Arriving Excerpts

Excerpts from the Arriving In The Future Poetry Edition

A few of the primary themes addressed: Negotiating Identity, Body Politics, Nationality, Movement & Migration, Dreams & Reflections Upon Africa, Colonization, Home & Belonging.

RonAmber Deloney

Arriving In The Future

I was arriving in the future

Love in my back pocket and the sun in my dreadlocks

Passport cocked between my two fingers

Tears behind my eyeballs because the struggle in my living room still lingers with me

I stepped into the city. After myself.

The world is singing to me because I am all that’s left over from my grandmother’s shoulder to my mama.

Tears played across my living room

I am that melodrama

And the heir to all of the karma that found me with generations of excuses wrapped around me.

I stepped soundly into the growth trying to drown me in the fact

That I have the act to do things profoundly

If I can humble my soul to mumble my ancestors around me and hold tight

To the God that loves loudly in bright yellow my rainbow

I was arriving in the future.

Round edge up and head up like Medusa

Last time I had lines about the dopeness that useta

Inhabit the dopest who choose to

Chill in cuts with no cups to run over

My flow still refuse to abuse the muse

These days I choose self love over the gangsta’s bruise that wants to shoot me with a 12-gauge shotty then lick bodies like lollipops

The beat down never stops

So I keep going

I got my voodoo showing

Open chest, lest I get laid to rest with my best foot fucking around somewhere

Out of town somewhere

The universe will clown me

If I hit the dust with no gifts around me

I want the gold buried with me inscribed to say: the deeds I done were astounding

and when the genies come I want them to surround me

chant me loudly into the brown of the sound


I was arriving in the future.

back pack in tact

laughing at the smack that obstacles talk to my back as I walk past

Greater than good with this

cause I blast real fast


self-professed the best to do it over and over again

all the time/ I ain’t lying/ I can rhyme

but I don’t trip cause the lines write themselves

I just sit still and get free

flow with the flow that flows within me

flow with the flow that flows within me

flow with the flow that flows within me

unabashedly worth every penny you’d think to spend

on this trend settling in to your skin

give in

to the lion prancing through your Zen

calling you to bend your back and


Bob your head to the back and SCREAM

up out of your dream

I was arriving in the future.


Joe Dramiga

From the battlefield of intellectual warfare

 everybody listen up
 go beyond hearing and decipher through diction
 encrypted description 
of a racist mind

Don’t be blind 
and watch this caged thought 
I break it open 
through verbalization

 part of this nation

of the powers that be 
I’m a menace to society

As I walk through life’s stages 
I pour my heart and soul onto pages

Seems like these words are cursed 
everything is reversed 
I try to reach out but the world just f*cking hates me

They always slate me, debate me, and lately
 It seems impossible 
It aggravates me

Will anybody take me slightly serious?

I’m getting furious 
Dies ist meine letzte Warnung 
Zeig die Zähne und mein Lächeln ist nur Tarnung

A black child in depression 
most come to me for answers 
forgetting the question

Thus my efforts are fruitless

Explanations useless

Black and German?

A revelation
 I wonder ’bout this stupid nation’

Akosua Elisha


because i am outstanding i stand out,

outside of the circles that were drawn around me outside of the circle that was drawn

around my face my body the circle that was there long before me … and shall stay till the

last day

and i shall never fit in because i am outstanding

yet waiting for the overstanding that makes me understand why there is a need to be

inside why there is a need for a circle my mind is too wide

maybe that’s why I stand out my thoughts are too tightly coiled not following streams but

creating its own river that will flow powerfully through mountains even without any follower

in silence almost invisible only for the ones who use their eyes as an extension of their

brain that is romantically involved with consciousness and naturally sane

i stand out because i am outstanding

i was told i was lesser that my heritage determined my incapability of standing inside the


that my mentality was of a strange kind? “mentally weak” unspoken but by others

critically defined… used to think if they only knew me better, but now I know they did with

fear of me being introduced to myself.. and that’s why I had to be kept outside circles … lies

and tricks were put on my spirit heavy like bricks locking me into a cage of limited defining

options that appeared in as blend of darwin and flavor of love …

but by the quick tick and the hunted tock my brain outgrew the make believe and

rearrange the cage as a camp to learn why they need to define me once I realized the

cage is an alien square shaped circle I could simply break my spell to get closer to what

ever is called free

gladly predisposed too much for a circle

they cannot grasp my capable capacity and my eternal divinity of my mentally awakened


my mind can never again fit in their mouth

my mentality is so high they cannot pull it down

I am outstanding so I only can stand Out


Chantal-Fleur Sandjon

An Image in the Third Person

The image of one’s body is solely negating. It’s an image in the third person. All around the body reigns an atmosphere of certain uncertainty.

Frantz Fanon

Brazil Cuba & Martinique

when the question of origin

hits her hard

she bandages the wounds with

fictional ancestry

Her application for identity asylum

is still pending

fiction much more worth

than facts & fatherhood

in the gray zone of brown skin

Black by choice

or popular demand?

I say

the whole world is turning

into a benetton advert

[I picked that up at starbucks

last week]

She says

the skinhead did not ask

about her German mother

before spitting on her

And then

my smile

meets the silence

of her screams

I try so hard to understand her

She has stopped

holding my hand in public

Only nights turn her grays golden

through the touch of a stick girl

with noisy bangles

The dark is her canvas

she creates a world

in which butterflies eat skyscrapers

& burp sunshine in shiny bubbles

they burst at the sound of her alarm

& fade into the morning blue/s

Ahead of her:

you aren’t that black/ but

where do you really come from/ can

I touch your hair/ is

that your real name/ you

look so exotic

At the end of the day

she will be cut fucked silenced & excluded

by Goodwill & Curiosity

One night

she showed me her wounds

darkness was comforting the maggots

I gave her aspirin and turned on the TV

I think that

she is overreacting

I have to listen to fat jokes





Chirikure Chirikure


As he intuitively goes about his daily routine

Securing food and shelter for the family

Sekuru Devera does not necessarily know

That the sparrows that always disappear

As the cold days of winter slowly approach

Fly all the way to the summer of the north

What he knows with absolute certainty

Is that these little birds of the high skies

Will come back at the very start of summer

Returning even in much bigger numbers

To ravage crops that he will have tendered

Spawning hunger, if he doesn’t plan well

Bound together

If you keep going on like that

Referring to my birth place

Simply as Africa, Africa, Africa

I will soon take it upon myself

To refer to your birth place

Simply as Europe, Europe, Europe

After all, you have a common identity

Bound by a negotiated union of nations

Sharing same bank notes and uneven plans

While there, where my umbilical chord lies

Blood remains much stronger than currencies

Flowing through totems, the veins that bind us

Olumide Popoola


I’ve been traveling

bags on my shoulders

picking up pieces of rotten cotton

on the shores of Gorée

drunk spilled oil at the edges

of the Niger Delta

bathed myself in the spray

of Victory Falls

I have been traveling

from south to west, up and down

cascading from centre to periphery

opened and closed chapters of misery and joy

I’ve searched the insides of calabashes

for a vessel to retain hopes and dreams

pounded yam with my own hands

so that the blisters could connect me

to the soul of the land

I’ve looked and not been seen

I’ve seen and been overlooked

I’ve been on the road so long

my shoes became the wheel

when you could get

what you did not need

need not what you got

and required something

that wasn’t available here

got not what you hoped for there

not what would/should be yours

rightfully and without baggage

and the need, the need got frail

it got frail, frail so

been traveling with bags

making up home

journeyed south and west

in and out, cascading

arrived without rest

so the need exhausted




need no more


at last

Asoka Esuruoso

Burnt By The Sun

I have noticed something recently, something strange.

It took months for this realization to finally burst  upon my consciousness .

but now that it’s here I cannot escape it.

As I walk through the U-bahn stations,

as I sit on the train going in any direction,

every once in a while I will see an Afro German,

or African Family.

my eyes immediately latch upon them,

especially if they have young children,

especially if they have little girls who look like  myself when I was young.

Anything the little girls do seems noteworthy, almost amazing.

Something about their very presence is noteworthy, almost out of place.

In the Brooklyn Subway where 70 percent of your fellow passengers are black,

the sight of a black child would be nothing extraordinary ,

in fact quite dull and ordinary.

But here their bodies seem to stick out like dark wood against a white sea.

And I am caught by  the thought of how dark they are, how dark and yet beautiful.

Then I catch sight of my own face in the train window

and realize in one shocking moment that I am several shades darker than the girls I am gazing at.

I look for a moment black, like a negative of black space.

I can never remember being this dark, this black.

Has the sun has burnt me this way?

Has the German sun somehow burnt me darker than the American one?

I ask,

Have I,

Have I,

Have I been burnt by the Sun?

But then it occurs to me that wherever I am, even here half way across the world, I am still standing under the same sun.

Something else must be different.

My vision has become affected.

It and it alone has changed. For that moment, that small space of time I saw the world through the white German gaze, and from the outskirts of this human sea of whiteness looked upon my own body as black, as a black splotch, a dark raisin within the sun.

Abandoned to the Music

Stepping off of a train,

I stand on the platform

And witness a little girl hurling herself across the U-bahn platform –

abandoned to the rhythm, the music, the motion, like a wild thing.

Energy in motion.

Frantic, frantic, frantic release.

Frantic, frantic, frantic, release.

For one so young, for one so small.

Dark body like a snake that’s forgotten itself, stomping the ground with feet, feet, feet. While her parents drum, and her sisters watch on, before an empty change bucket.The audience stands, silent and still, envy in our motionless feet.

Head thrown, eyes closed, rarely have I seen someone so abandoned.

But abandoned to what?

She can’t help herself. Her little chest swells, heaves, swings.

Her eyes open, and she remembers we’re there, remembers the audience –

shy smile,

desperate need for acceptance.

She looses step, almost falls.

But catches, finds herself, catches the beat.

Stepped up again.

Stepping, stepping, stepping again.

Lord, this child can dance.

And a spark blazes in my chest at the sight,

words runs through me,

the words to a poem that has been ringing in my thoughts for days.

I think of New York,

the glittering city as I first saw it glowing above the Hudson River’s dark waters.

I think of Berlin

That city, this city of dreams

where every opportunity feels like a new chance at life.

I dream of buried beaches,

hidden hopes so strong,

so forceful it feels as if they are on the brink of being born,

because there are no boundaries,

the boundaries are the limits of our imagination.

For a brief moment,

for a moment I am free.

Darius James

“Un Aperitivo Col Diavolo”

The air was heavy with the cloying aroma of glazed nuts simmering in an artificial syrup. Ku’dam glowed in a frost of lights. And shoppers trundled along the boulevard bundled in furs. I wandered from bar to café with one drink bleeding into another, one drug morphing into the next, without finding a soul with whom I could tipple and commiserate. The loneliness was crippling. I drank prodigiously. It bordered on the suicidal.

Since moving to Europe, I had estranged myself from the friends I had left behind and those I knew in Berlin. Christmas had come to mean no family, no friends, no feast. This most important holidays had been reduced to an endless supply of wine and a galaxy of drugs.

By the time I settled into the last bar I would visit that Christmas eve, my brain was pulsating with dizzy swirls and throbbing lines. My vision had skewed into flipping horizontal patterns. Everything was in fish-eyed perspective. I could no longer tell the difference between day or night.

Maxim Argilagos

I’m Home

A million years of agony

are finished now I guess

My soul’s confusion has come to an end

I’m able to feel happiness

That small piece of being some call life

I’ve been a homeward bounded guy

Now after traveling so long

I found a place where I can die

I can’t believe I’m home

I can’t believe the trouble’s gone

I can’t believe I’m free

And finally the last step’s done

That the process of my liberty

Is finished after…

Reaching home

Salvation is so hard to find

And maybe this one’s not the place

But as long as feelings ease my mind

I won’t look for other ways

I can’t believe I’m home

I can’t believe the trouble’s gone

I can’t believe I’m free

And finally the last step’s done

That the process of my liberty

Is finished now.

Anthony Baggette


The Evidence Lays in Grandma’s Eyes


The evidence lays in Grandma’s eyes ,

All she does is cry

jets fill the skies droppin’ bombs instead of books.

The evidence lays in Mama’s eyes

someone shouted gold and started a stampede

that planted the seed of greed even made Miles change his style.

The evidence lays in the knocked up sisters eyes,

As tears fall from the tortured prisoners eyes

The evidence lays in the thunder of the plunder.

The evidence lays in Papa’s eyes

as he runs from another car bomb blast.

The evidence lays in the eyes of the child standin’ in a cloud of gas.

The evidence lays in the night sounds that ring out

When you see the fear in your sister’s eyes.

The evidence lays in the dyin’ soldiers eyes.

The evidence lays in the oil spill,

mass kill just over the hill, and killer bees

racism is up , war items are glowin’ red hot.

The evidence lays in the governments lies.

The evidence lays in your sleepin’ on the street cousins eyes.

The evidence lays your in eyes when you read another lie passed off as fact.

The evidence lays in the butt naked table dancin’ runaways eyes.

The evidence lays in yet another over crowed then over turned refugee boat

The evidence lays in the uncounted votes.

While Aunt Lucy didn’t even cast her vote cause she was watchin’ re-runs of Love Boat,

The evidence lays in the sounds of the drive by,

The evidence lays in the gang raped young girls eyes.

The evidence lays in the Native people’s eyes.

The evidence lays in the missin’ father’s eyes.

The evidence lays in the Junkie’s eyes.

The evidence lays in Freedie’s eyes and Freddie’s dead.

The evidence lays in Grandma’s eyes and Grandma’s eyes are

lookin’ straight into your eyes.

And Grandma’s eyes don’t lie,

so open up the gates, fan the flames ,

and let the good times roll

cause if there’s a hell below,

we all gonna go.

Sharon Dodua Otoo


She knows the silence will comfort her eventually –

It’s been that way for more moments of pain than she feels to remember.

Her glass is empty again. This time, the bottle is too.

She stands up…safely.

She’s seeking a place of warmth and sisterhood…

It doesn’t flow like the red wine dripping.

Carpets are stained, but who really cares?

She walks on…safely.

It’s been a while now…at least an unbearable minute.

That rising feeling will not subside – or step aside – or even – just slide



It could have been perfect, the on-point comment,

but now it’s too late

and nothing they say, will make her stay:


Philipp Khabo Koepsell

Fanfare For The Colonized

Crushed underneath the broken marble of former empires

lies an entire narrative

of the bloody conquest

the colonial scroll palimpsest

the interest in the unrest

the beginning and the end

The clock struck 12 in the marble hall palace

When they sat around a table

with a ruler and map

where the ink of the day

stained a sleeve of a king

same thing stained a shore

oversees bloody gore

It is a story of explorers

of the glory of those soldiers

who drove thousands into deserts

to give space for mining diamonds

to give space for fields of barley

for the white men’s dream of glory

for the steam train and grazing ground

for German cows in Africa.

The ruby-coloured marble

and the brazen plates in memory

of those who murdered children

in the name of Kaiser Wilhelm

form the ground on which we stand today

the place in which we congregate

The memory of things

of skulls and concentration camps

a nightmare undisguised

It lies fat and blond in front of you

in delightful arrogance

rubbing onto curbs

with a piggy snout to shout at you:

You’re just oversensitive!

Why should we apologize,

we colonized not much…

O, they will tell you of tradition

of the mapping of the world

of the mapping of your minds

and whatever makes them tick

The names are redacted

Numbers are redacted

documents are lost and their existence denied.

It’s just the marble underneath, and the names of some places,

and the words that we use, and the songs that we sing, and the goods that we buy,

and the games that we play, and the fact

that we all know too well what “a Hottentott” is.

We can’t read the script?

We don’t write our stories?

We can’t navigate in landscapes

where the white men claim of glory?

Motherfucker, we have maps too!

We have studied all the details.

We derail that rusty steam train

We can rename all your heroes and you won’t even know!

We can blow that marble up, you see.

We can write this history

and the last time this is to be reminding us of brighter dreams

and monuments of greater men

we make the marble break again

and break again

and break again.

Whirl thru the dust

like we must not stop

until we wake to face a brighter day

brighter day

brighter day

and we write that damn story

from the bottom to the top

While all you smart mand professors may go on

Ingrid Mwangi Robert Hutter

I dreamt that a beautiful, dark, eerie, shimmering representation of something visited me in my sleep. A gentle voice whispered to me, and when I looked up I saw her shining dark light over everything. ‘Please help me to understand’, I implored, suffering the ignorance of doubt. ‘Is it enough, what does it say, what does it want to tell people?’ I felt tears prick my eyes and felt shame for my emotions.

‘Don’t you know?’, the gentle voice asked every so gently. ‘Believe-lieve-lieve’, echoed over my heated body. Confusedly, I raised my hand and touched myself to see if I was there. ‘Is that all!’ I shouted, but immediately felt bad about my impatience. ‘Is that all…’ a whisper through my dry lips. I felt her smile like a warm, cooling breeze. Then: ‘believe in yourself-elf, your beauty-uty, your creativity-ivity, your importance-ance.’ And then, I heard it quite clearly: ‘Trust yourselves to speak.’

Elisabeth Argilagos


Salty taste on my skin

Icy air arouses my hair

All this snow cannot stop it

The ocean flows through me

I wear its sign

Sea water tears

Under the moon

Raging monsoon

Creation divine

The ocean flows through me

Rolls its waves

Old mistakes and new beginnings

On and on

Slides on itself

Rushes, crashes

Throws itself

Onto the sand

Digs in it

Loving it

Sinking into it

Getting lost in it


Rapidly withdrawing

Into its blue home

Blaq Pearl

My African Dream

This is my African Dream

Children walking the streets, no fear and running free

This is my African Dream

No more dying and crying for nothing

This is my African Dream

I see the world through the eyes of my family

This is my African Dream

Where I can find some peace within

This is my African Dream

Just let me sing – let me be – let me feel, it

It’s easier dreaming

Living, clubbing, not realizing, we’re hostage,

In My African Dream

Need to know what it means, even if it kills,

Deep Thoughts stimulating

Encouraging moms and dads to think, before Speaking…

My African Dream

Got people standing up, raising fists – Believing

My African Dream

Souls are free, we all speak, of what we feed – We seeing

My African Dream

No need to fight, we’re alright – No dividing

My African Dream

Money, Politics and Greed – Non existing

Now in My African Dream

I see a place where people live in – harmony

In My African Dream

Our grass are green, we’re at peace and – creating

In My African Dream

Skies are blue, we stay true to – our meaning

In My African Dream

The light that leads, shines brighter – within me


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Stories of Home and Exile

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