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bandung conference, 1955

23 April, 2017


by Daniel Gray-Kontar
bandung conference, 1955
the women cry fiercely
for the men who have died
fighting for the twisted torch of freedom.
they wrap around their bodies
the native fabric,
the colors of the flag of independence.
they cry too, for the men
who did not die.
the children grow in confusion
unsure of who to call “oba.”
some learn to fight the anger of hunger
with prostitution.
some, with the opium scent
of religion.
dinner at my table is solemn.
we assuage our hunger
with promises of a better future,
and wash these down with prayer.
i have written words
that speak for the women
and children. words that speak
for my people.
words as hollow
as the stomachs of my sons.
i agree, something
must be done.
you concur, something
must be done.
for the sakes of our grandchildren
can the colored people of the world
do anything but talk?
“bandung conference, 1955” by Daniel Gray-Kontar, from Cleveland Poetry Scenes. Bottom Dog Press, 2008. Used by permission of the author.
Daniel Gray-Kontar is a poet, rapper, journalist, educator and youth mentor. His poetry has appeared in such anthologies as Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam and Spirit and Flame: An Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry, as well as on the sound recording Grand Slam: The Best of the National Poetry Slam, Volume One. He is the 1994 national poetry slam co-champion. Kontar’s music and social criticism have appeared in such magazines as The SourceThe Village Voice, Wax Poetics, and The Ringer. He is the current executive artistic director at Twelve Literary and Performative Arts Incubator.


Using the form of a résumé, write a poem for yourself or someone you know (friend or foe) that is wildly untrue.
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READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.