Shadow in the Midnight (Writing as Black Angel) Rewrite

Photo taken from the WEB
Photo taken from the WEB
Black I am, and I am hiding
from the man with the black beater in his hand,
and the shiny badge on his chest.
He is relentless in his pursuit
of finding and locking me up.
I hide in the alleyways with the overflowing dumpsters
that have been neglected
like the rest of the blacks.
I have never pointed the finger of blame
but now my hand may be forced.
As I see the real truth,
while knelt down on the cold, cracked floor,
avoiding the racist White cop,
I have come to the realization that
life is unfair,
and it never will be fair and just.
One of the many sad realizations
we have to face in America.
I never completely understood why
foreigners lust to come here.
Everything that is advertised in books and magazines,
 on film, and in music, slants the truth.
People are not exactly free!
The government can give two shits about me!
So, why would you want to come here,
my immigrant friend?
I love this great land,
do not misinterpret my words.
But I am not exactly free!
Look at my predicament,
simply walking down the street,
black hoodie, saggy jeans
a pack of skittles on my mind.
And now I am the shadow in the midnight,
hiding from the man
with the black beater in his hand
and the shiny badge on his chest.
© 2008 by Charles Banks, Jr.
Writing as Black Angel
Excerpt from page 120 of
“A Rose in the Name of Love”
Self-Published by Charles Banks, Jr.
Published by (February, 2008).
A Rose in the Name of Love: Published by (February, 2009)

The Guilty Verdict (Writing as Black Angel)

Photo taken from the WEB
Photo taken from the WEB
Guilty by association
Guilty by Race
Guilty by facial expressions.
Guilty by inherited racism
Guilty by a lack of religious affiliation.
Guilty as charged
guilty as Mr. Simpson
guilty by my rugged attitude.
I am guilty as charged
Booked into jail,
Fingerprinted and assaulted
by devious thoughts.
But defeated, I will never succumb
to the tangy taste of surrender.
2008 by Charles Banks, Jr.
Writing as Black Angel
Excerpt from page 23 of
“Angel’s Passion”
Published by PublishAmerica, LLLP.
Angel's Passion Published by PublishAmerica, LLLP (October, 2008)
Angel’s Passion Published by PublishAmerica, LLLP (October, 2008)

Boy, I Wonder… (Writing as Curiosity)

Photo taken from the WEB

Photo taken from the WEB


I wonder how life would be if Martin hadn’t given his speech

in front of 200,000 plus and led the March on Washington.

I wonder how life would be if James didn’t make it cool to say

“I’m black and I’m proud!”

I wonder how life would be if Jackie didn’t step in and break

the color barrier in professional baseball.

I wonder how life would be if the invasion on Africa never happened.

I wonder how life would be if Africa were still what it used to be.

I wonder how life would be if my father hadn’t come to California.

I wonder what would happen if he stayed home.

I wonder how life would be if Thurgood hadn’t become

the first black Supreme Court Judge.

I wonder how life would be if Langston, Zora, Louis,

and the Duke hadn’t been born.

I wonder how life would be if Afeni Shakur hadn’t been pregnant in jail.

If Tupac hadn’t been born, hadn’t blessed the world

with his unique words and predictions of the future.

I wonder how life would be if my mother hadn’t left.

Would I be able to write this?

I wonder how life would be if the heroes of the past

didn’t sacrifice their blood, sweat, and tears for me

and future generations to come.

I Only Wonder…


© 2009 by Charles Banks, Jr.

Writing as Curiosity

Excerpt from page 58 of

“The Flower that Wasn’t Meant to Blossom”

Published by PublishAmerica, LLLP.

The Flower that Wasn't Meant to Blossom, Published by PublishAmerica, LLLP (December, 2009).

The Flower that Wasn’t Meant to Blossom, Published by PublishAmerica, LLLP (December, 2009).

Tender Letter (writing as Curiosity)

Photo taken from the WEB

Photo taken from the WEB


Struggling to uncover the right words,
I tap my pen against the arm of my beige couch,
Out of anxiety.

I cross out misguided words and catchy phrases
That need not apply.
I build with aggravation.
I know the emotions are real,
But they do not want to surface.

I ball up pieces of fallen trees
And shoot bricks at the waste basket.

Like a volcano
I will soon erupt with rage.

I cannot hold my affection inside anymore.
I search with meandering eyes for inspiration.
I think happy thoughts…

Wedding bells
Wedding vowels
“I do!”

All of a sudden
The inspiration arrives
I write the perfect masterpiece.

I bless the paper with my blood
I fold it three ways.

I slide my sacred letter into the envelope
I seal it shut…
Only to be opened by that special someone.

Once the tender letter is read
My truest feelings
Will finally be revealed.

© 2013 by Charles Banks, Jr.

Writing as Curiosity

Excerpt from Concrete Promises

Published by Spilt Ink Poetry

Last Petition (Writing as Curiosity) Excerpt from Concrete Promises

Photo taken from the WEB

Photo taken from the WEB


I have something I’d like to announce
Though you decide to retreat nightly
With the intent to wholeheartedly denounce
My unwavering pleas to hold you tightly.
I mope, I weep, and I quiver
At your unforgiving and frightening trances
You damage me with the pain you deliver
In your bleak, soulless glances.
I am out now to retrieve
What was wrongfully taken
In an attempt to justly believe
That your affection was not mistaken.

I will fight for thee with every breath I possess
Until your love for me, you confess.

© 2013 by Charles Banks, Jr.

Writing as Curiosity

Published by Spilt Ink Poetry

Excerpt from “Concrete Promises”

Concrete Promises Interview (by Carla Westbrook)

“Concrete Promises”Interview with Charles Banks, Jr.

(Poet, Freelance Poetry Editor, Flyer Designer,

Budding Self-Publisher, Blogger)
Interview by Carla Westbrook,

in association with Spilt Ink Poetry.

Concrete Promises (Cover)

The weather is overcast; a Friday morning in February, a writer sits under a dimly lit lamp in an El Segundo, California café. He is intensely writing away in a notebook, only looking up to accept a steaming hot cup from a waitress. Generously, he accepts the cup with a nod and goes back to his writing. It is a shock that he is able to go back to his everyday routine. Just a month ago, he lay flat on a cold operating table as doctors conducted a fourteen-hour surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his salivary gland. From afar, you could not tell, but as I approached and introduced myself, the scars from his cancer fight reared their ugly head. Unable to use the entire right side of his face, his ability to smile, temporarily disabled, Poet Charles Banks, Jr. has found the strength to pick up his pen again. And with some slurred speech, he apologetically and graciously accepted my battery of questions.

Carla Westbrook: So, you have a new book…

Charles Banks, Jr.:  Yep, looks like it (slight chuckle).

Carla: Book five. What can we (readers) expect when flipping through its pages?

Charles: Concrete Promises is a simplistic approach to love, written in an uncomplicated fashion. When penning this chapbook, I did not want the writing to be clouded by any fancy language or the message points somehow lost in the translation that occurs from the time the reader reads the writing and the interpretation of the writing.

Carla: You wanted it to be matter-of-fact?

Charles: Exactly.

Carla: I have followed your writing and read your blog for a couple of years now, and there is a level of drama involved, theatrics. Why go against that now?

Charles: First of all, I’ve always been dramatic. (Laughs) I think more so as a child. Now I can utilize that part of my being in my poetry. In regards to this process, I simply made the decision that I wanted to write about how we (human beings) want the experience of love to be, not how it actually turns out. It’s how you would feel when you first meet someone. It’s blissful, uninhibited bliss. Simple.

Carla: As I read through your book I could not help but reminisce about my own first experience with love, and I recalled a bit of naivety. Was it the same for you? Your first experience with love.

Charles: I think so, but that’s pretty natural. It’s a normal process to be naïve to the reality of what’s going on. Sometimes I think people subconsciously or unconsciously focus on the good parts of their significant other—the attractive parts. I think we become blinded by the blissfulness of it all in the beginning.

Carla: Have you ever been in love?

Charles: (Pause). I’m not sure. I’ve had two significant relationships of note. You know, I think I know what love is if I saw it in front of me. For instance, my grandparents will be celebrating 30 years of marriage this summer. They argue and butt heads all the time; does that mean they’re not in love? To me, love is all about compromise and sacrifice and trust.

Carla: Concrete Promises, in essence, dismisses the detriments to a relationship: the arguments, distrust, apprehension.

Charles: Yes and no. The book was written with the beginning of a relationship in mind. It documents some of the things that may get in the way. Curiosity spends a portion of the book trying to convince his significant other to trust in their bond. In a sense, he’s trying to save her from herself. Her distrust, her skepticism. He deals with some of his own internal doubt too.

Carla: Two poems come to mind instantly. Not Just Yet and Captain Savior.

Charles: Yeah.

Carla: Tell me about those poems.

Charles: Well, it took me quite a while to develop a finished version of both poems; ten or so drafts of each and two or three years of editing. They are key poems in the chapbook. Both help to display very real traits of a budding relationship: cautious skepticism and a sense of obligation to be a savior of sorts.

Carla: What do you say to someone who says your book might be ‘cliché?’

Charles: Funny. In a lot of ways, I’d probably agree with them. That was one of the hurdles I encountered while writing. I treaded along a very thin line, often times crossing over to cliché often. I would respond ‘Yes, there are a number of cliché moments, but it all plays to my intended goal for this book… simplicity. Love should be simple, in my opinion. Often times, that’s just not the case. But how wonderful it is to yearn for that. To imagine it. Maybe it’s just the hopeless romantic that dwells inside of me.

Carla: You recently experienced a life-altering event. Most all of us know of someone who has, or have personally experienced the horrors of cancer. How has this trying time affected you?

Charles: Aside from the obvious, it’s been a tough situation. I’ve seen more hospitals than I care to in the past couple of months. It happened so quickly. Up until November of last year, I was relatively healthy, and then in the blink of an eye, it seemed like my life rapidly began to change. I lost a lot of weight. The right side of my face became paralyzed. And the pain from the tumor growing on my jaw… definitely the lowest point of my life.

Carla: Has cancer changed your writing in any way?

Charles: (Pause). No. The doctors took a piece of my jaw, not my ability to write… to think, to articulate my thoughts. If anything, I’ve developed a slight paranoia, my senses have heightened. I am more in tuned with my surroundings. My eyes have been opened to small things I otherwise would not have seen or paid any attention to.

Carla: What’s next for Curiosity? The light-hearted, soft-spoken, tender character you have created.

Charles: Well, Concrete Promises is the first installment in the Spilt Ink Poetry Collection, which is a five-part collection of poetry chapbooks. I go back and forth writing as both Black Angel and Curiosity. Chapbook number two belongs to Black Angel, but Curiosity will be back in the third installment: Midnight.

· Carla Westbrook