Thursday, July 5, 2012



I pledge allegiance to the nation that was,

To my forefather's plan for a democratic ride.

To "We the People", to "Fourscore and Seven"

To the liberty bell's underground.

And to the violent republic for which we stood,

(The one that took innocent lives.)

To Viet Nam, Afghanistan, Iraq, the Sudan

(We are told it's for freedom they die.)

One nation under God has changed a bit,

The umbrella's tilted south,

Instead of interring the blacks and the reds,

We're attacking the bronze and the brown.

Indivisible with liberty we stand our ground,

Inequality and separatism abide.

Our blue collar heroes die wrongful deaths,

While our white collar leaders survive.

And justice for all is a thing of the past,

No more room for the tired and the poor.

Lady Liberty's light shines dimmer now,

Humbled masses seek alternate shores

In spite of the path we aimlessly tread,

We are still one man one vote.

It still reads, "We the people",

It still says "In God We Trust".

So I pledge allegiance to liberty and justice

And "to the republic for which it stands."(¹)

To "one nation under God indivisible." (¹)

Every child, every woman, every man.

I pledge to stand up for the red, white and blue

To prove that our banner yet waves.

To endlessly fight for freedom and peace

In this land we call free, we call brave.

(¹)"Pledge of Allegiance"

Friday, May 11, 2012



In 2001 she died

it was winter

I have always loved winter

I got a new black dress

In 2001 we buried her

I did the program

the eulogy

the poem

the coffin

the suit for burying

jewelry, underwear



I picked all white roses

I like white roses


it wasn’t fun

I was the oldest

you know

I liked hearing the preacher

read my poem

sometimes I write really well

in 2001 we drove

a million miles to be there

it was winter

she was old

she’d had a really great life

I liked her a lot

In 2000 I bought my last

Mother’s Day gift


in 2001 she died

before Mothers Day

before her birthday

and sometimes I miss her a lot

but mostly now

I just miss her a little

except on Mother’s Day


“I carry her heart in my heart”

when through tears

I pen her a poem

“Happy Mother’s Day mom

Love you!”

Saturday, February 4, 2012



We are the ancestors of the historical horrors
birthed into arms of a chattel society
born amidst slave blocks
fields of cotton and tobacco
delivered into waiting hands of pain and dome

We are the ancestors of the historical horrors
chased into woods, along rivers, through valleys
led into freedoms curtained with provisions
Women of the Diaspora, men of the homeland
searching the darkness for a nonexistent light

We are the ancestors of the historical horrors
born into slavery, rooted in love
blessed with the hopes only family offers
nourished with caring, thriving on trust.

We are the future of our mothers and fathers
bearing the burdens of those left behind
forging a kinder, more peaceful existence
remembering the slavery, nurturing the love.

From the book “ONE DAY”
by Shirley Howard Hall



I need a year to be black

linguistics of typecasting
get it just right
pigeonholed in a bucket
cagy stereotypes

I need a year to be black

deprived of a home
in a white neighborhood
in a racist white club
apply for a job
whites only
test equal work equal pay laws

shoved in the corners
of fine restaurants
rejected avoided eschewed
passed over
imprisoned and cheated
profiled in keen airports and schools

need a year to secure
high blood pressure
sickle cell
diabetes and aids
to be told that my brain
is smaller than most
wash dishes
clean toilets


need a year to honor
the ace of spades
stand on corners
push drugs pot and pills
get welfare and food stamps
be single and poor
join a gang
learn to
pilfer and steal

exhaust all my savings
estrange my white friends
donate all my finery
and jewels
void my accomplishments
distance achievements
in short
to make me
more like you

give me a year
to practice the lies
to make all your falsehoods
come true
to drop out of school
quit a well paying job
sell my home in the burbs
next to yours

28 days just won’t do it
need a year to turn back the tide
or you
can enlighten
yourself and your friends
on the truths of Black History
Black Pride.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012



His dream is our democratic awakening
Through peaceful demonstration we celebrate the man
Inspired by his principles and teachings
In the spirit of his dream we make our stand

His message for jobs is our message
His war opposition our theme
His belief in social justice and equality
the root of our movements beliefs

The quality of humanity stands threatened
wealth inequality eradicates our core
Our middle class drifts into large black holes
As starvation wages despoil

The poorest of poor grow poorer
While corporations as people grow rich
Political undertones rape voter rights
Inequality in education still exists

Race has no place in American rights and laws
Poverty has no right to our shores
Disproportion can no longer bulldoze our dreams
Imbalance won’t pillage our core

His movement is now our movement
His message of resolution our text
We occupy for jobs peace and freedom
We occupy for equality and truth

He marched for economic justice
We occupy to flush corporate greed
Void violence he marched for freedom and peace
Void violence we occupy for change

By: Shirley Howard Hall