Poem by Poetic Taee

by Tiese “Poetic Taee” Austin
12th grade, Truman Middle College

CPS done CPD’d my education. 

Seized every lesson plan planned to educate me about my people and killed my dreams. Remember, African American lit is an elective. Anything not slavery or Jim Crow is neglected. Teach them to fail themselves. Never take a brown horse to water if it’s thirsty. Teach them to be oppressed. Never teach them of any success. A black man held a light bulb above my head while Thomas plotted on how to flip the switch. Said a white man did it. A white man has always done it. He always schooling my people giving them projects, the hood. We don’t know how to spell neighbor because we’re redlined into not being one. We steady talkin Ls. We don’t have neighbors because they are our family. Blood brothers, cell mates. Schools can’t keep track of funds for books or to pay teachers but got projectors in the hallway to lure new prey into prisons. Punish the poor because of your privilege. Fed like criminals just not in loafs. Loath meeting adulthood because I can’t pay taxes, or mortgage, or buy a car but I know Columbus stole America, I know the great gatsby from cover to cover, and I know how to graph a slope. Was never taught how to climb one though. I was taught to expect obstacles. Remember if it isn’t a challenge it isn’t enough. You are taught to never be enough. Surrender to the the most high… ACT Score. ACT, act like you know what you’re doing. Act like you don’t know ACT stands for Anchoring Colored Teens. Act like a score doesn’t make you feel poor about yourself. Act like a score doesn’t set you up to be poor in the future. They grade you to degrade you. Put a pencil in your hand and a Scantron on your desk and demand you pass with no knowledge in your mind and no lead. Lead you to the valleys of the shadows of college and jobs. Barefoot and hungry. Crawling, reaching, and praying for the test to be over.