Poetically Yours – Patchwork Poetry


Welcome to Poetically Yours. Poeically Yours features poems by northern Illinois poets. This episode features Scott Suma.

Suma lives in Rockford. He has many published works and is known for his haikus. Today he shares his poem “I Wish I Was Black”. This is a cento poem. This form of poetry is put together using lines of poetry from other poets. It is sometimes called a patchwork poem.

The credits of the writer are after the poem.

i wish i was black

I would be beautiful and someone

Powerful with a purpose

A history and a future

Creative with a cause

My time would be now and always.

i wish i was black

I’ll be a person of substance, flesh and bone

My soul would sink like rivers

I’d have the nerve to go my own way

I would arm myself with my conscience

And live in the long.

i wish i was black

I would refuse to get up

get in good trouble

Find rough diamonds

Lift while I climb

I would bring a folding chair.

i wish i was black

I would be both African and American

Engage in the fight and make progress

Ask myself, what am I doing for others?

I will know that no one is free until everyone is free

I would join anyone as long as they want to change the miserable conditions that exist on earth.

i wish i was black

I’d shout that I’m black and I’m proud

I’ll face the rising sun, lift my voice and sing, and march until victory is won

I’ll blow what’s inside of me

Play my guitar upside down

For you I would sing.

i wish i was black

i would steal the house

Become queen of the court

Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee

Raise my fist, take a knee,

Let the world know that I am not property.

i wish i was black

I’ll do the math to the moon and back

Look into the universe

I’ll make your heart beat just fine

Or open up and fix it

I would bring you blood to the battlefield.

i wish i was black

I would have body and soul

Treat yourself to sweet potato pie

Say “amen”


Climb, climb, climb.


Line 1 Scott Suma

Line 2 Grandassa and Jesse Jackson models

Line 3 Stokely Carmichael

Line 4 Dr. Carter G. Woodson

Line 5 Harlem Renaissance

Line 6 Black Lives Matter

Line 7 Scott Suma

Line 8 Ralph Ellison

Line 9 Langston Hughes

Line 10 Zora Neale Hurston

Line 11James Baldwin

Line 12 Gwendolyn Brooks

Line 13 Scott Suma

Line 14 Claudette Colvin, Rosa Parks

Line 15 John Lewis

Line 16 Mary McCleod Bethune

Line 17 Marie Terrel Church

Line 18 Shirley Chisolm

Line 19 Scott Suma

Line 20 WEB DuBois

Line 21 Frederick Douglas

Line 22 Rev. MLK Jr.

Line 23 Fanny Lou Hamer

Line 24 Malcolm X

Line 25 Scott Suma

Line 26 James Brown

Line 27 James Weldon Johnson

Line 28 Louis Armstrong

Line 29 Jimi Hendrix

Line 30 Marianne Anderson

Line 31 Scott Suma

Line 32 Jackie Robinson

Line 33 Serena Williams

Line 34 Muhammad Ali

Line 35 Tommie Smith, John Carlos, Colin Kaepernick

Line 36 Curt Flood

Line 37 Scott Suma

Line 38 Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson

Line 39 Neil de Grasse Tyson

Line 40 Otis Boykin

Line 41 Daniel Hale Williams

Line 42 Charles Drew

Line 43 Scott Suma

Line 44 Coleman Hawkins (Johnny Green)

Line 45 Donna Henderson

Line 46 Thomas Dorsey

Line 47 Charles Albert Tindley, Atron Twigg and Kenneth Morris

Line 48 Maya Angelou

  • Yvonne Boose is currently a body member of Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth project. It’s a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.

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