Sirens Are Our Lullabies!

Shots ring out every night
in this city gushing blood.
And in daylight, it’s the same,
awash in a crimson flood.

Sirens are our lullabies;
a crime scene, our parade.
We stand and stare at the dead,
then into a grave, they are laid.

None of it makes any sense,
Black men killing their own kind.
And I just make excuses
as though to reality, I am blind.

I blamed it all on poverty;
a lack of jobs and single moms.
And I threw in for good measure
that so many are bearing arms.

I thought I had all the answers.
Open a store or two in the hood
that catered to the poor,
but that won’t do us any good.

What is needed, I don’t know.
I throw my hands up in the air.
Our murder rate is off the charts.
And it would seem that we don’t care.

Another day, another murder.
And sometimes, more than one.
We’re just mowing each other down,
and hell, there ain’t nowhere to run.

More babies without fathers,
more mothers without their sons
because we have lost our minds,
 when to solve our problems, we use guns.

Written by,
Shelby I. Courtland
©2017 Shelby I. Courtland

‘Did you hear that?’: Amid Baltimore’s surge in killings, a faint cry in a locked car

BALTIMORE — No one saw the baby.

She sat in a gold-hued car with tinted black windows as her 26-year-old father lay on the ground outside, dying.

All eyes were on him, another fallen body in a city increasingly defined by them.

In portions of Baltimore, the strobe of police cars is as much a part of the landscape as boarded-up homes. But the pace of the killings this year has been stunning as the city struggles to recover from rioting in 2015. As of Friday, 124 people had been slain, including five on a recent day, making Baltimore’s homicide rate one of the highest in the country. It is more than triple Washington’s rate and higher than the homicide rates in New Orleans and Chicago, two places that have become national symbols of gun violence.

I came to this city, not with expectations of having everlasting fun, but with the hope that there was something I could do to help in a city that claimed my heart over a decade ago. And now, I am beyond frustrated. If I told you all that has happened to me since I’ve been here, you’d all wonder why I have not thrown myself into the nearest psych ward and wrapped my own ass in a wrap-around jacket. I have been carjacked, almost robbed at gun point on a city bus, my cousin was shot two months after arriving here and I am terrified to leave my own neighborhood. I am already preparing to leave this city. I have not seen anything like this. I guess when I was here before, I was young and fearless, but now that I am older and damn near completely incapacitated thanks to injuries, I look at things differently and I am absolutely horrified at what I see. This city is off the chain. I ask myself all the time, “What was I thinking?” And if you read the article, a statement by a former Baltimore planning director tells it all.

“People don’t realize it’s worse than Chicago,” said Otis Rolley, former Baltimore planning director and a onetime mayoral candidate. His 23-year-old nephew, Andrew Zachary, a former Marine, was the 15th person killed in the city this year. “This man was trained by the U.S. government and had the skills and ability to survive in a combat situation overseas but was unable to navigate the streets of Baltimore. And that is a scary, scary thing.”

There is no need to suit up and head to Iraq or Afghanistan to see some combat action, just come to Baltimore. You’ll get more ‘action’ than you bargained for, believe me! Baltimore is a warzone! Helicopters fly overhead, non-stop. Sirens are non-stop. It is not even safe to take public transit. It is not safe to drive. It is not safe to walk down the street. It is not safe to peep out your window. For the love of !!!!!

When The Tables Are Turned…

weapons of war

warzone in AmeriKKKa

I opened a book, thinking that
I would immerse myself
in literature and escape reality.
But that book is back on my shelf.

For one minute, I cannot clear
a mind that has been filled
with the sights and sounds
of retribution for those killed.

Should I offer up thanks
to the gods of an eye for an eye?
Or merely be grateful
that more racists have gone, bye-bye?

You, who pretend to be the keepers
of the flame for justice and law
are finding yourselves, judged
and punished, for you are not without flaw.

When the tables are turned
and you become the hunted,
suddenly, your fright is palpable
as your mortality is confronted.

Not liking what you see,
you cry, “Victim!”
But those you killed, cry out for vengeance
against an oppressive and racist system.

Written by,
Shelby I. Courtland
©2016 Shelby I. Courtland

Ex-U.S. Marine kills 3 policemen in racially tense Baton Rouge

BATON ROUGE, La., July 17 A decorated ex-U.S. Marine sergeant opened fire on police in Baton Rouge on Sunday, killing three officers, nearly two weeks after the fatal police shooting of a black man there sparked nationwide protests, one of them shattered by the massacre of five Dallas policemen.

And in the alleged shooters own words, “It’s only fighting back or money. That’s all they care about,” he said to the camera. “Revenue and blood, revenue and blood, revenue and blood.”

Train a man to kill and that is exactly what he will do. And just as all KKKops are trained to kill as are all soldiers, they are now battling it out on the streets of AmeriKKKa. And since both have access to weapons, well now, batten down the hatches.

I do not think that the countries and nations that have advised their citizens to proceed to America with extreme caution are going to cease with their travel advisories any time soon.

And this time, we have a decorated ex-U.S. marine sergeant, decorated for what, I do not know as all the details are not in as of yet. But I am quite certain that the medals and commendations that he earned were not for cake decorating, eating the most hotdogs in a hotdog eating contest or for coming in first place in a Frisbee toss. Now, you can think that I am making fun of this all you want, but the truth is that this is no laughing matter because the summer of our discontent only just started on June 21st. We are not even at the half-way mark and with two Conventions to get through, this does not bode well for the rest of a summer that has been described as an extremely ‘hot’ one and not just thanks in part to climate change.

I am compelled to ask, “Are you enjoying your summer?” I am!

They Are Not After Me!

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…and though I rage at the system in place,
at my own inadequacies, I don’t want to face.

When I turn away from a homeless man,
I know that I am not doing all that I can.

And how many times have I helped the victims of hate?
When have I found myself stepping up to the plate?

When I ask myself, “What about the sick and the hungry,
and what help did I offer to a strung out junkie?”

When bombs are dropped on innocent heads,
they say, “Look at all the tears she sheds!”

I stand around and cry crocodile tears,
and then I shut the door on all my fears.

I am so afraid of the horrors I see.
For if they are busy killing you, they are not after me!


Written by,
Shelby I. Courtland
©2014 Shelby I. Courtland

Keep thinking that ‘they’ll’ not be after you! ‘They’ intend on handing each of us our ass on a platter. It is just a matter of time and time is what we’re all fast running out of! Just look around you, the world is on fire from Gaza to Iraq, from Ukraine to Qatar, from Libya to Afghanistan, from Syria to Darfur, from Yemen to Somalia, from Pakistan to Venezuela, from Honduras to Guatemala, from Detroit MI to Stockton CA, from the tunnels of the homeless in Las Vegas NV to the homeless street walkers in Atlantic City NJ, from the slums of Calcutta to the sweatshops of Bangladesh and they are coming for you and for me!

“Why?!”

Why must we seek to destroy each other?
Why not simply live in peace with our brother?

Why does hate consume our very soul?
Like a hot, smouldering fire, deeper than the blackest hole.

Why is there no love in every human heart?
How can we find it? Do we know where to start?

Why are we so callous and indifferent to suffering?
We hurl hateful words, never once are we stuttering.

Why make weapons that kill indiscriminately?
In the name of a group, or act, independently.

Why must we continue to be our own worst enemy?
As with great relish, stoke the flames of hostility.

Why will we never learn that we are all unique?
Why is the outlook for our future so damn bleak?

Why does one show such enmity for another?
Why can we not love? Too much of a bother?

Why can I find no hope for tomorrow?
WHY?! WHy?! Why? The echo is so hollow!

Written by,

Shelby I. Courtland

The Boston Marathon bombing was a horrible tragedy! The above poem was written for the innocent victims, their family and friends. My heart goes out to each and every one of them! And also for those who did all they could to help! Words simply fail me in trying to figure out why or how any human being could do this to another!