Two Poems by Jeffrey Banks

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Jeffrey “Big Homey” Banks is a finalist in Day Eight’s annual open-to-all poetry competition, the DC Poet Project. Read more about the DC Poet Project here and attend the culminating reading event Saturday May 4, 2024.

A note from the poet: The poem title “No D” is a reference to the poet’s brother’s name — Ramon — and the television show “Everybody Loves Raymond”.

 

No D

The 70’s
After Ella & Richard
Had Some “Good Times”

Out of their Banks
A Derivation of “The Jeffersons”
Was Born

And “We’re Movin’ On Up”
“Three’s Company” became
Four

But As We Explored
“One Day at a Time”

We Press Towards
“Happy Days”

But When Ma “Dukes”
Experienced “Hazards”
I Felt “What” was “Happening”.

The 80’s
“Different Strokes” Made Me
Realize I Didn’t Have A
“Silver Spoon” from My
“Family Matters”

The “Growing Pains”
From Not Having A
Dr. Huxtable or an Attorney Clair
Had Me Know
I was Living in
“A Different World”
From My “Family Ties”

When I Thought
My “Full House”
Was Winning
Nepotism Had A
Royal Flush
So I Had to
Keep A Poker Face
Amongst “Perfect Strangers”

When I Wanted Others
To “Gimme a Break”
In My “Wonder Years”
I Had to Face
“The Facts of Life” that
Those are Few and Far Between

Rarely was There “Cheers”
For Me Despite That
“Everybody Knows My Name”.

The 90’s
This Banks Wasn’t A
“Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’.
Who Knew “Living Single”
Would Be My Mandate
To This Point in My Life
When I Thought I’d Be
“The Family Guy”.

“Friends” are Fake
And They Duplicate

“Martin” & “Malcolm
In The Middle”
Became Leaders in
Learning How
To Be Comedic
“By Any Means Necessary”.

The “King” without “Queens”
Becomes A
Jack of All Trades.

Concerning Siblings
No “Sister, Sister”
And “Everybody Loves
Raymon”

As “Boy Meets World”,
I Became a “Smart Guy”
Knowing There’s No Way
I Could Plan for This.

The “Modern Family”
Of the 2000’s
Is More Digital

But Knowing
My Life isn’t a Sitcom

It Doesn’t Have
To Be Televised
But the Revolution Should Be

Jeff O’ Lantern

As the Clock Strikes 12

CinderHomey Turns into Pumpkin
Mama’s Pumpkin

Been Carved Out
With a Built-In Smile

And All the While
Praying the Light Inside
Doesn’t Burn Out

The Jeff O’ Lantern
To Stay Lit

Holistically Fit Works
Trying to Embrace
How I’m Shaped

No Two Pumpkins are the Same

Fearfully & Wonderfully Made
Protecting My Peace

So If You Think It’s Shade
*Shrug*

I’m Known By My Fruit

Writing is My Bug
Not You

It Eats from the Something Sweet
Because It’s True

Those Who Bug You
Will Steal Your Seeds

Nourish from You
While They Watch You Bleed

And the Death is Theft
As Winter Approaches

Exterminate the Roaches
That Bug You

The Insect that Should Infect You
Is Poetry

The Spoken Word Light
Burning Inside
Helps Me Fight

So the Poetry Bug
That Bites
This Pumpkin

Will Produce the Prince
Of A Royal Priesthood
Of Spoken Word Psalms
To Calm the Savage Beast

So Like Yeast
Rise to the Occasion

A Raisin in the Sun

I’m Gonna Let the Son Shine
So Others Will Find Light in Darkness

So As I’m Designed By the Divine
To Be the Nutritional Yeast and Bread

So People Can Feast and Be Fed
And Soothe the Savage Beast
In My Head

Me

Jeffrey “Big Homey” Banks has worked with America’s Got Talent champion Brandon Leake, New York Times best-selling author Jason Reynolds, and GRAMMY-Nominated artists Kevin Powell and Ethelbert Miller. He has performed nationwide, including at over 30 college campuses, and served as a Lead Teaching Artist with the DC Arts & Humanities Education Collaborative and Words, Beats and Life. He is co-editor, with Maritza Rivera, of Diaspora Café: D.C., an afro-latin poetry anthology. He was a finalist in the 2018 and 2021 DC Poet Project competitions and hopes this will be an opportunity to produce his first full-length poetry collection.

Image: User:Lusitana, CC BY-SA 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/, via Wikimedia Commons

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