no offense taken * by Renee Matthews Jackson

                                                    no offense taken


Emerging triumphant in spite of phenomenal odds, Americans removed from Africa through an economic condition called slavery is most miraculous. Slaves exemplified a drive and determination of the human spirit, reinventing themselves while living under the most inhumane, oppressive, and exploitive circumstances imaginable. In the very midst of slavery; a whole new culture, inclusive of language, art, lifestyles, religions, and the hardest to accomplish in such obligatory conditions, family evolved. Indeed the African American has reason to celebrate the triumph of the human spirit. In no way was the enslaved African more of a victim than a forerunner in the shaping of our country.

During the colonial period (1492 – 1776), 6.5 million people crossed the Atlantic to settle in America. One million were European. The other 5.5 million were African. Here is the intriguing fact; some 450, 000 of the ten million Africans survived the Middle Passage during the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and settled in the Continental United States. By 1860, these 450,000 had grown to more than 4 million people of African descent, and more than 40 million today.

How was it possible for a people to steadily multiply in numbers while being eliminated through disease, lynching, war, genocide, you name it? No other group in the history of America has managed this feat. For well over two centuries, slavery was the central factor in American development. Slavery and the economic fiber from the slave trade shaped the modern world. It fueled the economics of Europe, disrupted the politics, and social life of Africa, and changed global economics for all time.

Today, most Americans avoid the study of the Institution of Slavery. A varied rationale is most understandable. To visualize slavery would be too haunting a picture for those whose ancestors were slave masters because of guilt and shame. Those who had direct ancestry to slaves, embarrassment, and feelings of being even further demeaned would be the result. So, most Blacks and Whites find it easier to look away from slavery at all costs. The images of this oppression are at best extremely harsh.

For over five hundred years, the hand-me-downs of slavery have been helpless victimization, and unimaginable cruelty. Black bodies packed in slave ships like sardines, bound, shackled and beaten, ravaged and raped…. Images of those down trodden, degraded, perennial victims, stripped of their culture, identity and humanity… were more than humane people could bear. Ironically, abolitionist promoted images like these to further their mission prior to the Civil War. Their efforts were to appeal to the moral consciousness of ordinary American citizens.

Not until present day have we been able to look at slavery as more than a crime of villainous slave ship captains and crews of cowering African victims. It is now understood that slavery and its world changing effects are far more than the day-to-day acts of brutality and unrequited labor. The slave trade is regarded today as the one singular event in the history of the Americas, and Europe that laid it’s foundation, as well as the onset of the underdevelopment of Africa from the 16th century to the 19th century.

Even more important is how slaves made a mockery of the institution by surviving and reinventing themselves to adapt to a foreign land that had nothing good in store for them. Studying the lives of slaves can lead all Americans to a better understanding of human endurance and ingenuity. It teaches us about living, surviving, and winning in the face of insurmountable odds.

No matter where we now stand, with all that is true and real to the heart, and embark on the events of slavery; we will no doubt find a people who are victorious. In spite of dehumanizing conditions, such as being called “nigger”, (the lowest form of man) of setbacks, and racial profiling, and many other degradations, the ultimate example, and one of the greatest conquest in the history of this nation is the triumph of the African, removed from the Motherland, and placed in America.


Renee Matthews Jackson (c)


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seconds in motion * by Arthur T. Wilson


Split seconds

A second too early

Seconds of indecision

A second to late to view a friends’ body after the casket is closed

Seconds in motion

And it’s never a metaphysical quandary or slightly philosophical

Knowing random seconds simply don’t exist or die

If all seconds are eternal seconds danced into forever and ever

Seconds until the gun fires to begin a fixed race

Seconds of unfathomable longing

Seconds to belong or remain alone in a lethal maze of fear

Seconds declared as the last opportunity for a second chance

Seconds to live

Seconds to live without being alive

Seconds to recapture a childhood memory flashing like lightning

Seconds in motion

Seconds as important as a volcano spewing footprints of psychotic ash

Allowing earth to do whatever it wants to do whenever it wants

Seconds to explode seconds to flow seconds to burn covering fossils

That fought for millions of years to reveal its’ connection to seconds

Seconds, just seconds

Seconds in motion watching seconds become seconds

Seconds to protest or protect your last blood warm kiss

When love withdrew and pulled back peace making it an inconsequential pawn of discarded seconds

Seconds to lose hope turning hope into feelings that feel like sandpaper

Against splinters

Seconds to harvest or pull up negativity to wallow in tragedies Sophocles could have written to scare an entire civilization from living

Seconds for a new born baby to push from its’ mothers womb

Seconds for a new born baby’s eyes to spin like radar into the light out of darkness

Seconds until a tangible surprise isn’t a surprise any more

Seconds to discover you need a miracle delaying its’ arrival

Seconds to forgive again and again and again or seconds to be forgotten

Seconds in motion seconds

Does time know itself as seconds or as nothing?

Or does time emphatically declare that its’ seconds are everything?

Seconds thinking of itself as everything always simultaneous so

Seconds in motion

Seconds to become a champion

Seconds to become a lost child

Or seconds to become a shooting star born from a sweet song out of gods’ mouth

Every second.



By Arthur Theodore Wilson (c)2011

Arthur Theodore Wilson is a Published Poet; Playwright; Teacher; and Co-Editor/Publisher over thirty years of Attitude Magazine.

shoot * by Renee Matthews Jackson


On a daily basis I clash with discontent bent to circumvent the dissent of irrelevance and arrogant pretenders. Big spenders who dictate to irate poverty-invoked binge benders sending messages camped out on grounds that pound drums of maltreatment in a society that retreats when the streets fill with loosed truth. I must confess that I am less angry at those who may need mouthwash in the onslaught of human microphones gone too long without a voice. My choice to choose to march with them looms from flashbacks of yesterday for fear of a blighted society that my children and grandchildren may have to be aligned with.

I sit in dismay each day at the disarray of falsehood and misunderstood laborers who labor in vain and go insane trying to make sense of all the nonsense and I wonder when good recompense will be sent the way of the righteous.

Cursing won’t reduce profane management nor exchange the reign of terror on our youth. Not even the voting booth gives solace to those soldiers still fighting in wars that have killed scores
and maimed the other half of those drafted by duty not when the spoil and booty is oil
and there is recoil from what the people truly need. 

 Greed is of
great significance
and relevance is merely romance
in every beleaguered stance of circumstance
I tire under unlit fires of justice
when politicians say;
“trust us”
we must separate the real
from that which is pathetically false
and emphatically count our losses
tossed in the torn fabric of a world gone mad.

It is sad to watch continuously
but as things may incomprehensively
be woven with threads of simplicity
I know not where they begin
or end in this trend of insanity
Therefore, I close the door to hope
dangle a rope from the highest beam
and dream of suicide in denied compromise
to the wise and listen with an open mind
to try at best to find answers to questions
I have yet to ask
because bringing people to task
who wield power
causes the scouring of nothing
and I already embrace bad taste
wasted in the scheme of things
things that people tend to say



© Renee MatthewsJackson. – iforcolor/DRS – All rights reserved


Renee Matthews-Jackson, was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. She made her Theatre debut in 1987 in Joseph Walker’s classic, The River Niger at the world famous, Karamu House Performing Arts Theatre.  Ms. Jackson’s credits include:  From The Mississippi Delta, Zooman and The Sign, Fires In The Mirror, The Waiting Room, and countless more.  Renee was in the 2004 – 2005 production of Jar The Floor , at Karamu.  She directed Steal Away by Ramona King in October of 2005, at East Cleveland Theatre,  In February 2006 she was seen in Sorrows and Rejoicings by Athol Fugard at The Brooks Theatre in the Cleveland Play House, an Ensemble Theatre production, and in Jungle Book as a cast member for The Cleveland Play House Youth Production.  Her most recent perfromances was with an ensemble cast at Karmau in the World Premiere, A Colored Funeral by Gregory Carr and Ensemble Theatre’s production of Dividing the Estate.