Reclaim Our City


We're murder suspects

from Bedstuy to Prospect,

baptized in the waters of the Hudson River,

anointed by the graffiti on the Q train

to revive lost passions

and break the chain.


beneath the blood and beer bottles

is our ancestry.


You say my eyes are two gemstones

from the next galaxy,

and my ideas

will be the end of slavery.

And I sacrifice

my wajd

to your dreaded hair,

your voice of reason

as the subway gets held up at Union Square,

and only our dynamic devotion

could put the train back in motion.


I wanna get your hell raised.

I wanna get these debts paid.

You urbanize my body

in dangerous dialogues,

recalcitrant rhythms

that take down the system.

Our perilous patterns

orbit to Saturn

and glow like lanterns

and Brooklyn is effulgent

and the hookah's pungent

as you pass me the pipe

with hip-hop growing ripe

on our stereo.


Let's reclaim our city

in salvation synergy,

in vibration telepathy,

above so much inequity

is our Love Story.


The Gods of the Streets have intervened:

Revelation of rebellion,

messages from the gurus in the jail cells.

The dead hip-hop scrolls

will be what saves our souls,

outlaw oral tradition.


These Deities died

when our leaders lied

about who they considered human,

only to be reborn

from the vomit of the AIDS patients

and the fascism in the schools.

Those who break the rules

foresee a new future,

divine a different destiny.


Let's reclaim our city

from those who desecrate our dreams

with racism and Regents tests,

with homophobia and hatred,

with rent prices and rights abuses.


And I may be fucked up,

but I am not brought down

by this town

or the repugnant sound of gunshots.

I've found my family.

I've got my powers.

And our truths will shower

like meteors

on this city built on bigotry,

on this pavement laid on skeletons.


Reclaim our city

and envision:

Reconstruction that really rectifies,

mobilization that conquers repression,

solidarity that shatters slavery.

Cuz hip-hop ain't dead

if we give it life

and resurrect

the righteous vibe.


The status quo

becomes last year's show

and we are unfrozen,



Let's go!


By Paz Griot


Paz Griot is a spoken word poet, visual artist, actor, playwright, and performer originally from New York City. He now lives in Istanbul. He has written and published several poems, performed in countless plays and open mic events, written seven plays and exhibited his paintings, collages, and sculptures in six gallery shows in New York. He is currently writing his eighth play, and is launching a Zen meditation group.