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Get ready to hear from northern Illinois’ “prose pros." Poetically Yours airs Fridays during Here and Now at 12:31 and All Things Considered at 6:18 p.m. Hosted by WNIJ Arts Reporter Yvonne Boose, you will hear voices from northern Illinois poets as they share their words about the world around them. This weekly segment will give you a moment of pause and reflection as your wind down the week. If you would like to submit a poem for consideration, please send submissions to yboose@niu.edu

Poetically Yours Ep. 39 - COVID-19 Vaccinations Give Wisconsin Poet Hope

David Artbook Johnson
Charles Payne

Welcome to Poetically Yours. Poetically Yours showcases poems by northern Illinois poets but today WNIJ is closing out National Poetry month with work by Wisconsin poet Charles Payne.

Payne was born in Michigan. He currently resides in Madison, Wisconsin. As a child, he loved hearing the sound of Paul Harvey’s voice. Payne said Harvey’s innate ability to describe every intricate detail truly inspired him.

Payne’s works explore personal narrative and social commentary from his experience as a working poor Black male dying to live and living to die. 

He's performed at poetry slams and is the winner of the ALL Originals prize for his poem “Dead End.” Payne also wrote a book entitled "Love, Payne, Hate and Adversity."

This week, he's sharing his confidence of vaccinations in his poem "The Cure."


put needle in skin
let the vaccine seep in

no withholding food or medicine
no poisoning Black & Indigenious North Americans

biased malpractice still exists
We no longer their experiments

Sarah Baartmen
Henrietta Lacks

We can trust a vaccine
designed by a woman who’s Black

but what about our First Nation’s
ghosts of racist’s past

turning their ugly head
when we ask

about Aboriginal children
government made lab rats

can’t go from to sea to sea
to the great white north

study unethical, tuskegee
wards of state, custody

north star ain’t set Us free
can’t stand in liberation, solidarity

racism is a virus with no cure
a vaccine will help us endure

racism is a virus with no cure
a vaccine will help us endure

  • Yvonne Boose is a current corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.