Welcome to WNIJ's Poetically Yours. This segment showcases poems by northern Illinois poets. Today's episode features Darius Jackson from FourPoets, OneMic.
Jackson is the program assistant at the Center for Latino Studies, College of Education and Center for Black Studies instructor, at Northern Illinois University. He was born and raised in Harvey, Illinois. Jackson comes from a diverse, low-income culture that shapes his identity and allows him to have a unique personality within the classroom. Jackson has a bachelor's degree in English and a master’s degree in Foundations of Education, both from NIU. He is finishing up his doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction with a certificate of Foundations of Education and Policy Studies, also from NIU.
Jackson has taught intermediate piano lessons to elementary school students, reading enhancement, Foundations of Education and Black Studies courses at the university level. He’s also worked with high school students for afterschool male mentoring programs. Notably, Jackson designed and taught the first Black spoken word performance course at NIU.
Jackson is one of the founders, current treasurer and adviser of the spoken word performance and poetry organization, FourPoets, OneMic. The organization was founded in March 2018. The purpose of the group is to provide poets an opportunity to voice their social justice concerns through spoken word performances. Here's his poem "War is Pain."
I never lose my mind
I’m always staying on my grind
Trying my best to bring success, among the stress in my life
I’m just living on the edge, pushing over to I’m dead
While running for my life I hope the cops don’t shoot my head
Thinking should I renege? But instead I keep on running by.
See I tried not to cry but the pain trapped inside of me it got in—beside of me
Making me think my people are feeling how they outta be FREE.
F R double E. Now see the world has gone through a change,
Because back in old days, Blacks was getting no pay.
But it’s still no better as we strive for the minimum wage
Our sisters and brothers growing up,
testified with AIDS.
Then they say we are free like we not slaves,
But we are slaves.
All they did was change the words and ways Slaves,
Are brought up today,
Each year they update they self,
To make us feel more like the crap they made us,
see why I’m feeling fluttered I spread my arms as if I can fly
Tryna get away from all this stress the tears the pain
and all this other stuff we been through these last few years.
See War Is no longer Pain
It’s more like stress tears and rain
Falling down my face
To embrace a loud thunder going my window pane
Black hard drops that just won’t stop
Falling from the sky as I try not to get hit
Because I’m afraid I might die,
I wouldn’t be a man if I didn’t tell you that I still cry
Often times I wonder why, you hate my people so bad.
Tell me what is it that we did to make you hate us?
We in the midst of a hatred war and truth is nobody really know what for.
War Is Pain.
- 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.