Virtual Verses: Reimagining the Future

By Various Artists for Dorchester Art Project

July 17, 2020


Hello Luvs!

I am SublimeLuv (@mssublimeluv), a Spoken Word Poet from Boston, Ma. I want to give a brief background of this project that came out so beautifully. The original purpose was for this project to be a substitute for the monthly DAP open mic due to the pandemic. We originally sought out to release the work of these amazing artists at the end of May.

We were all dealing with the pandemic since March, but the world swiftly changed when the Black Lives Matter movement gained extreme momentum due to the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd at the hands of police. I believe we saw so many mass protests because of the pandemic. People were not working at the same capacity pre-pandemic; life had stalled to a certain extent for a lot of us. This pause enabled people to clearly see the problem, just how deep racism goes in this country.

We put this project on hold because so many of us were dealing with the aftereffects of what was happening around us. I chose the theme of reimagining the future out of the need for a collective deeper reflection and ideas on what the pandemic can leave us with in the future (personally or collectively), what a new earth could be. The theme was extremely open ended and did not have to include an ode to the pandemic. The work that you will see here reflects that. Thank you to everyone who was a part of this project! I hope you enjoy the art Luvs!

-SublimeLuv


Bipolar Sky - SublimeLuv

I have

Lived through

Multitudes of

Apocalypses

Woken up

Tied down

To hospital beds

Sedated

Plucked like

Feathers

From a

Manic high

I live under

A bipolar sky

Where the clouds

Bring storms

One hundred percent

Of the time

And when the

Sun shines

It is scorching

Deathly humid

I have existed

In extremes

I call balance

Home now

Eight years

Have passed

Since I left

A locked ward

This future

Continues to

Reinvent my

Past narrative

I still imagine

A new day

In the sky

But in this story

I'm traveling

Through clouds

On a plane

Visiting distant

Lands

When the world

Opens up again

I rebirth myself free

And isn't this

The audacity of hope

SublimeLuv can be found on Instagram at @mssublimeluv.


WE ARE TOMORROW - Teb

Teb can be found on Instagram @_tebspeaks and Teb's works can be found here https://linktr.ee/teb


Super Human. - Evocative

I envision a world where we remember to rest.

We rest for our bodies, our spirits, our minds

We rest for the earth also

We honor the grass, sand, and ocean under our feet

>

A world we're we create and hold community anywhere

A world where we check in with others

as well as be gentle with ourselves when we can't

Appreciate when others check in with us

And give grace when they don't

>

A world where support is not only survival, but gospel

so we share, donate, show up, again and again within our capacity

>

A world where we stay emotionally and spiritually close as well as physically

A world where everyone treats everyone essential

Provide them human treatment including housing, jobs, healthcare, and compassion

Real companions, to meet their human needs, not our privilege.

A world where we become the super humans we've dreamed of

Evocative can be found on Instagram @apoetnamedevocative.


dear hope - Livv Laughlin

image3-1

Livv Laughlin can be found at @livvlaughlin


A submission from our first featured artist, Phree

If I took the time to reimagine the future

I would color you in yellow

A sunflower

Highlight our shadows in the sun

Give birth to the newly planted seeds of happy

I’m just beginning to learn of botany

A new hobby

The origin of life

How I’ve been taught that living takes a turn of soil

How patient I’ve become digging up the roots for a replant

I’ve never been graded well at chemistry

But I’ll study the bullshit if it will sprout into something beautiful

Manure

Spread over the garden to help it flourish

Often times compost is needed to flip the dirt

To make it a breeding place for new growth

How I can now Imagine love

In my future

How I have adopted the ability to recreate from broken twigs and stems

That belonged to trees I’ve cut down

Repurposed

Sprinkled over the grass in my back yard like organic matter

I will pray for rain in April

summon the sun rays of May and June

I’ve learned that shelter is the best place for sunflowers to grow

Protecting them from the chaos of the wind

Heavy the head that wears a crown of seeds

A sunflower

As a young blossom

Will face the East during the day and follow the sun as it moves

Self pollinates

Will transform a stiffened stem as the flower becomes mature

Backbone won’t break unless it’s cut

Resilience

will allow its head to nourish another body

Medicinal in nature

An herbal remedy

Its seeds a gift to this earth

And to a flower pot

Stands as bold and beautiful alone as it does with others

And aint that a reflection of self love

An epitome of righteousness

An ultralight beam of perseverance and dedication to our most vulnerable selves

I imagine a world that finds purpose in dying

A nuance of love and the exploration of it

A casket worth burying beneath the toughened ground

And we water it back to life

Anew

A rebirth

And we call it

our future

Phree can be found on Instagram at @phree_dom


BOSTON CALLING - Hassan Ghanny

"It is now more possible to conceive the end of the world than the end of capitalism." - Fredric Jameson

An apocalypse

was brewing.

On Monday the Seaport vanished.

On Tuesday the Charles

reversed direction

and left a sandbox

under the Longfellow Bridge

that quickly filled

with earthworms.

On Wednesday the Red Line

ran outbound on the

inbound track

and never returned.

On Thursday

a second great molasses flood

overtook the Callahan Tunnel.

Cars belonging to landlords

with license plates

from as far away

as Florida

became embedded

in the amber.

On Friday the morning fog

turned acrid

and incinerated

every building

with more than 10 floors

with the exception

of Walnut Park tower.

By Friday midnight

the court officers had fled,

the Mayor had skipped town,

the district attorney

had jettisoned

herself into orbit,

and BPD had become insolvent

after every active duty officer

in a coordinated effort

drove their paddy wagons and cruisers

off the piers

and

into the Harbor.

On Saturday morning

the city was quiet.

The fare gates did not beep

because they had been left

permanently opened.

Chip readers

stopped functioning.

No one Ubered to the South End

for prix fixe brunch.

Haymarket still happened,

but the vendors overturned their carts

and everyone who came

left with three bags

of free produce

and apple cider donuts.

No one cheered at Fenway.

In fact,

the stadium had been flattened.

Onlookers

from as far away as Ringer Park

saw the Earth underneath it bloom

and a forest

filled with tropical fruits

took its place

and became one

with the Fens.

Strangers shared umbrellas.

Mothers bathed children in the Muddy River

and the faucets dripped

libations of sorrel nectar.

By Sunday it was clear

that no one was coming to rescue them.

The troops did not descend.

The National Guard was AWOL.

No President or imitation of one

made any announcement

of intervention.

It was as if Boston,

once Mashauwomak, once Tri-Mount,

had simply broke from its borders,

disentangled itself from eternity,

and floated out to sea.

In the now-vacant picnic area

where once had stood

the Millennium Tower,

the cookout was already underway.

From one old margarine container,

everyone was served

a portion of saltfish

and scorched rice.

When the clock struck noon,

everybody who had gathered there

raised a left hand full of pão de queijo,

and a right hand adorned with roses,

said grace,

said cheers,

and for the first time,

ate their fill.

Hassan Ghanny can be found on Instagram @diaspora.gothic.


My Future - Jay King

Jay King can be found on Instagram @wakandanartist.


Radical - from our second featured artist Amanda Shea

Reimage a Future?
Feels like a trick question
My ancestors are saddened by the notion of such a question
Or rather a response
That it may be my generation to build it
To reimage I must recall
The injustices of all folx
Not just of my Black and brown
The cost of the Holocaust
To the Jews
The land that's been stolen from Native Americans
Then burned to the ground once the law recognizes it was stolen
Tis the law of the land
If it's ever acknowledged then its buried
Burned into ash
Full erasure of what we been fighting for
Governmental policies that govern our bodies
Yet leave bodies in Rowanda
UN
United Nations is not what this is
They divide us to conquer us
Then ask us how we manage to have Black Magic
Deemed as a threat
Voodoo curses
It's been our medicine that they've
Wanted to keep hidden
Like blood diamonds
Our soil was tainted the moment they stepped on it
How can I radically imagine a better future?
When I'll be labeled a Radical?
Rebellious
Irrational
For not adhering to the conditions I'm given
Meanwhile I watch blood trade hands in the form of green paper
Evil faces, subliminals traced on dollar bills
Mark of the beast
Microchipped
Our wrists determine our worth
Reminds me of black men built Ford tough
Who were used as an example for obedience
Left breathless due to their build
Framed as super predators
Our labor was predotarized
Our art, our culture
Appropriately appropriated
No more white guilt tears
We need more than guilty verdicts and apologies
We need acknowledgement and accountability

We are the movement
Creating yet another movement
Instead of gentrification
The luxury apartments are not affordable
Neither is healthcare
My mental health is unstable
Stop stigmatizing us
Our black lives matter
Air is a necessity
Let us breathe in
Quality of life
Equity
Equality
Our names, birth and dead names are respected
We reclaim ourselves
Our land, our banks, our institutions
In a world that can see us and love us for who truly are

Humans

Amanda Shea can be found on Instagram @amandasheaallday.


BLACK IS A PREEXISTING - D. Ruff

It seems like its always an

Underlying condition for black folk

It's not Covid-19

Its diabetes

Its not Covid-19

Its asthma

It's not COVID

Its hypotension

High blood pressure

Mental disorders

But its not how

gentrification

lack of resources

Nepotism

Corporate greed

led to this way silently in the public eye

As the public eye, becomes picky about it's outrage

Protest?

It's not police murder

If he hadn't been...

You know they need says

They just should've listened

But during covid

Its we need to work

Covid isn't picky

The company's response is

If you're black and don't get sick

Ya wallet got preexisting conditions...

Bill's got your credit card short of breath

Job security brings anxiety to your back account

Either you're a count on the sheet, or rethink strategy on your feet

We're at risk

trying to avoid risk

And it's labeled as preexisting

Like racism right?

Like classism maybe?

Like oppressive behaviors?

It's always suggested...

As if they'll come up with solutions

As if solutions haven't been presented

when are white folks going to examine their preexisting presented?

Or do we have to wait til they're on their deathbed for solutions?

D. Ruff can be found on Instagram @d_ruff3.


Heaven - Kris with a K

Kris can be found at @kriswithakcreates.


Reimagining - SublimeLuv

I sing

Bellowing

From my

Gut

It is

A hymn

A prayer

An invocation

I summon

The winds

Of change

To sweep

This nation

Lift us up

As if we are

In the eye

Of a tornado

Move us rapidly

May we shift

Our path of

Destruction

Let these winds

Destroy what

No longer

Serves us here

My song

Now becomes

A chant

A mantra

An offering

To the new

Earth that

Will grow

After the tornado

Ravages the land

And the winds

Cease

I call fourth

Not a rebirth

This is a reimagining

A fresh inception

I dream of

A new future

One led by

The youth

The poor

The people of

The global majority

For we hunger

For structural change

A society with conscience

In this version of events

We will look back

And praise the storm

That shifted us here

It will become monument

The sacrifice for a

More fruitful existence

I sing

Bellowing

From my

Gut

This hymn

This prayer

This invocation

SublimeLuv can be found on Instagram at @mssublimeluv.


Thank you to all that submitted and follow us @dorchesterartproject for more updates on the DAP Open Mic.