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The Lie Called ‘Budget Cuts’

Ode to an unheard voice
Of an elder who has no more SSI,
A child with no mama under which to cry,
A migrant worker being incarcerated while working
Trying to keep her family alive,
A person with no health care,
Therapy or help, only waiting to die.
These are the sounds of violence,
Unheard screams and brutal acts of silence.
The weapon is a lie called Budget Cuts.

                               — Tiny Gray-Garcia, founder of Poor Magazine

Bay Area Rappers BRWN BFLO

   Bay Area rappers BRWN BFLO took their name from the 1972 autobiography by Oscar Zeta Acosta, “Brown Buffalo” — a tale of an alienated Mexican-American lawyer in Oakland whose Chicano pride and sense of history are awakened. Except their barrio story is set to a HipHop beat.
   On stage, BRWN BFLO is fun and energetic but always political with the intellectual creativity of old-school rappers like Afrika Bambaataa. “They can’t kill us all and they can’t deport us,” rapped Big Dan, his long black hair flying about his face as he sang about coming up Chicano in the United States. BRWN BFLO honors both their Latino and Native American roots.
   Hip-hop, ethnicity and a dedication to political activism brought together the quartet of college-educated Californians who characterize BRWN BFLO as a storytellers keeping alive our long and common history of resistance. “We’re all on the hip-hop tip.” So using hip-hop was the logical choice as their medium to communicate with young people grappling with broken schools, broken homes and a broken system.
   Calling themselves “edu-tainers” and block educators, they try to stay close to their community roots and preach the gospel of violence prevention, cultural pride and La Raza resistance that  students in dysfunctional schools learn piecemeal. BRWN BFLO uses HipHop, spoken word and poetry to awaken people to the positive need for community and the fight for a real future for everyone.  — Steven Miller (The above includes information from an Oakland Tribune article by Angela Woodall.)

Check out the high-caliber artistry evident in their music video “The Reappearance” available at Also go to

“look all around
i see the brown and the black
with a smile on their face
and a child on their back
trying to treat us like some rats
or catch us in a trap
forget that,
we want cash and a signed contract
we pay taxes
though they pay us in pennies
willie lynch trickle down theory
feed the envy
or so they thought
but our roots run deeper”

— from “Powerful” by BRWN BFLO

Nightfall: Poems to Ponder in War and Uncertainty

When prisons become the fastest growth industry
Our minds and hearts become the imprisoned
When the past of blood and conquest is denied
The land gives back this blood in torrents
When war is the only imagination of the people
The people’s imagination becomes an insurrection
When we sacrifice lives, including our children’s
Evil becomes as common as breathing
When truth scares us to apathy
Our only truths come from the most fantastic lies
When enemies are whoever our leaders say they are
We won’t know an enemy from a rainbow
When power and wealth drives social policy
All policies are subject to poetic death
When my son asks, do I have to go to war?
A father’s duty is to war against war first
When people say peace is the absence of conflict
They have no idea what they’re talking about
When war forces us to die outside of ourselves,
We have to learn to live from inside our bones.


I see the lost youth of America
finding their way
with plenty to fight for, not just against.
Thousands marching across the land,
walking out of schools, putting up signs,
and talking the ears off their friends.
Rigorous, animated and brave
instead of sad and silent down the hallways.

The above poems are excerpts from a longer poem published in “My Nature is Hunger” by Luis J. Rodriguez

Poetry has always, worldwide and in all ages, given voice  to the people’s revolutionary strivings. We welcome poetry of resistance and social transformation, human and planetary liberation.
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This article originated in the People's Tribune
PO Box 3524, Chicago, IL 60654, 773-486-3551,
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