Troubled Water

Troubled Water

In this big, white tub soaking all this brown
To loud deafening silence,

Amid all the world's chaos & noise,
All of Washington's 
politically complex poise,

You are still the dream,
Still the hope of America's slave.

And while this pot is being daily stirred,
While it boils & spills the blood of hope for our future,

Come, wade in this troubled water with me.
Come clean in the precious blood of our lambs.

Copyrighted 2014-2017 | www.latorialfaison.com 
Published in Mother to Son by Latorial Faison

When Ellis Plays His Saxophone

When Ellis Plays His Saxophone
by Latorial Faison

When Ellis plays his saxophone, 
the Heavens rain down a jubilee.  
It's summer time in Harlem.  
I hear Hughes, Basie & blues. 
Locke & James Weldon Johnson 
come writing, composing, singing, 
loving, hating, knowing every joy 
& pain, the black & white of it, 
bringing rhyme, reason, 
righteousness, revolution.

When Ellis plays his saxophone, 
northern lights shine on a dark South 
screaming & scatting Grandma’s song. 
White face becomes us coming 
into our own, brave, bleeding brilliance, 
strong, teasing talent into style, 
playing beats, christening chords & keys, 
stomping rhythms & strumming strings.

When Ellis plays his saxophone, 
I hear peace, dead peace, peace crying, 
peace living, peace lying out in the sun 
in search of blacker opportunities 
with its naked, uncaged, unswayed voice, 
its mixed history & pride, 
drinking up night as charisma, character,  
& charity join hands to set mourning free.

When Ellis plays his saxophone, 
miracles birth immutable genius, 
instruments speak & preach, 
melodic sounds rise up with tight right fists, 
a battle hymn to sing, to raise up dead poets, 
to guide today's Israelites through 
a new & improved wilderness.

When Ellis plays his saxophone, 
I am all the way live, every way colored, 
crimson, mahogany & midnight blue, 
reshaped, bronzed & smoothed into staccato, 
sharpened to crescendo, low notes, high notes & all. 
I am cleansed by the birthright of a freedom song.

Copyrighted 2015 Latorial Faison

Published in Obsidian: Black Literature in the African Diaspora


The Face of Freedom

You moved and maneuvered
through mountains, brought

water, hope, and safety to
people who had been denied

freedoms . . . of speech, beliefs,
and sleep. Far away you came

close enough to death, or it
came for you, and you went

heroically, nobly on into a
sunset that it might rise again

on peace, captured or killed
terrorists, bombs undetonated,

or a country liberated.  Your
blood, sweat, and tears have

quenched American fears; the
world has found sanctuary in

you. Nations remember your
name, and their innocent

praise the fact that you came
to save them. You perished

praying for a sign, a song to
sing to sleep, a light to shine

in your dark place, one last
look upon a loved one’s face

you left behind. We see you,
honor you, know that our

destinies have intertwined,
that they have been aligned

by a truth you upheld, an
oath you took.  We lift and

lower flags, sound bugles,
wear memorial dog tags

to salute the life and death
of you.  We remember that

you marched, sailed, flew,
that you commanded, and

parachuted too, assailed an
enemy, or destroyed a coup.

You sacrificed, gave the best
of your life, for freedom.

Copyrighted 2012-2014 Latorial Faison
Published in Stars & Stripes and Freedom Verse



unnecessary, unjust, unexplained
lying, bombing, killing
our leaders have failed us
our leaders have failed us
lying, bombing, killing
unnecessary, unjust, unexplained

© October 2004 Latorial Faison



by Latorial Faison

I am somebody on my way somewhere.
I am she who interrogates those who stare.
I am too much for this wayward world to digest.
With pen and paper, I paint pictures with frankness.

I am the pages, I am the pens.
What whiteness begins, my blackness ends.
I am the black man's rage, the black woman's stage.
If you care to recognize, just turn the page.

I am the journey, the memory of yesterdays.
I am the surprising result of evil ways.
I am Jesus Christ crucified.
They hang me high and stretch me wide.

I am the ears that hear the cries of the deaf.
I am fingers picking up those pieces left.
I am the hands that write the words.
I am the prophet you've never heard.

I am the music that bears the beat.
I am the stranded enduring the heat.
I am the parent who lives with the shame.
Of children who step outside the family name.

I am the rape victim turned inside out.
I am the child abused who cannot shout.
I am black America's complex.
I am white America's "What's next?"

I am Dr. King's Dream.
I am Malcolm's extreme.
I am the Catholic Pope's next big issue.
For every child politics leaves behind, I am the tissue.

I am the dream dared, the broken repaired.
I am the truth challenged, the minority compared.
I am the arrival of hope, the departure of pain.
The explanation of turmoil, sanity for the insane.

I am somebody, on my way somewhere.
I am she who interrogates those who stare.
I am too much for this wayward world to digest.
With pen and paper, I paint pictures with frankness.

Copyright © 2005-2008 Latorial D. Faison | www.latorialfaison.com
from Twenty-eight Days of Poetry Celebrating Black History Volume 2 (2008)


What is Poetry?

by Latorial Faison

When you ask me
"What is poetry?"
take a good look
it's my destiny

poetry is the man who
comes to my rescue
saves the soul in me
from a headful of insanity

poetry is my shrink
my music, my ability to think
the air that fills my life's lungs
defining me as I speak in lyrical tongues

poetry is my evolution
my God fearing constitution
the love of my life's charm
my calm before and after the storm

poetry is my God given seed
daily reviving in me a new deed
it's the Word growing from within
the mirror reflecting my soul's sin

poetry is my conquered fear
my security when a world of danger is near
it's my philosophy, my morality
the complicated methodology of my duality

poetry is my good sense
my faith, my hope, my pretense
I can't lie, it's my third eye
it's my answer to the question "Why?"

poetry is my history
my country girl life's mystery
it's my ocean and sky
my fun, my freedom, my high

poetry is my prayer of consecration
my lit path in valleys of desolation
it's my moving, my grooving
my balm, good and soothing

poetry lines my soul
God gave it to make me whole
He sent it to set me free
God made poetry my eternity

poetry is where I begin,
my end, my truth telling friend
my stoning of misery and strife
"What is poetry?" Poetry is my life!

Copyright © 2003-2017 Latorial Faison | www.latorialfaison.com
Published in Mother to Son by Latorial Faison