I walked through the wilderness
A forest of new dimensions
Asphalt for grass, gun towers for trees
A zoo of rats, roaches,
And the shadows of men.

In this new nature
An enigmatic vision
Roses crack through concrete
And butterflies rest upon
Military grade razor-wire.

Permanently encased
In a matrix, a maze
Creatures of misfortune
Phantoms without names
Exhibits of no escape.

In the wilderness lies the bones
Of an endangered species
Numerical skeletons waste away
Compost for systemic machinations
Black ecology—a cry unheard!

(C) Timothy James Young

CITIZEN:In shades of antebellum blue

The world is wrong. You can’t put the past behind you. It’s
buried in you; it’s turned your flesh into its own cupboard.
                                                                            ~Claudia Rankine

African body / African amiss
Misery begins in the belly of a slave ship
Skeletal remains blanket the abyss
North Atlantic / bound and delivered
Sold off to the highest bidder
Centuries later they ask if I’m bitter?
To remember one’s holocaust
Is to forfeit American citizenship.

Ancestral cries
Black bodies dot the horizon
Crimson sun
Fingers raw from picking cotton
The moonlight stirs
Freedom is a whisper
Sunrise is genocide
In the eyes of the undelivered.

Immigrants die to come here
I’m dying to leave
It is asylum I seek
From three-fifths continuum
Article 1, section 2
Buoyancy far removed
Second class citizenship
A ship in need of rescue.

My citizenship is bullshit
It is a history omitted
Color based, second rate at best
A community in neglect
Conditions antebellum blue
No 40 acres / no mule
Reparations buried deep
Six feet beneath the daisies.

The abolition of slavery
Is illusory,
For where it ends
A prison nation begins
Manacled history
1863 to the 21st century
No mystery
Orange jumpsuits, blue misery.

They patrolled the plantations
They now patrol prisons,
Poor neighborhoods,
And manmade demarcations
Tangled engagement
Black criminalization
White cops / ebony crop
Mass incarceration.

© Timothy James Young


Solitary Garden
Is not just a plot of land
On the campus of UC Santa Cruz.
To the contrary,
It is an installation
An iteration
A destination worthy of gander.
Riddle it a spot
A spot where we grow crops
A spot where we grow thoughts
What kind of thoughts, you ask?
Thoughts of freedom and abolition
Thoughts of tearing down walls
And shutting down prisons.
Will into existence
A Green New Deal
Revolutionary in hue
Justice driven
New landscapes
No prisons.

(C) Timothy James Young

Ded: Herman Wallace & Jackie Sumell