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“A Versified Voyage” by Bob McNeil

“A Versified Voyage” by Bob McNeil


Another boy was raised at the Hudson River
   With a firm Earth Sign—
   A promising limb on an African tree—
   And The Thinker, his archetype,
   Sat beneath his unburdened brow.

24 seasons later,
   The child scrutinized
   The Lost Tribe’s Jerusalem—Harlem.
   And Like East 127th Street’s Shakespeare,
   Langston Hughes,
   The boy embraced his race.

At 54 seasons,
   The boy became a knowledge-consuming entity
   Learning about African-rhythmic prose, odes,
   Bantu, Zulu, Malinke, Yoruba,
   South of the Sahara songs.

The child traveled
    The geography of his mentality
    With David Diop, Dadie,
    Césaire and Senghor,
    Poets who created the seeds
    That became Afrocentric Breeds.

To the boy,
    These poets were sight-igniting keys.
    By plying those keys,
    He opened doors to vistas
    Where Black people were birthing
    A renown-bound future.

Eluding adult’s brimstone-sizzling stress,
    Beneath a dirt-antiquated tree,
    He studied comfortably
    And saw the spirits of the pundits.

At 55 seasons,
    With his ever-present pen and paper,
    He was runner-in-a-race-inspired—
    Those were his sight-igniting keys.
    By plying those keys,
    The child and a page converged
    And an aged griot emerged.


Bob McNeil recalls reading A Child’s Garden of Verses at the age of six. As a result, a love of all things poetical bloomed. Later in life, the Imagists and Negritude Movement nurtured him. Tenaciously, Bob McNeil tries to compose poetic stun guns and Tasers, weapons for the downtrodden in their effort to trounce oppression. His verses want to be fortresses against despotic politics. After years of being a professional illustrator, spoken word artist and writer, Bob still wants his work to express one cause—justice.

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