There’s Rage Inside Of Me: Poetry Against Injustice

We talk to Anton Duane Brockenbrough about his poetry and activism against police brutality.

The situation for Blacks in America right now is quite horrible. The police keep shooting and killing innocent Black men and boys and nothing seems to be done about it. Our protests are practically falling on deaf ears. One young man, however, has decided to incorporate his fight in his art – Poetry. Anton Duane Brockenbrough is up next on your voices. He believes that if we write what we feel, we might be able to influence the people who get to read and in so doing, we may create the change we seek.
We met you on Facebook after our friend Charles Edward York introduced you to us. Could you please tell our readers a little about yourself and your work?
Anton Duane Brockenbrough
Well, I know that I write out of emotion. If I see something going on that’s wrong in the world, I become overwhelmed, so I just start writing. And another reason I write is if I’m going through something. For the past six years, I’ve been disabled, I can’t walk and it’s kind of a miracle because I have encephalitis where I have fluid on my brain, and it’s a miracle, I shouldn’t even be here. A lot different people that inspire me were people like Saul Williams. I first saw him in a movie, I think it was called Slam, and I just became influenced by that, by that work. And I think words are powerful. I think about how God created the world with his word.
And what is your work basically about?
Anton Duane Brockenbrough
I would say injustice, about how Blacks are being treated in America. And I just try to uplift my readers in different themes, not just one. For example, when Trayvon Martin died, I wrote a poem about him. It’s called Guilty Infant. And pretty much what that means is that you’re guilty even when you’re young. You’re deemed as a suspect. And one of the lyrics in there goes like this:
If they see me and a white man together
They think that I’m the one that wants to rob them
I was deemed a culprit when I was a toddler
Innocent, yet framed and victimized
And all I wanted was an Arizona Iced Tea and some Skittles
But I was followed and harassed
When I died in that grass
I tried to survive in that grass
I died trying to get some gas
And then when I say, “I died trying to get some gas” I was talking about Jordan Davis, he was the one that got killed by this white man, Michael Dunn, out in Florida.
Are you involved in any movements for the rights of Black people?
Anton Duane Brockenbrough
Not right now because I’m trying to recover because like I said I can’t walk. I spent like five years in a nursing home. So right now I’m just going through a period of trying to work on myself right now. But I definitely want to do it though.
We found your tracks on SoundCloud and they are very nice and inspirational. Most of them are very creative. Do you have any plans to release an album or a mixtape?
Anton Duane Brockenbrough
Thank you very much. Honestly, I just do it for recreation, so it’s like a hobby.
And what are your creative plans? 
Anton Duane Brockenbrough
I really don’t know what to do with what I have. I actually want to write a book. I’ve been wanting to do it for a while. When I was in high school about 15 years ago, my poem ended up in a book after a contest.
How do people react to your work? Do your friends like your work? Who are your fans, who is your work intended for?
Anton Duane Brockenbrough
I really don’t know, because I’ve seen that a lot of people like it. To be honest, I’m on different poetry groups along with Charles, and it’s so amazing how, when I talk about racism, there was one white lady, she said to me, you’re saying my perspective on racism. I think at the time I was talking about the movie A Raisin in the Sun by Langston Hughes and I remember watching that a long time ago when I was in middle school and I got inspired to write something and I wrote something. There’s one guy, he compared me to one of the renaissance writers. And I was like, “Wow, this is amazing!” My audience could probably be anybody, everybody. I don’t limit myself, I just think my rhymes are pretty much for everybody. It’s soothing. A lot of people say to me, “Wow, you’re not afraid to say these things.” And to me, why should I be afraid to say these things? I didn’t even realize that people were supposed to be afraid of writing the truth.
What would you like to say to our readers?
Anton Duane Brockenbrough
What I would like people to do is write. Learn how to write and to write what you see, what you observe. Just write the way God has given you your style. Never stop talking about what we’re going through, because what we’re going through is nothing but atrocities, and it’s blatant. It’s on purpose, these people that are dying in front of the camera. I wrote so much stuff about people that got killed and even recently, Eric Garner, I’ll incorporate all these people in my poems. So whatever you see just write it. Just go to your emotions. Just write what you see.

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