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A Psalm For the Ghetto: From My Block to Yours; Poems by Adebisi Agoro

ghettopsalmcover.jpg by Tanya Cromartie-Twaddle

Adebisi Agoro’s debut book of poetry is a profound look into the soul of a young black man. The self-published effort succeeds in delivering with rhythmic honesty sentiments and controversial views on life in America shared by scores of young black men whose voices are too often dismissed. “I ask all those reading this to be considerate of the perspective from which I write, which is from the perspective of all oppressed black youth trapped in the ghetto, trying to find a way out. ” Raw and unapologetic, the graphic collage on the cover of the book is a clear indication of what the reader will find inside. Crafted together are stark images from Adebisi’s world. The collage illustrates the hardships of poverty, the faces of oppression, and the tragedies that are the stories of too many young lives. The opening poem, “Black Boy,” offers the reader a look into how young boys grow into what many deem the “angry black man.” “…You were born into this world And told you would never make it Black Boy not a nigga, a gangster, a thug Hardened to the fact where love and hugs hurt Boy Boy it is hard being black for this black boy And at times At times Black is sin But black is my s-k-i-n…” A Psalm for the Ghetto is not a collection of soft-spoken sentiments and pretty reflections. He explains, “To some the contents of these writings may seem vulgar or too real, but to me it’s reality and that’s all I know.” In his poem “Poetry,” Adebisi shares the magnitude of impact he wants his words to have. “My poetry be political like power to the people. My poetry be powerful like Black Panther propaganda. Pamphlets. Potent like pussys giving birth to mercenaries. Producing black revolutionaries.” Adebisi’s poetry is full of infectious sound and fluid images. His stories move on the page. His use and manipulation of the English language is both artistry and protest. The work is a multi-layered experience. It is entertaining, politically and intellectually driven, and laced with his wrenching emotions of struggle. This is most evident in the poem “Ghetto Hollywood USA” which ‘reads like a classic old school street rhyme’. “…on the front yard of a mansion brothas play spades while drinkin’ forties in Versaces while watching a fledging actress practice ariel back flips off an abandoned pissy street mattress… …The concrete sizzles when the block is hot Pop! Pop! Thud Drop Blood drops Thug drops 1,2,3,4 heart stops Flatline……………………………….” Adebisi is a Yoruba name meaning “crowns in multiple.” This activist, poet, actor, and emcee, doesn’t hold back on page or the stage. I first heard Adebisi the emcee in December at a Thai Joe’s music showcase called Lime Lite. As one fan put it, “Solo, without a backup or hypeman, he easily rocked the mic like a veteran.” He speaks with one of the most powerful voices in our Hip Hop culture today and is an outspoken activist for political and social justice issues. From emcee battles back in high school to his current performances at open mic venues throughout the Midwest, and his current sampler CD, Street Scholar, Adebisi shares his lyrical skills with people from all walks of life. His messages are strong and powerfully Black. The truth he tells is timeless and transcends race and circumstance. “I hope all can enjoy these poems and in reading them find out something about yourself.”
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