National Poetry Month Celebration
Jonathan B. Tucker told stories of ancient and contemporary to his young nephews recently and it felt as great as winning National Poetry Slam competitions. He has coached the DC Youth Slam Team for the last 2 years as the Youth Programs Coordinator for Split This Rock, a national network of poet activists organized through a nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC and has represented Washington, DC on 2 National Poetry Slam Teams. Jonathan hosts at Busboys and Poets Open Mics on the 3rd Wednesdays of each month and was published alongside Amiri Baraka in Howard University's Amistad Journal.
Where do you draw your inspiration from to write poetry?
I was first inspired by women, and then by choices, and then by justice, and then by influence, and then by inspiration.
What advice do you have for someone that is threatened by poetry?
Do not mistake the dragonfly for the dragon.
What is an interesting fact about you?
I used to have a blue mole on my face.
Where are you from / Where do you live?
I'm from Crofton, MD and I live in DC.
Who is your favorite poet?
Gowri Koneswaran, Henry Mills, Drew Anderson, Anis Mojgani, Saul Williams
Braided & Baked
braided and baked like challah
my identity is constantly turning and being read
different interpretations of the same living thing
and idea an artifact we can study
it is my breath on the bar’chu
calling me up to be
my tongue on tekiah waking up those who sleep
my words my deeds my dreams and my bloodline
swimming in ashkenazi rivers looking for a solid home
drowning in survivor’s guilt and
windsurfing in a poem
only the food i eat literally but
there is much more inside me spiritually
between ancient and fresh
right and left
spirit and flesh
hashem and nefesh
between hip and hop
there is a hyphen
a chai fitting between jewish and white
between erev and night
between misappropriation and my natural right
i lay flat
putting my body on the line like my ancestors did
when it’s time to stand for justice
time to sit-in and protest for fairness
time to speak up and lay down our arms for peace
my identity guides and reminds me that
i cannot cease until all are free
for we were once slaves
now comfy and prosperous in our post-post-modern age
our obligation remains
burning like the eternal flames in our temples
but many in our diasporic tribe bring us terrible shame
be not pharaoh
be not goliath
do not create ghettos
tear down walls
love your neighbors
because we are a people
braided and baking together
constantly turning being read and reinterpreting ourselves
and struggling to not forget where we’re from
struggling ever so hard to tikun olam
our ability to heal the world does not come from violence
it is not born in security threat analysis or
border wall military check points
check your holy books your history and your heart
my friend my sister my brother
is deeper than skin
so check the weather you will see a change blowing in the wind
on the backs of a diverse new generation
bringing together the right and the left
the spirit and the flesh
hashem and nefesh
ancient and fresh
to build the bridges we need
to save our identity
Louder Than A Bomb-DMV Teen Poetry Slam Festival May 4-5, 2013
Split This Rock & PoetryNOW present LTAB-DMV in partnership with the George Washington University English Department and Africana Studies Program. Over 20 High School Poetry Slam Teams from DC, Maryland, and Virginia will participate in a weekend-long festival of performance poetry open to the public. Email SLAM@SpliThisRock.org for more info.