Saturday, December 10, 2016


By Tony Boyd

            Hello dear readers. This installment marks the tenth incarnation of the Poetic Justice Open Mic poetry slams. Yay, Poetic Justice!!! Once again it is being staged at Club Lush just off the Fayetteville Square. Our hosts tonight are Jared Carter (a PJOM staple) and newcomer host, Danette Simmons. They are introduced  by PJOM creator, Leora Jackson. Before letting the MCs take over the show,  Leora read a couple of relevant poems. The first one she read was “Ka’Ba” by Amiri Baraka and the second, “I Too Am American” by Langston Hughes.

            First up, Danette Simmons stepped to the mic to perform Oh God Forgive Me When I Whine”. This poem extols the virtue of being humble and to always appreciate what you have. Afterwards her fellow MC Jared Carter performed an original untitled piece of his own. Mr. Carter’s soul is bourne out through his written word and performance of said word. His affinity for the plight of people of color and other marginalized populations is apparent in his work.


            Lady Jazmynne (Jazmynne Matthews) ascended the stage to perform a piece of her own called “Dear White America”. In it, she discusses the dichotomies of America, how we speak of equal and fair but in reality its not equal nor fair. We preach of tolerance and acceptance but practice intolerance and exclusion. She also spoke of the myriad of issues that plague Black America and the lack of progress to resolve them. The mood of the room was one of acknowledgement of the knowledge given and weariness of the truth of her words. Following Lady Jazmynne, F. L. Jones stepped to the mic with “Psalm 23 For The Workplace” about working for God. Then Steve “Mr. Ladebac” brought his own poetic lyrical nature to the stage to perform “Hunger Pains” discussing starvation, poverty and a poor childhood. He followed that up with “Trapped” (Being trapped by life’s issues and problems) and “My Pleasure & My Love” (a love poem to his wife).


            Minet Black, a newcomer to the PJOM stage, broke us off with “The Will Of A Woman”. It was a no holds barred biographical tale of being a single parent and the difficulties of coming up on her own. She also performed a second piece entitled “Justice” about the fact that suffering injustices while seeking justice is no justice at all. A string of performances followed. F.L. Jones reprised her original “Why Can’t We Say Her Name”.  Jared Carter performed his titled piece called “The Beginning of Me” about the injustices perpetrated on Black America and the false views about us down through history.  Not stopping there, he also performed “Walking With No Hitch To Your Own Rhythm” advocating individuality and independence.


            Things switch up a little at this point because for the first time at Poetic Justice Open Mic night we are treated to the freestyle stylings of Mr. Ladebac (Steve Toston) and D..J. Jockstrap (Jared Carter). It was a crowd pleaser. Bodies were moving. Hands were clapping. Attendees were grooving. Good stuff. Afterward Lady Jazmynne stepped into the spotlight to sing “Jericho’s Wall”. The song spoke of virtues of cooperation and working together. To put it more succinctly, it was about understanding that “ a house divided can not stand”. The next song she performed was a cover of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Gone Come”, poignant in its own right but Lady Jazmynne also educated us on the short, troubled life of its originator. Mr. Cooke was killed 11 days before his most famous song was released. It was ruled a justifiable homicide.


            Another newcomer to the PJOM braved the stage. Her name was Kaylee and the poem she performed earned her an A+ at school. It’s entitled “Shattered”. “Shattered” tells the tale of a bad relationship and how great, how sweet it was to escape it. In keeping with that theme (sort of), Jared Carter performed an untitled work of his that says that love is patient. I took that to mean that love has no condition and that it doesn’t leave when the going gets tough.


            Bringing up the rear, so to speak, Minet returned to the stage to perform a couple of more pieces. The first is a personal one about hurting over a lost love but finding salvation in God and one about hiding your real self yet finding and being your real self.


            With that, PJOM X was in the history books. It lived up to its billing. It was an open mic to voice opinions, heal souls, lift spirits, fellowship and have fun. Sharing is caring, people. Up next, PJOM XI.