James Coburn masters the art of storytelling through verse. His poems bleach the racial misery clutching the land of promise, America. The protest poet treads on unusually ironical and paradoxical tarmacs, he vehemently interrogates the matters of black lives and questions the brutal violence against the black race through resistance poetry. The revolutionary verse-slinger rises beyond the usual and obvious as he puts American dictatorship at task against the background of the wantonly racial killings, with the cold-blooded demise of George Floyd, a callous act that received condemnation and demnation from the everything that breathes on earth. James Coburn speaks sand paper hard truth to power, charlatans and zealots have since become wolves and hyenas in broad light. The consciousness packed poetry is a biblical revelation and re- awakening tutelage to the grief laden and COVID 19 diseased earth gripped by hate, terrorism and racial violence. TIME OF THE POET REPUBLIC is delighted to profile, publish and feature the master of protest and resistance poetry James Coburn. – (Blurb by Mbizo CHIRASHA).
In America’s heartland
there’s a small cafe in the center of town.
Folks sat to my right as I looked around.
‘Heavenly Father, bless this meal
we are about to eat,’ came free with my meal.
I never ordered the conversation
from that corner booth.
‘All Democrats are communists —
you know that,’ said the straw
His wife continued eating her
dinner bread, then scraped her
‘Let the Blacks vote and we’ll be singing
the Black national anthem.
‘Nothing but trouble.’
I wondered if his God heard this
part of the prayer;
urgent to carry around —
his voice to the rest of town.
He chewed his words, swallowing
‘everything was fine
until black lives got out of hand.’
I want to think his language is disposable
as the food he prayed for.
But he continued his walk out the door
spraying his blessing in the air.
Pieces missing from your reptilian heart
pressing on a man pleading for breath.
No breath will ever revive George Floyd.
“Momma” he cried.
What happened to make you so unconscionable
to force the life out a man
with the weight of injustice
pulling humanity’s roots?
What have you done,
but to level a child of God
in a pool of death
as you look the other way.
Some days cry hard enough
to flood the earth.
Now you enter my night
but his light shines,
and I see you for what you are.
Crossing the Bridge
Before his walk across Brooklyn Bridge,
faces and conversation
left no impression.
No bridge builders high in wind
absorbed sound, felt raindrops,
or linked exteriors throughout the city.
He lived a life of indifference.
Beams of steel, intransigent
as a settled past, lost pace
in atoms fixed in matter.
Never did an artist’s eye
collect impressions of a crowd
Not a brush stroke, at least for him.
Footsteps lagged from an heroic day.
They penetrated not even a thought
beyond his last conversation.
Popcorn and coffee
fell from his clutch of time,
so to survive not a second longer
before an unfathomable wave
of shell shock from The Great War
further chipped his ambition.
A bayonet charge through rippling wheat
amid the hiss of bullets as Marines fell.
Hear their turning stained of red.
So had flashed the trenches of war dug into
every step being covered in snow
where he had slept pressed to a Marine to stay warm.
Flare of a match settled in his eyes
after crossing the boardwalk.
Laughter met the East River as boys kicked up snow,
evoking a memories of yesteryear,
when boyhood days sparkled in wind.
if only for a few moments.
A frozen night melted as his fingerprint
pressed a snowflake on cafe glass.
JAMES COBURN – is an Oklahoma poet in the United States of America. Coburn has always valued the subtext of life and seeks to reveal its undercurrents. He believes indifference is the enemy of man as it is the benefactor of ignorance, racism and xenophobia. Coburn is currently collaborating with Nairobi poet Brian Kasaine on a book of poetry. His first book of poetry “Words of Rain” was published in 2014. The book was a finalist for an Oklahoma Book Award. In 2016, ten of his poems against terrorism and to save the Sunderbans (wetlands) were published in “Onnyodhara” (The Alternative Way) Eid-special issue festival edition in association with “Anushilon” (The Culture & Literature Society) the National Literary Organization of Bangladesh. Coburn is a 2013 inductee of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame. He has been published in several anthologies. Three of his poems were published in Canada’s Tuck magazine in 2017-18.
Mbizo CHIRASHA( Time of the Poet Republic Curator) Author of a Letter to the President. co-Authored Whispering Woes of Ganges and Zambezi. Co-Edited Street Voices Poetry Collection (Germany Africa Poetry Anthology). Co- Editor of the Corpses of Unity Anthology. Associate Editor at Diasporia(n) online. Chief Editor at Time of the Poet Republic. Founding Editor at WomaWords Literary Press. Publisher at Brave Voices Poetry journal. Curator at Africa Writers Caravan. UNESCO-RILA Affiliate Artist at University of Glasgow. 2020 Poet in Residence Fictional Café. 2019 African Fellow, IHRAF.ORG. Project Curator and Co-Editor of the Second Name of Earth is Peace (Poetry Voices Against WAR Anthology). Contributing Essayist to Monk Arts and Soul Magazine. Poetry and writtings appear in FemAsia Magazine ,Wrath -Bearing Tree, Inksweat andtears journal , One Ghana One Magazine, Ofi Press, World Poetry Almanac, Demer Press , Atunis Galaxy poetry online , IHRAF Publishes , The Poet a Day , Bezine.Com , Sentinel UK, Oxford School of Poetry Pamphlet , Africa Crayons, PulpitMagazine,Poetry Pacific, Zimbolicious , Best New Poets ,Poetry Bulawayo , Gramnet webjournal, Diogen Plus , Poeisis.si , Festival de Poesia Medellin and elsewhere .