Fist Power

Eyes rolled back, collapse.
Cling to air, fight back.
Fingers lunge to gouge their eyes,
Weaken them, retrieve your position.

You slept on them, dreaming lazily,
They woke rejuvenated,
Staying woke; silence fuelled new found strength,
Exercised around your defunct resistance bands.

Strength not in numbers, but in few.
Sturdy metal coursing through them,
Almost indestructible,
Abilities bestowed by misguided sources.

Snapping out of your slumber too late,
Their limb had shot out, grabbed you by the jugular,
Squeezing, tightening, gripping
Bringing you to your knees.

You will bend to their routine.

Shaniqua Benjamin

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Prostitution of Their Names

Is it too much to call you a pimp?

Are my crass words hitting too close to home?

Maybe, not like your actions are illegal,

No sexual favours exchanged;

But immoral, exploiting young souls for your pleasure and gain

Purchased by the American people and beyond.

 

Would you describe exploiting as overreaching?

I disagree; I’m not here to romance your ego.

You pluck these stars from the abyss,

Forcing them to shine bright for you,

As you squeeze out dollars from every inch of their figures

Stealing from them in plain sight.

 

What, is stealing too criminal for your liking?

You may not have taken what was theirs,

Since it was never given to them in the beginning.

Running them ragged with your regime,

Simultaneously plucking food from their hands before it reaches their mouths,

Expecting Icarus standards, damned if they fall.

 

Do you find the term regime off-putting?

What do you expect, as the young put their backs out for free

While you recline back, raking in the millions.

Handing out uniforms and chump change for education

As if that makes up for vacant family faces during their shining moments.

The prostitution of their own names.

 

Are you going to tell me prostitution is too much now?

I won’t be banned or silenced;

I’m raging with Shabazz Napier on the biggest stage, his roar says everything.

These aren’t slaves for you to master over them,

Abusing their needs, taking advantage of their bodies, ignoring their brains.

It’s time you rehabilitate to show these stars light at the end of the tunnel.

– Shaniqua Benjamin

I’ll Miss You Uncle Clifford

Yesterday, one of my most treasured members of my church family was laid to rest.  When I learned of his death on an afternoon in December, I was devastated, mainly because I missed out on the opportunity to visit him when he was sick.  The fault was no one’s but mine.  I should have made the time to visit him and speak to him when I had the chance, but now I won’t have that chance again – not until Jesus returns that is.

Uncle Clifford was a very special individual.  He was one of the people I would always make an effort to seek out and say hello when I came to church on Sabbath.  If he didn’t see me, I know that he would ask my mum, “How are my daughters?” inquiring about both me and my sister.  He was someone who would always remember you and genuinely cared about how you were.

Seeing Uncle Clifford never failed to put a smile on my face.  I always looked forward to seeing him, greeted by his grin, warming presence and always a “Hello darling” in his distinct Jamaican tongue.  There was also always a hug and kiss on the cheek waiting for me.  Knowing that I’m not going to hear that treasured greeting again or see his smiling face on Sabbath brings great sadness to my heart, as I know that church will never feel the same again.  Having to see someone else sitting in his spot next to Uncle Jim will be a strange sight for me.

I also enjoyed seeing Uncle Clifford sitting with Uncle Jim at the church’s soup kitchen on Tuesday evenings.  Having the opportunity to see him there in the week made coming to the soup kitchen even better, as I was treated to his trademark greeting and some conversation.

His strength continued through and through, not complaining about any pain or illness he was in, which is a quality I truly admire.  He was always caring and considerate, offering me and my mum lifts home on a number of occasions.  Uncle Clifford would always want to ensure you were safe, well and happy, doing what he could to make it happen.

The moment I heard of his passing, I knew that I was going to miss him, but at his funeral yesterday, it hit me just how much I was going to miss his presence in my life.  Uncle Clifford was a simple, constant figure who brought joy to my days, but I don’t think he realised the impact he had on my life by just being who he was.  I’m glad he’s at peace now and I’m looking forward to seeing him again on that day when Jesus comes.  I love you always Uncle Clifford.