a force of nature

weeds, hurricanes, blackboys 


evening shadows flood the corner

bodies cling on cement stoops,

wedge against litepoles, hooptie leaners,

young blackboys rapping, itching

to get their manhood on.


cop cruisers crisscross the south bronx

dimly lit congested street, auspiciously wide open

to yet another suspicious bloodbath boogaloo anthology

of emergency medicals, schlepping

a soiled gurney laid bare:

the siren’s call.


now dancing this way, here

in macadam jungles, black streets

of cement-gray stoop, the blackbody

propitious, its nature exposed in unnatural climes.

how to survive, to thrive, striving to engineer

the enemies’ demise.



weeds defy concrete, rise from rich soil-

covered asphalt, climb to feel sun in space

above the blaring street, cracking its gray paved face,

much as irish ivy defies gravity,

climbing weathered brick

in broken city hearts.


much as devil-dare you blackboys,

death-defiant hiphop hearts, rail against

south bronx cops on profile chase. blackboys

rise from earthen cauldrons, blackmothering wombs

of refresh stretched bloodlines, from harlem

river’s mississippi delta, to the limpopo

basin’s congo square.



resting deep in sudan hilands nile headwaters,

mountains above a searing sahara, spit thunderheads

that jet-stream ocean-black whitecaps, birthing

hurricanes that smash america

again, and again.


weeds, hurricanes, blackboys,

nature takes her time to foment and ferment

in blood-transgressed space, where law, custom

and self-serving bleak social forecast

manipulate numbers, on the hunt,

stalking irreverent blackboys,



across macadam and concrete

down dim-lit asphalt alleys mauling, murdering

putting mayhem on profiled bodies, targeted bullseyes

pinned on their asses, dragging them back to angola and parchman,

slavecamps, death marches situated in dank corridors,

of gone-missing prisons, weed-overgrown

project playgrounds,


blackbodies rendered irrelevant

in american classrooms.



still blackboys rise to funnel hurricanes, weeds

erupting from the depth of diasporic bloodlines,

breaking open the concrete stoop, blackboys

luv fueled nature in broken city hearts.

website: http://rootfolks.com


Kétu Oladuwa, a native New Yorker, is the son of Carrie and John Taylor, Margaret Fisher and Tyrone Foster, and the grandson of Belva Fisher. He is the cultural student of “Chief” James Hawthorne Béy. While on death row in 1966, he discovered his Afrikan identity and affinity to writing. Between 1999 and 2007, he co-founded and directed the Three rivers Jenbé Ensemble, and Three Rivers Institute of Afrikan Art & Culture, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. In 2006, he led 10 students and six adults on a cultural emersion study tour to Guinea, West Afrika.

In 1967, Third World Press accepted Death Row Shadows, his initial poetry manuscript for publication; and after his release in 1971; Grossett & Dunlap optioned his autobiography. Neither book deal came to publication because Oladuwa wasn’t mature enough to see the deals through to publication. In 1976, Harlem’s Frank Silvera Writer’s Workshop staged one of his plays in a readers’ theatre production. He subsequently wrote the children’s play, Jitter and the Wolf Woman, for Griot Experimental Theatre Company, which he co-founded in Newburgh, New York, in 1980. In a collaboration with the Coalition for People’s Rights, he started the Newburgh Sun, a weekly Black Community newspaper.


As a professional journalist he has worked as managing editor of Frost Illustrated, an Afrikan American weekly, and staff writer and columnist for the Indianapolis Recorder, News-Sentinel, and Journal Gazette. He has been a talk radio show host; and co-host of the Acoustic SpokenWord Café, an hour-long WBOI 89.1FM broadcast featuring poetry and spokenword artists.


In 2013 Oladuwa released A Thousand Thousand Fireflies Never Equal Zero, a narrative poem on CD, in collaboration with Dr. George Kalamaras, and Michael F. Patterson. In July 2014, he released two CD audio chapbooks, Tone Poems from an Urban Baobab, and Blues Dahlia-Book One, Nappy Roots’ Resistance. He launched his blog, RootFolks.com, in the fall of 2015, prior to a 382-day, 48-state solo motorcycle tour.   He taught journalism for four years at Indiana-Purdue University-Fort Wayne, and has coached children and adults in writing at schools and community centers over the last 25 years.


Married and the father of five children he is a 1978 Fordham University at Lincoln Center graduate, and earned a 1983 master’s degree, from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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