No Escape

Empty walls, no escape.
Hunted mind, sleepless nights.
The wet ones, they come and go as they please.
They have no time nor place.
They have drained me.
No, they have drained us.
The four walls box us in.
Our tounges open as the wet ones fall.
Our stomachs ache from emptiness.
Our only dream is to see the sun again.
Or maybe it is my dream alone.

 

what are your thoughts on this? what does this mean to you?

-by Tilisa Mlondani 

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You Are Not Happy

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That feeling you feel when you want to be happy.
When heavy tears crawl down your cheeks.
When your body trembles in unknownness.
You are not happy.
You don’t know how you feel.
Yes, you are alive but you don’t feel it.
In your mind being alive is a feeling, a feeling of vibrant colors and big smiles.
You wished you were happy.
That unknown feeling drowning you into its core, that feeling you wish you had it no more.
But yet you know nothing about happiness.
How then can you tell if you are happy?
Maybe, happiness is tears.
Maybe, happiness is sacrifices.
Maybe happiness is big smiles
But yet how would you know?
How would you know you are not happy?

by Tilisa Mlondani

The Arrangement

WhatsApp Image 2019-12-20 at 19.14.45

“No! Papa, I will not marry him,” She said to her father. It was the same argument they have been having for the past few weeks. “You will marry him, and that is final!” her Papa said — his voice firm and masculine.

“Papa, I refuse to throw my happiness away.” she tries to reason with her father. “Ebony dear, happiness is a luxury this family can not afford. Your brother is dying and needs money for surgery, and we have no other way.” She stares up at her Papa in tears. ‘oh, if only Jalen were rich,’ she said in her heart.
“Papa, please, Jalen can help just give him more time,” she pleaded with him.
“My son is dying! My only son is dying, and you want me to wait for a man who does nothing but sell bread?” Ebony holds onto the wooden chair in the dining room as her body trembles in misery.

“The wedding will be held on Saturday. You will be there, and you will smile and save your brother,” Papa tells her.
“I do not love him, Papa.”
“Love is not the foundation of marriage, my dear” He sits down next to his daughter and comforts her.

***Wednesday***
“Jalen, stop.”
“What do you mean, stop Bony? How can you ask me to stop? You’re getting married to another man in three days, and you want me to stop? How could you?” Jalen paces around the woman he loves. The thought of her being with another man broke every strength he had within.

“You are the only one I love.”
“If I am the only one you love, then why are you marrying him?” Ebony holds onto Jalen’s hand. She breathes in heavily. “Because he has the money to save my dying brother. Look, I will leave him as soon the year is over.”
“So all along it was about money, huh?”
“Len baby, please stop, you know it was not my choice.”
“You know what, it’s fine; you need to leave” Jalen opens the door to his one-bedroom house. It was the smallest house in the village.
“Are you asking me to leave your house?” Ebony stood in front of her fiance. Her eyes showed nothing but pain.
“Leave, please.”
“Do you think I’m happily marrying a man I do not love while the man I love watches me do it? You know if you were rich, I would not have had to marry this man.”
“Are you blaming me for my poverty even after telling you my story?” as if Jalen’s face could not look more betrayed.
“No, I blame myself for loving you even after hearing your story,” Ebony runs out the door. She tries her best to pace out in her vintage dress. Jalen slammed the door in anger. He went to his dining area, where he kept all the bread he sells. In anger, he threw everything on the ground.

****Saturday***
Ebony stood in front of her future husband, Andre. He was a handsome bachelor in the village. His father is a friend of Ebony’s father.
” Do you Andre Walswood Take Ebony Tukion as your wedded wife?”

“Yes, I do” Andre wished for the ceremony to end already. He did not love Ebony, the way he saw it, he could never love her. “Do you Ebony Tukion take Andre Walswood as your wedded husband?”

Ebony turned her head to look at the crowd. Her Papa nodded his head in approval. At the very back, Jalen stood. A tear in his eye. Their eyes locked, leading them into a world where only their love existed.
“Do you Ebony Tukion take Andre Walswood as your wedded husband?”
Ebony looked back at Andre. ‘There is no way I will ever love this man,’ she said to herself.

“Yes, I do,” the crowd cheered. The new couple stood in front of everyone. The two father inlaws danced in front of the newlywedded couple as their tradition.

******
“I know you love another man; I too love another. Therefore we do not have to do anything,” Andre said to her.
“Thank you.”
The new couple started their lives.
Ebony knew when Andre would go out to be with the woman he loves. Yet she never had the chance to go to the man she loved. She was always busy with things around the house. Then Andre would come back, and they would go to places together.
One time they went to the lake together where Ebony lost her sandals, and Andre carried her back home.

******1 year******

Jalen knocked at the wooden door again. This time a little harder.
The door opened, revealing Andre.
“How may I help you?” Andre asked
“I need to speak to Bony,” Jalen scratched the inside of his hands. Something he does when he is nervous.
“Who are you?”
“Jalen”
“Would you like to come in?”
“No, I will wait out here.”
Andre closes the door to fetch his wife.
Ebony walks outside to meet Jalen.
“What are you doing here ?”
She looks around to make sure no one saw them.
“It been a year, and your brother is out of the hospital. when are you coming back to me?”

“People will speak if I leave now” Ebony searched for reasons in her head.
“Bony, people will speak even if you don’t leave.”
“I know, but now is too soon.”
“You don’t want to leave; you want to stay here, don’t you?”
“Jalen”
“Did he threaten you? does he control you.”
“No, he is gentle and respectful. He treats me well, and he takes care of me.”

Jalen looked surprised. He wanted to believe this could never happen. He always trusted she would never do this to him.

“You love him.”
“Jalen”
“When did it start? when did you start loving him?”
“I think you should go home.”
“Three years! You were my fiance for three years. You’ve only been with him for one year. Bony, why?”
“Three years, and yet, you did not marry me. how long did you want me to wait?”
“You know I wanted to make enough money for your bride price.”

“To this day. You expect me to follow you and suffer?”
“Bony, I love you with everything I have.”
“What you have is not enough Jalen, it never was”
Ebony walks back inside, leaving Jalen stranded outside.

“Hey, I will be going out tonight do not wait up for me.”
“Are you going to see her again? you leave every night now.”
“We had an agreement, remember?”
“Yes, but you are my husband, Andre.”
“I do not love you, Ebony, and I will not pretend I do.”
Andre walks out the door.
Ebony stood in the same place. She knew he did not love her. She knew she loved a man who was in love with another.

Story by Tilisa Mlondani 

My Secret Nightmare

I sink deep in my unrighteousness
It’s comfortable.
The streets fear me,
the falling leaves fly far from me,
when I walk, they make way.
They know me!
They know what I’m capable of.
I sink deep in my unrighteousness–
it’s comfortable.
I say to the man in the mirror–
I fear him!
He controls me!
He rules over me!
I fear him
because he makes me weak,
I trembled as I pulled the knife out–
blood clotted my hands,
it was not the first “you are powerful,”
he told me “now you have no fear,”
he said to me days became longer,
the empty house–
they all left me because they saw him,
they saw what he could do–
he gave me my desire
He gave me the life I thought I wanted.
Mansions but with no one to be with,
cars and yet I ride alone,
Money I could never use for charity.
I sink deep in my unrighteousness–
it’s comfortable;
I do not blame him for my greed led me to him
I want out but I do not know my way out
I’m in a dark room with no doors.
I heard there is a savior, I heard he restores
I heard he saves.
The man in the mirror tells me they lied!
Yet I wonder, can this savior restore the soul I gave away?
Can he save me a sinner?
still, I wonder if all were true if all they said were true.
who is this man? how could he love so selfishly
but if all they said were true, then I murdered this man
I mistreated this man, I looked down on this man because I could never comprehend a love so great
They said he’s everywhere so I asked
Can he sink my worse nightmare?

by Tilisa Mlondani 

Love and Gunshots

-by Tilisa Mlondani 

 

Boom! Boom!

Blood and lifelessness–

Your brown eyes, weak as they stare into my wholeness.

I warned you!

He was not capable of loving

Always taking never giving.

Sacrificed your wholeness to him

I could only stare in jealousy;

First a broken rib–

then you came knocking at my door with a broken arm.

I waited so bad for you to give me everything you gave him–

if not everything, maybe just the attention.

Months later my dreams became a reality,

you smiled at me,

but, that fateful day

he walked in front of you, and you forgot my existence–

like the truth, you left me behind

then I knew I could never have you.

My ego got the best of me

and pulled you towards me

Boom! Boom!

Your body trembled next to mine

Gun staring deep into my eyes

it was talking to me

Boom!

I warned you!

He was not capable of loving

Always taking never giving

Sacrificed your wholeness to him

And now it’s just love and gunshots

 

Reading Response To The Lady in Skirt.

by Tilisa Mlondani

The Lady in Skirt is a piece written to appeal to the intellect of the public about women while employing a visual representation of a woman. Largely in some parts of the world, women who wear short skirts are perceived as “easy to get,” called names, and most often than heard are sexually assaulted. It is appalling to know that in some places around the world today, women are not allowed to get any form of formal education, referring to them as the workforce of the society. They are expected to be housewives and treated like slaves. Women are restricted from even showing their faces, and on top called out to be “too aggressive,” when they work and match up talents and skills boot for boot in the work industries, just for working hard, sometimes harder than the average man. Here! To those “men” who call themselves men but mistreat and abuse women, it is a shame. It is a shame to be so ignorant and disrespectful. If you do not value what you came out of, you have no right to disrespect it.

 

 

Does “Life” Matter? Police Brutality and Hate Crime-who is at fault?

by Yesulagbe Dzidzornu

“Police brutality!” “Racism!” “Black Lives Matter!” These are the chants you almost always hear on the daily news. Police brutality has become so much of a canker that society is beginning to lose interest and hope in the resolution of the subject matter. After the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, on February 26, 2012, there has been an uproar of concern about the effects of racism in law enforcement in the United States of America. The Trayvon Martin case led to the creation of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, which has been keen on standing up for justice and speaking out against “police brutality,”  “police killings of blacks,” and the general racial inequality that exists in the United States’ criminal justice system. Their interests as an international activist movement are expressed through public demonstrations and protests against the unfair criminal justice system. The “police brutality” has led to a myriad of narratives about the police in the United States, especially, and their response to people of other races in the delivery of their duties, creating widespread stereotypes that all police, specifically ‘white cops,’ are racist.

Racism of many forms has nourished other existing stereotypes and has falsely tainted the brand of the police in their line of duty. In the Black Lives Matter movement’s protests, there have been issues raised regarding how corrupt police officials had become in cases where blacks were fatally shot, when the police  did all in their power to prove the non-existent guilt of these innocent African-Americans killed for apparently no reason and has further emphasized the corrupt nature of the entire police service in the United States. There have been other singular cases of corruption that, while not related to racism, have also cultivated the idea that the police in the United States is corrupt. For example, in November 2018, a Philadelphia police officer pleaded guilty to selling drugs with corrupt members of a Baltimore police task force. It is one of the worse U.S police scandals in recent decades, leading to the conviction of the police officers involved. Occurrences like these have marked the police with stereotypes of racism and corruption over the years, and it is tough for most Americans to believe the police are clean. However, as true these occurrences maybe, they should not be used to generalize about the nature of police officers across the country. These stereotypes of racism and corruption cannot be absolute and must not be held against the entire criminal justice system. Even though fingers point to law enforcement as the bad nut in the upsurge for justice, this coin needs to be viewed from both sides, one side as a result of institutional racism, the formation of hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan (KKK).

“This ‘hate crimes’ perpetrated by some cops against African Americans in the United States historically originated from a segregation and discrimination point of view, which continues to shape the modern society” (Alexander 2010).  Contrarily, from a similar perspective, “racism is an ideology, or belief system, designed to justify and rationalize racial and ethnic inequality” (Marger 2012).  Some may argue that law enforcement officers (of the minority race) have not held enough positions of power to help protect themselves, let alone the communities. Mainstream America is only now getting more aware of the mistreats due to the prevalence of cellphone cameras, social media and other recording devices which have finally allowed them to see what has been told  of the misconducts for years now which “makes you wonder whether the police are representatives of community values and morals” (Sunshine and Tyler 2003a). The impunity with which police officers often carry out violence on African Americans has an element of racism, acts such as “the Cell phone video which captured an unidentified officer repeatedly hitting Dashawn McGrier Saturday by a Baltimore police officer who resigned after disturbing video surfaced of him beating a man on the street” (Phillips 2018) which is a result of structural inadequacies perpetuated by the long history of segregation, mass incarceration, and black unemployment. The African American community has been smeared with resentment for who they are by white locals and citizens, “…and as a result, measures are put in place to impede their natural flow of life… [of these minorities]” (Taylor 2016). “Research finds it that… [the community’s expectations of the] police…[is]…less about ‘fear’ and the threat of crime, and more about moral order and social stability” (Girling et al. 2000).

            Debunking the popular notion that all cops are brutal in the line of doing their jobs, we can draw a cue from Theodore Roosevelt, a former president of the United States and a former Police Commissioner in New York. He famously said, “it is not the critic that counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood…” (Roosevelt). In other words, a police officer must go into the field, of course, there will be critics, but they know it’s for a commendable cause. The future of law enforcement is in good hands if positive measures such as public scrutiny of law enforcement are put in place to eradicate the dirty mindset people have about the police, as well as taking out the bad nuts from the police force.

Yes! There are racism and a criminal system that exists among some law enforcement officials, but it is simply a concept of “one nut spoiling the whole soup,” which means the whole police force has been tainted with the crime of the negative few, particularly among the black community (Popular African saying). We need to bear in mind that there are cruel blacks as well as whites capitalizing on the negative notion of a bad justice system to keep doing wrong. We are all at fault for our current social hurdles on the way or the other, and we are all responsible for its reformation as well. Before the outcry of  fair justice and law enforcement, people believed that being quiet and trying hard not to get in trouble with the cops is going to solve the problems we have been facing, but I think, as we have already begun doing, raise awareness of equality of the law, diversity in law enforcement and the need for coherent living amongst ourselves we will finally eradicate the notion that all cops, especially white cops are racist and brutal and in the long run stop the rise of injustice.

Work cited

Alexander, M. (2010). The New Jim Crow: mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness. New York: The New.

Girling, E., Loader, I. and Sparks, R. (2000), Crime and Social Control in Middle England: Ques tions of order in an English Town. London: Routledge

Margcr, M. (2012). Race and ethnic relations: American and global perspectives (9th ed.). Belmont: Wadsworth

“MIL-OSI Security: CC Sara Thornton Blog: The future of policing is in good hands.” ForeignAffairs.co.nz, 16 Feb. 2019. Gale OneFile: News, https://link-gale-com.libaccess.hccs.edu/apps/doc/A574189712/STND?u=txshracd2512&sid=STND&xid=4d36b5f6. Accessed 29 Oct. 2019.

Phillips, Kristine. “Baltimore Police Officer Resigns after Viral Video of Him Pummeling a Man Who Was Not Fighting Back.” The Washington Post, 2018. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsgao&AN=edsgcl.550008377&site=eds-live.

Sunshine, J. and Tyler, T. (2003a), ‘Moral Solidarity, Identification with and the Importance of Procedural Justice: The Police as Prototypical Representatives Group’s Moral Values’, Social Psychology Quarterly, 66: 153-65.

Taylor, K. (2016), From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation, Chicago: Haymarket Books

Who Shot Johnny?-A Reading Response

Author: Debra Dickerson

Who Shot Johnny is another interesting article on stereotypes on black lives by Debra Dickerson, which I think regarding the article, it is unfair to tag all young black men like Johnny as “thugs.” Even though the article elaborates on the typical life of a young black American and the struggles they go through to survive in the “hoods,” it also tells of the effort others are making to make the already deteriorating life a bearable one for its victims. It looks to me that she has resentment against those who tag all young black men as threats even though they look harmless, as in the case of Johnny.

Dickerson goes on to elaborate on the painful thoughts Johnny has after the tragic incidence and the pain his family and friends mask under their smiles to make him enlightened and stay positive about life. This essay did not exactly surprise nor intrigue me because of my countless exposure to such stories of unfortunate killings on the news and through word of mouth.

I have not encountered such cruelty but have read it in many articles, which have incited many arguments in the past, such as the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, which led to a myriad of debates and the consequences, an upsurge for justice and the Black Lives Matter Movement. Even though this is not a case of racism against any race (particularly the black race), it points out the kind of lifestyle that one is prone to if fallen prey to the “black stereotype.”

You should take out some time to read this article for yourself.

by: Yesulagbe Dzidzornu