Gros Morne Mountain. Internet: Flickr.

Connecting Pow Wow to Burundi

October 5, 2011, by

I chose to study the rhythm Pow Wow to understand how it feels when you gather with people to get more connected. Every single element of Pow Wow is very important, because if one is missing, the others wouldn’t exist. The elements are: singing, drumming, dancing, rhythms, yelling. I will yell to be ready, I sing and drum to make the dance happen. I connected Pow Wow of native Americans to Burundi, where I am from, because we have similar dances, costumes and rhythms.

I used anapest (UU__ ) as metric to guide my rhythm, because anapest follows the Pow Wow beat while dancing, singing and drumming.

This poem is connected to one of my goals in the Global RAP Redux course: to breathe in rhythms, because it’s hard to breathe in rhythms you’re not familiar with.

Here is my poem…

I went through hard times that I didn’t even want to experience in my life.
Life is rough, you can’t change your destiny.
What’s written is never erased, unless you have the abilities to…

The singer holds the elements of Pow Wow in their throats.
Without dru-u-mming and sin-in-ger there wouldn’t be dancing.
They hold their backs at each other, as strong as a rock.
Without one, they all die.

I breathe and everything stops for a while.
I let my eyes see pow wow and my eyes fell in love.
Drumming is stretching.
Dancing is flying around the world.

The Pow Wow music laughs around native Americans.
Energy flows around over native Americans, want to dance.
Native Americans’s hope depends on pow wow.

Nature gives me ideas of living a bright life.
The spirits flew in the winds trying to join me.
The loudness and the colors I see are stentorian; they WOO AAAAYY!
The beat of my heart goes ta ta ta, telling

Exploring Pow Wow

September 22, 2011, by

The purpose of this piece was to choose a rhythm that you want to know more about and share it with the class.

In this video, I had to include adjectives that describe the rhythm of pow wow and a notation of the rhythm.
I chose “naturalistic” as one of my adjectives, because the things the Cherokee wear, do, or have are natural. I chose “invigorating” to describe their enthusiasm and energy when they are dancing and singing pow wow. I also chose “stentorian” because their voices, clothes and beats are loud when you see or hear them.

I included this particular piece to show you how pow wow is very helpful to understanding cultures.
What I learned from this piece was that you have to try new things to learn.

The Convention & Visitors Bureau, 2008.

How to hunt a poem

May 16, 2011, by

The purpose of this piece was to write a poem that relates to something that hapenned in my life.

I included this piece because I thought that you can be interested in it and I am proud of it.

I am proud of this piece because whenever I read this, I feel like I am going back to Africa, where I’m from.

I learned that to hunt a poem is not easy for the first time, but, if you keep practicing, you will have lots of progress.

~ Photo: Tree of Life (2007) by Mario Alberto Castillo.

My life is more like free in shapes and lots of breathing, but not enough.
My life is more than a rhyme in a sonnet.
My life as a refugee was hard, but hunting poems with arrows was easy.
Being in a forest is the scariest thing to other people; to me it was nothing.
In Tanzania, I learned how to hunt a poem with arrows; birds and poem were my first victims.

Running was the most important thing in my life as a refugee; it felt like reading a poem.
The first time I climbed a tree was so complicated, and I didn’t give up, as the poem kept telling me to breath and not to give up.

My life as a refugee depended on soccer, as I throw the ball with metric.
Playing soccer was similar to poems and sonnets, because I enjoy whenever I am doing them.
In my life as refugee, I learned lots of skills and tricks to become a better poetry hunter.

To hunt the poems, you have to try hard and stay focused,
so you can eat.

Iraq Inspired by Gandhi

May 16, 2011, by

I learned that an effective nonviolent action needs satyagraha, because you have to be brave to take the risk to do what’s right, not only for yourself, but for others too.

Satyagraha to me means the weapons of the brave, or to be ready for the great pain and suffer for others.

In my nonviolent intervention in support of Iraq, satyagraha means to be brave enough to suffer and fast for days, showing other people that you are not doing it for yourself.

Dear GCE students and staff, you may help me promote this satyagraha in Iraq by fasting for 24 hours on Wednesday. I will take a risk or be brave enough to do what is right for Iraqis. I hope you will participate on this.

*Video edited by GCE instructor Carlos Pittella-Leite.

LN Looking For Change

April 11, 2011, by

The purpose of this piece was to write a personal poem and a poem based on Myles Horton, a Civil Rights leader that I had to research, who faced segregation from 50 to 60 years ago. I chose this piece because it’s so interesting that anyone can change the future, we just don’t know how. The similar thing between the two poems I wrote is that both Myles Horton & I faced segregation and we both have a similar way of writing. In this poem, I learned that, if you wish something, you have to try hard to achieve it.

Myles Horton Freedom Song.

My name is Myles Horton. Most people know who I am.

I was born in July 5, 1905, in Savannah, Tennessee. I decided to go to Cumberland College in Tennessee to learn how to see people equal.

To go to college made me see a bright future, where all people have the same opportunities.

Where there is no segregation.

I worked hard to teach bible school classes to poor mountain people in Tennessee, but I learned something that wasn’t in my dream.

Before starting my own school, I decided to go to the University of Chicago, where I came up with the idea of starting a school.

I decided to open an “open to discussion school”, the Highlander Folk School, in the South.

In my school, I taught leadership skills to blacks & whites in challenge of segregation laws, which made my dream come true.

I always wanted this moment to happen and it finally became true.

I taught thousands of blacks and whites to challenge entrenched social, economic and political tightness of a segregated society.

I couldn’t give up, no matter what people said or did.

This was the only hope I had in my dream to come true and even though my dream was going to fail, at least I put the white and the black in the same metaphor.

As I taught classes, students learned a lot and they made many famous speeches, for instance, ” I have a dream”, which I am most proud of.

Most people are proud of me and my students who attended my school.

I thought it was hard to some of my students to read, but they showed me how hard they worked.

I felt bad when they closed my school in 1960, but my students had an opportunity to make their speeches.

I didn’t give up, because I had hope on my students and I waited till people protested, so the school could start again.

Finally, my school will be mixed and all people will have the same opportunities .

They will be treated equally and I promise my dream will be the thing I am proud of.

I can’t see the future, but I can feel it.

“God bless America”.

My Own Freedom Song.

My name is LN. I am also known as Mr. Connections, Mr. L, Lele, and “interesting”.
I was born in September 30, 1995, in Kaseke, Congo.
I decided to go to GCE High School to learn global culture and to have a bright future.
Going to GCE makes me feel like at home and protected.
Somehow, the school I was about to go to had some problems with violence.

All my life, I had been through tough times and I finally found a place to have peace.
When I was about eight years old, I realized that my country, Burundi, still has some kind of racism.
I believe there is racism still going on in some places.
From my country we have two “separation tribes”, Tutsi and Hutu.
They had a war against each other and many lives were lost, what made me feel uncomfortable.
My grandpa is a Hutu, so was my grandma, but playing with Tutsi didn’t bother me at all.
One day, I thought about how could I change the way the two tribes treated each other, but I couldn’t do anything because I was a child.
Now I am thinking about changing the way people treat each other in my country.
If I have the courage to change the way Burundians treat each other, I would be proud of my Self.
I feel like I will be a “connector” some day in the future and change this situation.

Someday, people won’t think about races, ethnic groups and religions — I am sure of it.
When I think of ‘sarvodaya’ I think of people treated equally with the same opportunities.
I hope I can change the segregation around the world.
I have faith in people who believe what they believe in.
“God bless you all”.

LN Apartheid Interview

April 5, 2011, by

The purpose of this piece was to do an interview with a person who is at least 15 years older than me; we had to ask this person what he or she knew about the apartheid. I chose this piece because I like it and I know many people would like to hear different thoughts about the apartheid. What makes me proud in this piece is that I got a chance to interview a person having prepared questions. I learned that segregation and apartheid are almost a similar situation and, once people separate, maybe there is a war.

Question (LN): Are you familiar with the word apartheid? If yes, what images & feelings come to you when you think of it?

Answer (Mr. PC): Yes, I am very familiar with the word ‘apartheid’ and there are always negative images for my mind, and when I think of it, I think back when I was much younger… probably. I think I became aware of it, either when I was in high school or college for the first time, because it was the way the White Afrikaners (South African government) by law, separated all of the white people in South Africa from all black. In South Africa, in every part of their life, whether where they lived, where they worked, where they eat or where they go to school. The two races of white and black were always separated, and the black South Africans were in every way put down by White Afrikaners, and I was very impressed, because it was unequal, because the whites had unequal opportunities with better schools, everything was better, South Africans didn’t have access to those things.

LN’s Life Changing Moment

March 30, 2011, by

The purpose of this piece is to write a narrative and had to use five senses, which are( sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell). I included this particular piece because I feel comfort sharing my story to others and get some feedbacks or comments. This piece makes me proud of my self because when ever I look at this piece I remember my complicated moments. I learned that you can’t give up when you don’t know what’s going to happen to you in the future.

My life is full of miracles. My parents are from Burundi. In Burundi there was a war in 1972 between Tutsi and Hutu, which made my family move to the Congo. They went to Congo by a boat. They had farms where they grew all kinds of vegetables and fruits, and they had ranch for cattle. 24 years later I was born. When I turned one year old, Rwanda started a war against Congo. My family was worried that we all could lose our lives. So we had to move to Tanzania to a refugee camp, where I was raised. We had to leave everything we owned in Congo in order to survive. My life as a refugee became harder and harder for me. When it was dark we always heard birds, dogs, and many other animals yelling and we couldn’t stand them. They were lucky because it was dark other wise we could’ve killed them or scare them.

It was hard to get water, food, and fire in the refugee camp. I was hungry everyday when I was little but I got used to it as I grew up. We went through difficult times where my life became in danger and harder for anyone to handle. In the refugee camp my grandpa had more than 50 ducks each month. Ducks were our only hope, only food to eat, and they tingled my tongue. They smelled like a chicken but ducks taste differently, they were very delicious. When I catch a duck my hand felt smooth and they are hard to catch.

I ran a lot of the times alone in the forest trying to learn how to hunt, and I also played soccer with my friends. Parents at the refugee camp warned their children not to play or run when it was too hot or humid. But one day I didn’t listen, I played soccer and went hunting in the sun, which was okay for one day. Next day, I did the same thing but, my eyes started to get white, my body temperature was high and my legs were too weak to walk or run. I ended up in a hospital where there was a lot of people crying. The doctor told me that my blood countwas low. It was because of hunger, running in hot and humid weather, and because I had malaria. At that time I thought that doctors couldn’t do anything to save my life so I started to lose hope, thinking that I would die soon. Doctors wouldn’t find a blood donor, but luckily my uncle had the same blood as mine. He donated blood for my transfusion, and I also had a surgery, which I don’t remember much of and my hips hurted for few days.

In the morning, I woke up in the hospital and saw other people who were sicker than me. I was empathetic about others, and I realized that if the same thing happens to a person I Would try my best to donate my blood.
Now I feel that my life changed since I came to America. I have a better education, I have food and I can get water easily here. I would do anything to change someone else’s life.
Now when I see homeless people I feel like I have the courage to help them. Maybe one day I will have the courage to be a hero.