Sunday, July 15, 2012

Lauryn Nesbitt's "Congo"

I'm about to start the second year of the John Carroll Young Writers Workshop, where we'll be working with high school writers, and came upon Lauryn Nesbitt's "Congo"--it will give me and my students some spark to widen our lens of concern.


For those who have lost their lives during the ongoing genocide in the Congo, as well as the many lives lost in genocides all over the world. Your bloodshed shall and will not be in vain. We will find peace.

As long as you wake up everyday you should have  
no reason to complain, right
i guess if i'm still breathing then i'm not really
Well if that's the case i'll give every other breath
To the 6 million Congolese people who have died  
fourteen out of my fifteen years of days i don't
complain about
Lived in fear their whole life only to die brutally
and unjustly
Because someone was following orders
Being a law abiding citizen
An unjust law is no law at all
The next time i touch my screen i will say
Madsi Pa
Because someone died for this
Not even given a proper burial
Please do understand that a street corner or
pot-holes in the road do not suffice as coffins
Where is the tombstone
6 million beautiful African names all gone with the
wind now
Somewhere a little girl doesn't understand the
meaning of
You're named after your great great great grand-mother
That the last time this name was written it was with an
Now with a signature she has been practicing since
she was seven
Quiet honestly
i don't have to go through triangles or bloody
current to see the redness in mother's eyes because
she cried all night
That monotone pitch her voice is now concealed in
from screaming her child's name
She didn't bother about putting makeup on today
No queen collection can mask her wide-eyed ghost
See, i can close my eyes every night and act like it
doesn't exist
Turn my TV off right before the Yele infomercial
Refuse to watch channel 5 because it's day twenty
and there are sixteen bodies and counting
Or hum to that sad music they play on the Food for
America PSA
i can even wish that i could give the little boy on
that feed the children of Africa a tissue for his nose
Missing the whole purpose of why i should call
them and not my best friend because they're both
asking me to spot them a twenty
When you think about it
Suffering is like god
You may not always see it
you may never see it
but it is real and
it's out there.
-Lauryn Nesbitt    

Used by permission.     
From Lauryn's chapbook, Disturbing the Piece, 2012. 
Lauryn "Poetic Hyst" Nesbitt is a 17 year-old senior in the Literary Media and Communications department at Duke Ellington School for the Arts. She hopes to pursue a career in film production. She has bloomed into a powerful and inspiring slam poet, performing her work at venues such as the Kennedy Center Concert Hall and Millennium Stage, Busboys and Poets, Painted Bride Art Center in Philadelphia, Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York, her high school's graduation ceremony for the class of 2011, and the Atlas Theater. Lauryn is a two year member of the DC Youth Slam Team and she recently placed 2nd in the 2012 Larry Neal Writers' Competition teen category. When she's not pressing pen to paper she's your average teenager juggling homework, friends, and family. 
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