Lillian Allen

Lillian Allen

Bold Subtle Terror 

In the now, many aspects of Black 
histories lay buried and silent 
and some disappearing 
or even worse 

I bring you my least favourite fear 
slide between moral decay 
and possibilities beyond racism 
What’s yours? 

Mark a line, draw a circle around 
what is hoped               for 

Space resists the slow pace of history(’s)  
dissolve into a futures,  fades to… 

freedom outrun shackles 
tongues brittle to the touch 
Scraped, scratched, and stretched 
Black and Brown bodies flung  
against walls 

What can we choose to resurrect (in these times) 
whose name shall we call upon to guide us 
who is not already worn and walked upon 
or rehabilitated to be palatable 
glowing golden in the City on the Hill 

How long shall this reign 
this noose  
this bold subtle terror 

Code Switch

The world nah turn   anymore,   nor is it still
an image of victory     escapes me     it could be the future
it could be the past     as I cannot count

                        the ways of remembering 
young people declaring their skin is not a receptacle
nor is it a billboard.      Would a declaration of autonomy be enough?

                        a new century
the new revolution taken to the blank of pages
voices busting up all over      the place(making)

build resolve through language
finding each other storied in multifarious ways

                        there is a phantom pain
for what we will not discover   limb and land lost forever
children grow up and are strangers
                                   leave home for new lands

                        We learned how to make land
a new territory called diaspora
                     in this landless land we so eagerly citizen
replant roots, mark invisible blood lines

and now swimming in the omniscience of the digital
                                   a landing
            falls without waterfalls or water
But oh, what a drowning
            The earth doesn’t anymore

A leading Canadian poet and an international exponent of dub poetry, LILLIAN ALLEN was acclaimed a foremother of Canadian poetry by the League of Canadian Poets. She is a two-time Canadian Juno award winner for her albums of dub poetry, Revolutionary Tea Party and Conditions Critical. She is an arts activist and a cultural strategist who initiated and developed several key equity impacting arts programs. A mentor to the mentors and ‘Godmother of Everything’, Lillian is the recipient of many awards and citations including The Toronto Cultural Champions Award, The Margo Bindhardt Award for significantly impacting the arts in Toronto through both creative work and activism, the William P. Hubbard Award for Race Relations, and an Honourary Doctorate from Wilfred Laurier University for her contribution and impact on Canadian Letters. A long-time Professor of Creative Writing at OCAD University, Ms Allen spearheaded the establishment of an interdisciplinary, multi-media Creative Writing BFA program.Lillian Allen’s newest publication Make the World New – The Poetry of Lillian Allen -selected by Ronald Cummings, Published by WLU Press 2021 has received enthusiastic critical acclaim. Her other publications include; Women Do this Every Day and Psychic Unrest, plus several books and recordings for children and young people. Allen continues to perform to large audiences worldwide.