This Poem was Submitted By: Latorial D. Faison On Date: 2005-02-23 01:50:43 . . . Click Here To Mail this Poem to a Friend!

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Open Your Eyes

Open . . . your . . . eyes They are not there All of those people Why would they care That you haven't been liberated,  Educated, spiritually emancipated That the only thing you feel is  . . . hated  Open your eyes That's not opportunity "you see" Just another quick flick, I mean fix a more mental slavery Phat Farm, Sean John The limos and the "bling" You see, that's where success takes us When we're good at anything Rapping, balling, Even pulpit shot calling Sometimes I wonder why He keeps the sky from falling Too many of the right words  Never get played, read or heard But we're still writing and reciting We figure it's better than fighting To survive, to stay alive,  Marking territory we've been denied,  Don't look surprised We've learned to thrive on lies We're so busy waiting  For those acres and the mules That we can't find the time  To stand up or grab the right tools Tools of power: revelation and knowledge Financial freedom and college If we don't possess the land Then slavery really isn't abolished OPEN YOUR EYES Open your eyes  Open your Eyes

Copyright © February 2005 Latorial D. Faison

Additional Notes:
Phat Farm and Sean Jean (urban clothing lines)

This Poem was Critiqued By: Turner Lee Williams On Date: 2005-02-28 22:36:34
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.83333
Latorial– An emotional charged piece vehemently addressing inner racial/cultural issues. Protagonist title and subsequent verbiage (IMO) metaphorically and adamantly is an appeal to Blacks of all ages and stations to become conscious of the “real world” and its ‘bona fide requisites’. Furthermore, scribe inferences these present/ sell out/readily available/easily excepted enticements are beguiling. The ending refrain(s) are emphatic and gives a sense of finality. Thanks for this personal ren- dering of a bold reflection on a pertinent and current situation. TLW

This Poem was Critiqued By: arnie s WACHMAN On Date: 2005-02-28 19:43:36
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.62500
Okay, I identify with this. As a Jew I am not immune to bigotry and hatred. Did you know that Jews weren't allowed to buy real estate in Florida until around 1948? (My parents moved to Florida in 1947) Did you know Arthur Godfry, the well know broadcaster, openly ranted against Jews on his daily radio program from Miami Beach? Jews have found the way to own land, and that is through education believe it! Thanks for this ] piece. It tells exactly how you feel.
This Poem was Critiqued By: Gerard A Geiger On Date: 2005-02-25 21:22:37
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Dear Latorial; This is an important work. The message is the street culture of the oppressed...leads to continue the cycle...of underachievement...and subsequent economic (second stanza) is the key to breaking out of this economic bring this home in the following lines: That we can't find the time To stand up or grab the right tools Tools of power: revelation and knowledge Financial freedom and college Too many young people in America swallow the idea of hitting a home run ball and reaping great fame and financial reward far surpassing the amount of time, education and overall effort necessary to maintain that high standard of living.. The only antidote to this intoxicant is education and successive responsible work experience...which are the necessary ingredients to build a legitimate career, and climb out of the urban trenches. Thanks for sharing this insightful work. Best always, Gerard
This Poem was Critiqued By: Elaine Marie Phalen On Date: 2005-02-25 12:55:38
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Hi Latorial, This is a thought-provoking piece with a simmering anger underlying each line. The message is clear: true freedom isn't dressed in the hippest clothing or the most expensive trinkets. Your repetition of "open your eyes" is intended to shock the audience into greater self-awareness. Your poem delivers a powerful condemnation of contemporary attitudes: we have to re-examine our own concepts of what makes a person "emancipated". If we tie ourselves to the latest gimmicks, we're hardly liberated. We're just conforming to the expectations of media and popular culture. "They are not there/all of those people" ... I believe this means the ancestors of the current generation; they would not care about the surface trimmings that seem so important to today's young people. Although one could apply the theme to a universal situation, I'm taking this poem to be in more specific reference to African-American history, as this has been one of your concerns in other poems. Now, of course, legalized slavery has vanished ... yet hatred and divisiveness continue. But the opportunity that turns to "quick fix" is hardly going to enrich the spirit. It's just a tangible display of surface success, right? The true slavery then becomes a condition of the mind and soul, not of the body. It's a lot harder to escape those kinds of inner chains. To survive, to stay alive, Marking territory we've been denied, Don't look surprised We've learned to thrive on lies What excellent use of "i" assonance all through this passage! The ironic "we've learned to thrive on lies" has a dual implication - these are people who've managed to endure centuries of abusive treatment; however, many young people, regardless of ethnicity or race, can fool themselves into believing that they're only as good as the gold they wear or the car they drive. The worst lies of all are the ones we tell ourselves. We're so busy waiting For those acres and the mules That we can't find the time To stand up or grab the right tools The tools that will advance any group aren't necessarily material possessions ... we wield more influence through our creativity, our words and our attitudes than we can do through our physical labor. Perhaps we should focus more on "being" than on "owning". This is true for anyone. "Revelation and knowledge" are so critical. Ignorance is not bliss. If we focus on the short term, we'll miss out on the broader horizons. In the end, everyone must take ownership of his or her own destiny. The "land" we must possess is a country of the imagination as well as a literal plot of ground. We do need to know what's worth pursuing and what's merely a temporary pleasure. Very well done! Brenda
This Poem was Critiqued By: Troy D Skroch On Date: 2005-02-24 21:51:39
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.92308
Latorial, Here we are again. How is it that you can attack a problem so from so many different angles and do it freshly and creatively each time? Open . . . your . . . eyes They are not there All of those people Why would they care That you haven't been liberated, Educated, spiritually emancipated That the only thing you feel is . . . hated The first line of the first stanza is a command to be read slowly and with authority. The voice doesn't have to be loud but strong. I sense that. When you say "They are not there" I see that as a generalization given to describe the masses of uncaring whatever the race. But yes I would agree with you there. It seems to me when I drive to work and reflect on what people care about that social justice is not high on the list. Everyone keeps giving the same rhetoric and lip service about how people should pick themselves up by the "boot straps" and get on with it. Yet at the same time, those same said people will go out of their way to make sure that those people only go so far. If you are not gifted these days or understand how to educate yourself or find a support network, it's tough. Hopefully, you're not "hated," but I live in Wisconsin and usually everyone gets along except the Polish who like to drink and fight. LOL I just happen to be a part Polish; a part which took me years to tame. LOL Yes, "hated" perceived or real it's the same thing and takes years to remove. Unfortunately people will always find a reason to hate somebody. Open your eyes That's not opportunity "you see" Just another quick flick, I mean fix a more mental slavery Phat Farm, Sean John The limos and the "bling" You see, that's where success takes us When we're good at anything I really like the implications of these two stanzas. I read them in two different ways. First I see you alluding to the material things that many of the successful "role model" or famous African American people buy to try to shake that feeling of not being successful or hated or just "less" because of their color. In part I feel that is the "mental slavery" you are referring to as well as the perception of not being equal. Put them together and there are not enough toys in the world to make a person happy. I also read these stanzas and apply them to the country in general. How many trips to the mall or the fashion store do we need to make. My word, the marketing and competitiveness of this society has enslaved the whole country. We have grown morbidly obese on name brand everything, yet the elderly are on waiting lists to get assistance for their basic needs. Here's something that really gets me. I drive by a casino every once in awhile and the parking lot is always full of people, but when I try to raise funding for charitable events people make me feel like a beggar. Too many of the right words Never get played, read or heard But we're still writing and reciting We figure it's better than fighting To survive, to stay alive, Marking territory we've been denied, Don't look surprised We've learned to thrive on lies Wonderful lyrical lines. When I read this poem the first time I thought it was a rap song in a way. Maybe you've written songs or raps I don't know, but with your intellect and abilities you could sure write them. But you are right, many of the words that people need to hear are somehow excluded or glossed over. With time however the message keeps coming out and eventually popular sentiment changes. I also sense a certain cynicism in the second stanza. Unfortunately, when something or somebody is abused they tend to become the abuser later on if the opportunity presents itself. Hopefully you are not encountering that in your plight, because not matter how wrong the people were that started the fight, the only thing that people remember is what they can see. If in fact this is an issue in the fight for equality, it can be your own worst enemy. I learned that early on after I punched kid who had hit me unprovoked. My father made me apologize. I kept trying to tell him that I didn't start it. That night I was so mad at my dad I cried. It wasn't until many years later that I was able to understand what he was trying to tell me. We're so busy waiting For those acres and the mules That we can't find the time To stand up or grab the right tools Tools of power: revelation and knowledge Financial freedom and college If we don't possess the land Then slavery really isn't abolished OPEN YOUR EYES Open your eyes Open your Eyes These last stanzas are how you "hit back" so to speak. And it's tough to get people to make a decision to try to better themselves when they may not realize the fruits of their labors until their children are bigger or their children's children are bigger. It's unfair if it is direct result of discrimination, but unfortunately it's the way it is. Changing it quickly is like spanking an elephant. In the mean time some people will commit to change or bettering their position if given a chance, some will give up and look for the easy road, and some will just plain shut down. It is a difficult situation. One bright point is to remember to love each other and everyone else enough to enjoy the life we're given. Overall I loved the lyrical style of your voice. It just seems to drive the message home. If your words were being rapped we would all be better off. I would really like to hear your poetry in your voice. If you ever have the desire to do a recorded reading I would sure like a copy. And of course would pay for any costs, shipping, etc... Oh, and what is "pulpit shot calling". It sounds like hypocrisy or something akin to that. I hope I didn't bore you with my response. I enjoyed the read. Troy
This Poem was Critiqued By: Joanne M Uppendahl On Date: 2005-02-24 13:33:13
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Latorial: This thoughtful, thought-provoking and engrossing poem seems an ideal companion piece for "Radical is the Revolution." Your poetic voice has a strong rhythm, a confrontational stance for its audience. Though I am not of the same ethnic heritage as the speaker, I am struck by this poem as if I, too, had just been awakened from sleep. In the first stanza, I was puzzled at first by “They are not there” wondering to whom ‘they’ refers. My inference is that ‘they’ are those other people, perhaps even the movers and shakers, the advertisers, the politicians, the other ‘they’ who are the ones who said what ‘they said’ and went away. It’s easy to remain asleep thinking that ‘they’ understand and are speaking up for the rights that one expects in 2005. I place myself in the context of listening to the speaker as one ‘those’ to whom she addresses her comments. Truly, ‘they’ aren’t saying anything – but the speaker is! That you haven't been liberated, Educated, spiritually emancipated That the only thing you feel is . . . hated Bold, dramatic and straightforward. Not tippy-toeing around pretending that all is well and no one is being overlooked, that people living in many, many US cities are no longer segregated, that there is equal chance for all to succeed. The use of the word “hated” is enough to shake readers up, make them realize that idealism hasn’t helped, either. Stagnation, settling for the status quo, is not growth, is not the revolution that needs to happen. Incisive, crisp wording and rhythm, and particularly effective, the wordplay of “quick flick, I mean fix” – an example of having to say something other than what one means in order to ‘play the game’ as the establishment wants it played. The ‘sound byte’ comes to mind immediately. The illusion/delusion of mass entertainment. “a more mental slavery” addresses the poem’s theme and also alerts this reader to the mental slavery of all of us who watch TV for endless hours, accepting as reality what is seen flickering before our eyes. Buy the car, the shoes, subscribe to the values, and accept what is false as truthful and ‘you can have it all’ because ‘you are worth it!’ I’m glad for your additional notes, as I couldn’t identify the proper nouns in L1 of S4. The writer’s point that the results of success for her audience need to exceed the glitter and glamour of designer names, “limos” and the “bling” is well made. Who profits from these items? Not the people to whom the writer addresses her remarks. Where do you want to go with your lives, you ask readers to consider. Are you willing to settle for this? Aren’t you worth more? Sometimes I wonder why He keeps the sky from falling Indeed! I don’t have an inside view of the speaker’s point, but am stirred by her words. When what is false extends into worship, then the price for letting things ‘slide’ would injure one’s soul. Too many of the right words Never get played, read or heard But we're still writing and reciting We figure it's better than fighting – Yes! Amen! To survive, to stay alive, Marking territory we've been denied, Don't look surprised We've learned to thrive on lies The stanza above catches the listener unaware, and the imagery of a shocked, surprised listener has a provocative effect. The poetic ‘rightness’ of “thrive on lies” is stunning in context, for the writer tells the very truths that have been hushed, boldly and with verve. I think this poem builds and builds, as at first you wake up the reader, then you stir up the reader, and then you inform the reader. You give direct and ‘powerful tools’ in the closing stanza which blaze before my eyes and make me want to bend my own efforts more in this direction: “Tools of power: revelation and knowledge Financial freedom and college If we don't possess the land Then slavery really isn't abolished” Words that stir one’s emotions are potent energizers. The poet gently and persistently takes the reader back to the opening line, with the injunction: OPEN YOUR EYES Open your eyes Open your Eyes My sense is that this is an excellent performance piece. It deserves the benefit of the earnest ardor in the speaker’s own voice to reach out to listeners everywhere. Magnificently done. It’s a great privilege to comment on this poem, Latorial. My every good wish for success in all you do! Brava. Best always, Joanne
This Poem was Critiqued By: Claire H. Currier On Date: 2005-02-24 10:06:49
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.67647
Well Poet this one certainly hits you in the gut....Open Your Eyes.......for many this is so true....and for those that already have their eyes opened should consider opening their heart as well........good form, structured to carry one along with the word flow, the images created as you wrote on....feelings, emotions, hope perhaps for the generations to follow as was the case with those before is still all about slavery though poet.......the lack of freedom associated for so many in this land of freedom. Thank you for your insight once more, for taking the time to care and reach out to others, for allowing your feelings to flow....hopefully someday reaching the right person who can and will make that difference. God Bless, Claire
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