Summer Spotlight: “Revision”
by Allington “Dante” Dottin
Slated for publication in Don't Shake the Spoon, Fall 2017
This Poem–is revision1
1 This is a one line poem. This is a one line poem. This Poem was conceived by a thought impregnated by Sha’condria . . . This Poem demanded itself into being . . . existed, and then . . . insisted on being unlike any other This Poem poem . . .
This Poem is not to bust shots or drip lust or lead . . . Even though Its Author is, This Poem is not compelled to be hip-hop or like it must Dred . . . Just like its Author, This Poem is All-Red . . . Yet This Poem listens intently & seriously considers everything this crip poem just said . . .
This Poem recognizes that the true enemy doesn’t live in rust red . . . brick, dilapidated tenement houses . . . but in the white marble colonnaded ones . . . that, with discrete precision, frames children for failure, imprisons, fathers in freeze frames, and this division, forces mothers to cross-dress (parentally speaking), in the absence of spouses . . .
This Poem rhymes, but it doesn’t have to . . . This Poem has a choice . . . like the option to sit in the front of the bus simply to pay tribute to Its Mothers’ Mandated Manners, yes, the honor of relinquishing this convenient perch to an Elder Manuscript . . . Or, a really pretty Poem . . .
This Poem has the option to sit in the back, for observational purposes, daydreaming on that really pretty poem until those thoughts coalesce and conceive to pro-create little sticky pad poems . . . that get raised into full white sheets . . . Without the white sheet mentality . . . Or the Black Hoodie fatality rate . . .
This Poem gives good advice . . . even though, it might make the poem It is advertising even better than Itself . . . This Poem gives away performance tips, techniques & tricks for when you get stuck, because. . . well, who wants to win because the other poem got stuck?
This Poem wants to win the crown fair and diamond-esque . . . even if it’s only by point-fucking-one . . . It wants to stand tall, pushing out its chest, for a full 31 seconds of glory, and THEN . . . Be sincerely humble about it, for the rest of the entire year . . .
This Poem overstands, that everything does not revolve around This Poem . . . and when It does display that alarmingly human trait . . . It gets over it. It overcomes its insatiable desire to always be center stage, thereby allowing someone else the spotlight for a minute . . . or three . . .
This Poem wishes slams could be judged & won based solely on crowd response, but only if they are all complete, absolute strangers to everyone here, and . . . preferably in tears . . .
This Poem lobbies for an emotional BS detector on stage, so when This Poem chokes up (as it invariably will), when ink runs freely from the three eyes adorning the right side of Its face, all would realize that it is not affectation . . .
This Poem knows, intimately, why Its Author can never complete, from start to finish, the piece entitled, “Why I Write” . . . not even in practice . . . or in a workshop . . . or in the shower . . . This Poem wants the shower session all to Itself . . .
This poem rails . . . but now opts to offer solutions—or at least provoke and suggest thoughts of one—right alongside the issue being railed at . . . Challenging? Yes . . . But This Poem feels up to it . . .
This poem is part of Exchange-for-Change . . . and that means something . . . It means This Poem can be exactly how It is . . . and that’s okay . . . But It better not stay that way . . . I mean, It can be essentially the same poem, but the consciousness and/or compassion of the writing must continue to flow . . . And it is virtually impossible for This Poem to cause Its Author to grow as a Writer, without growing as a Person . . .
This is a one line poem, with a really long footnote justifying why . . .
This Poem is Revision.
Allington "Dante" Dottin
Modern Day Slavery
written by Black Sufi
published in The Change Agent, Issue 40, March 2015
Today’s prisoners are chained by more than physical security measures. They are also chained by the tunnel vision of lawmakers, the disinterest of the public, and the policies of the Department of Corrections (DoC). The DoC’s policies and priorities are supposed to center around care, custody, and control of inmates, but the rule-changes over the last couple of decades illustrate a focus on control,repression, and profit.
written by Heather Coffey
published by Prison Express, summer 2015
Open your eyes, tell me what it is you see
Do you know me truly or am I just who you want me to be?
You judge me for my husbands skin is shades darker than mine
Continue Reading...(Page 9)
Roots of Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System
written by Richardson Francois
published by The Change Agent, Issue 40, March 2015
Racial disparities in the criminal court system in this country are for real. Here are some cold hard facts for anyone who thinks otherwise:
For every black man who graduates from college, 100 others are arrested.
Ten times more black youth are arrested for drug crimes than white youth. But, according to research by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, black youth are actually less likely to use drugs than white youth.
written by Anonymous
The prison is being attacked by computers. One hundred years ago, when someone talked about a star in the sky, it was a planet or a sun in another galaxy and now it is a satellite. The sat-a-lite in the sky. The prison has smoke clouds all around it, because they are setting the woods on fire. I was told that they set the fires to make the trees grow back correctly. The smoke clouds make strange shapes that planes have to up through to Providence R.I. The sky is gray. The sky here in Miami, FL is very bright, colorful and beautiful. The forest is on fire because we are in hell.
Theme: Keeping Peace
written by Sandra Sysyn
published by Prison Express, Summer 2015
I’d always been a peacekeeper, a tiny sheriff in a grownup town. Innocence was my side iron and I waved it recklessly as I stood at the top of the stairs. From that height, I must have been an imposing sight to the only two people I had to teach me how to love...
written by Catherine LaFleur
published by Prison Express, summer 2015
In order to survive in prison, sharing is a skill I had to learn. There have been so many times when I did not get the free weekly supplies: toilet paper, toothpaste, soap, toothbrush, sanitary napkins. Or I did not get enough of the free supplies. This is a very uncomfortable position to be in, gentle readers.
Continue Reading...(Page 19)
written by E. Martinez
How do you invite your 25 year old daughter to your funeral?
“Hey baby girl, come see Daddy die.”
She knows. They all know. It’s no surprise to anyone that I’ll be dying tonight. Wait. Murdered.
Murdered is the correct word. It suits the occasion. Tonight, I’m aware of the grim-reaper’s whereabouts. Tonight, they’re going to kill me. I’ve waited for this moment without wanting to wait for it. Now they’re waiting on me. And I’m sure they’ll be here soon. I’ve taken note. Death never runs late.
written by Michael Painter
I awoke last night, or so it did seem.
From something so strong, I thought it was a dream
My arms they did hold you, with such tender grace.
Then one of my tears fell on your face