Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Miss Kiane!

Photograph by Miss Kiane Thomas

This evening I am proud to present the poems of Miss Kiane, one of the stars of the D.C. Poetry Project.  "Grass Don't Grow in the Ghetto" and "In Route to Metro" are both strong, powerful additions to the Mourning and Memory contest.  I am also proud to present Lloyd Wolf's photograph from his D.C. Shrines blog.  When I was looking for images to accompany Miss Kiane's poems, I knew that I had to ask Mr. Wolf for permission to post this photograph here.

Photograph courtesy © Lloyd Wolf /

You may read more about the circumstances of the murder that this shrine memorializes here:

And now here are Miss Kiane's poems!

Grass Don’t Grow in the Ghetto

Glass glistens where grass is supposed to grow.
Gruesome grooves pierce the ground jutting upward
Like black fists punching stale air.

Sharp petaled flowers memorialize
Dreams, wishes and whispers of hope

And for the life of me I can’t figure out why grass don’t grow in the ghetto.

Gaping glok gashes sets his face aglow
In the afterglow of a grappling with the Po Po.

Gory glimpses of faded glory is merely
A glimmer in his flittering eyes.

Groping for remnants of his vitality,
It slips through his fingers
His mother curses the fingers
That pulled the trigger.

THEY SHOT MY SON! Mowed down like blades of green grass
Growing toward a glaring sun. MY SON!

His spirit pierces white clouds, thrust upward
Like a black fist punching stale air.

Still can’t figure out why grass don’t grow in the ghetto.

His homies pour libations
“1 sip for you….10 gulps for me”
Believing that the blood stained tree roots next to the yellow tape and chalked silhouette
Would serve as his esophagus and deliver liquid resurrection power

But before he could rise from the dead,
His homies would wash away urban poetry
With hawk spits and hot piss
Leaving nothing behind but
Shattered liquor bottles and the stench of dreams deferred.

Still wondering why grass don’t grow in the ghetto?

Our sprinkler system spews putrid defeat
We fertilize our seeds with
Maggot-filled cow chips and
Avaricious dung
AKA a bunch of real stinky SHIT.

We eat our young and throw up our old.
Killing our future while immortalizing our past.

We excuse hate when the hater is the hunter
And a little black boy is the bate.

Grass CAN’T grow in the ghetto as long as
The grass stays greener on the other side.

As long as economical, medical and educational divides
Are wider than the spance between my eyes.

Glass will continue to glisten where grass is supposed to grow
Until our so called social services become true human services

Until our equality is no longer a no go
But something we do know going forward

Until our narcissistic greed ceases to be our ladder
And the lives of black boys and girls really do matter

In the meantime, we’ll politic, pontificate and perseverate
The problems that plague the brown people
Ignoring the glass that glistens where grass is supposed to grow
Acting like we can’t figure out
Why grass don’t grow in the ghetto.

Dinahsta “Miss Kiane” Thomas

January 26, 2015

In Route To Metro
8:38 am on a Monday morning,
Work heels scratch the pavement
While $200 Jordans leave elaborate imprints on the dusty sidelines.
School aged children are dragged to their nearby DCPS babysitters
Eager but legs too short to keep up
They wobble when they walk,
Book bags flapping on their tiny backs
                Like prized burdens

8:41 am on a Monday Morning
A nonworking local king
Stands on his littered throne with 2 Pitts on either side
On one side a male who, despite his disposability,
Sits in loyal submission
On the other side a female whose tits are no longer pink with youth
But now a tarnished grey
Camouflaged by the dirt she lays in

8:47 am on a Monday Morning
The local king passes the baton from lips to fingertips
And without an ounce of paternal respect, he expels his poisonous oxygen
Just as young Shaniya and her baby brother Davon walk by
Fortunately for them the Scent of Fresh Weed in the Morning
Was their mother’s favorite fragrance
So the musty sweet aroma did not disgust their nose hairs
It only dulled their brain cells

8:54 am on a Monday Morning
A friendly hola is exchanged with the
Papi who picks up the piles of ghetto potpourri.
I smile and say good morning every morning to the blunt passing, rear end revealing and foul mouth sharing brotha
I smile and say good morning every morning to the painted pant wearing, verbal brick throwing and no esteem having sistah
I smile and say good morning every morning
And honestly my intentions are more than just to be friendly
Something inside of me
Wants to show that we are not just ghetto kings and queens
Who decorate their thrones with
Grey goose bottles, UTZ sour cream and onion potato chip bags, used condoms and blunt wrappers
Something inside of me believes that my good mornings tell them
We can do better than this.
We are better than this.
You are better than this.
Somehow I am convinced that my good mornings hold more than manners taught to me as a child, but possesses the ability to reframe the perception of a race.
I am convinced that my good mornings are like intravenous injections of inspiration and courage.
I am persuaded that my good mornings bridge the gap of an intra-cultural divide
My good mornings are changing the world!

Until that good morning when he said to me
You look sexy, Mommy
Until that good morning she whispered Bitch as she thought of me
Then it dawned on me; it may take more than a good morning to reverse the ramifications of the Fall
That this pendulum of social pandemonium was missing the power of a wrecking ball
And it was possible that my good mornings weren’t changing the world at all
It was possible that I was blinded by my optimistic gall

8:59 am on a Monday morning
I disappear into the ground, pay my fare and wait.

Dinahsta “Miss Kiane” Thomas

I am going to return to jazz for my music this evening.  The first piece that comes to mind is Miles Davis' "On the Corner."

Here is his "Frelon Brun" from Filles des Kilimanjaro:

I'll finish with his "Right Off" from his tribute to Jack Johnson:

1 comment:

  1. Catfish's comment at the end of his poem about the price of a mother's dead son's heart is at once ironic and sardonic. I salute you, Sir!