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Poetically Yours - Patchwork Poetry

Yvonne Boose

Welcome to Poetically Yours. Poetically Yours showcases poems by northern Illinois poets. This episode features Scott Suma.

Suma lives in Rockford. He has many published works and is known for his haikus. Today he is sharing his poem “I Wish I Was Black.” This is a cento poem. This poetry form is put together by using lines of poetry from other poets. It is sometimes referred to as a patchwork poem.

The writer credits can be found after the poem.

I Wish I Was Black

I’d be beautiful and somebody

Powerful with a purpose

A history and a future

Creative with a cause

My time would be now and always.

I Wish I Was Black

I would be a person of substance, of flesh and bones

My soul would grow deep like rivers

I’d have the nerve to walk my own way

I would arm myself with my conscience

And live in the along.

I Wish I Was Black

I’d refuse to get up

Get in good trouble

Find diamonds in the rough

Lift as I climb

I’d bring a folding chair.

I Wish I Was Black

I’d be both African and American

Engage in struggle and make progress

Ask myself, what am I doing for others?

I’d know nobody's free until everybody's free

I would join with anyone as long as they want to change the miserable conditions that exist on earth.

I Wish I Was Black

I’d shout I’m Black and I’m proud

I would face the rising sun, lift my voice and sing, and march on ‘til victory was won

I’d blow out what is in me

Play my guitar upside down

To thee I would sing.

I Wish I Was Black

I‘d steal home

Become queen of the court

Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee

Raise my fist, take a knee,

Let the world know I am not property.

I Wish I Was Black

I’d do the math to the moon and back

Gaze into the universe

I’d keep your heart beating just fine

Or cut you open and fix it

I’d bring you blood on the battlefield.

I Wish I Was Black

I’d have body and soul

Feast on sweet potato pie

Say “Amen”


Rise, rise, rise.


Line 1 Scott Suma

Line 2 Grandassa Models and Jesse Jackson

Line 3 Stokely Carmichael

Line 4 Dr. Carter G. Woodson

Line 5 Harlem Renaissance

Line 6 Black Lives Matter

Line 7 Scott Suma

Line 8 Ralph Ellison

Line 9 Langston Hughes

Line 10 Zora Neale Hurston

Line 11 James Baldwin

Line 12 Gwendolyn Brooks

Line 13 Scott Suma

Line 14 Claudette Colvin, Rosa Parks

Line 15 John Lewis

Line 16 Mary McCleod Bethune

Line 17 Mary Church Terrel

Line 18 Shirley Chisolm

Line 19 Scott Suma

Line 20 W.E.B. DuBois

Line 21 Fredrick Douglas

Line 22 Rev. M.L.K. Jr.

Line 23 Fanny Lou Hamer

Line 24 Malcolm X

Line 25 Scott Suma

Line 26 James Brown

Line 27 James Weldon Johnson

Line 28 Louis Armstrong

Line 29 Jimi Hendrix

Line 30 Marian Anderson

Line 31 Scott Suma

Line 32 Jackie Robinson

Line 33 Serena Williams

Line 34 Muhammad Ali

Line 35 Tommie Smith, John Carlos, Colin Kaepernick

Line 36 Curt Flood

Line 37 Scott Suma

Line 38 Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, and Mary Jackson

Line 39 Neil deGrasse Tyson

Line 40 Otis Boykin

Line 41 Daniel Hale Williams

Line 42 Charles Drew

Line 43 Scott Suma

Line 44 Coleman Hawkins (Johnny Green)

Line 45 Donna Henderson

Line 46 Thomas Dorsey

Line 47 Charles Albert Tindley, Atron Twigg and Kenneth Morris

Line 48 Maya Angelou

  • 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.
Yvonne covers artistic, cultural, and spiritual expressions in the COVID-19 era. This could include how members of community cultural groups are finding creative and innovative ways to enrich their personal lives through these expressions individually and within the context of their larger communities. Boose is a recent graduate of the Illinois Media School and returns to journalism after a career in the corporate world.