October 2020 – Kent State University Wick Poetry Center and The Center for Earth Ethics, New York, New York with Collaboration from Columbia University Earth Stanzas Project presents, Vote the Earth | Semaj Brown, Flint Michigan’s First Poet Laureate was invited from a select listing of National poets to create a video based on the famous poem Where Am I From by George Ellen Lyon. Semaj’s poem connects Earth ecology, environmental and social injustices. Developed to launch at end of October in celebration of Earth Day 50th anniversary.
Where am I from? I am from the blood of fire river where the strike of friction against rock of flint smokes tongues of resistance lead burning brains and bodies of the resilient beautiful
Warning Signs hovered like low hanging clouds: No Blooming Allowed; Blossoms Will be Prosecuted These brave plants grew just for me Grew in spite of a society that favored a monochromatic landscape
I imitate no one I am the sole one I am unique If you can’t see me Then, you can’t see Glasses are what you need
The axis of our planet straightens. Untruths that pollute bow, bow, bow down and disintegrate into the debris of a sneeze. Ahchew! The atmosphere is activated. The moon, my ride and die, pulls water strings uuupppp, the sea high-fives in wave gesture as hate evaporates. Gravity genuflects. There is a hierarchical reset.
Did you forget how you found me? I was flatter than a single dimension my palate was an old wall from an old house layered with stories of color
This chocolate chip was shoplifted from Liberia was mass produced in the flavor of chattel was corrupted by sucrose and was seduced by Bettye Crocker
I am continually amazed by my wife, Semaj’s journey as a Broadside Lotus Press Poet, literary artist, educator, performer, inspirational story teller, and curriculum community builder. Her excursion into the world of words began when she was a child; her mother, who you will meet in this book as The Ultraviolet Light of Bessie L. James supplied young Semaj a daily diet of Legacy Poets from Dudley Randall’s Broadside Lotus Press.
“The ancestors speak! You are our gift in regenerating philosophies and systems that embrace our wholeness! Blessings!” | Professor Otrude Moyo, Ph.D. • Director of Department of Social Work, Indiana University -South Bend