Poetry Corner: Ignorance and discrimination

Daily Sundial

The Bell

By Daniel O’Brien

The bell rang in the distance,

A dull, sullen thud.

Though I’d heard it many times before

I had no idea what it meant.

Yet, it always made me feel uneasy,

‘though I don’t know why.

What was it for? Was it a call to prayer

Invoking some god whose name I’ve never heard?

Or was there some other, darker meaning?

What conspiracies did the Strangers plan

In their concealed places?

I do not know.

When they speak, I cannot understand them.

Their words are too foreign and strange

for me,

Still somehow, I imagine they’re talking

about me;

It’s evil things. I’m sure of it.

And the hatred rises within me,

‘though I’ll never know why.

Los Angeles, ’92

By Alexandria Barabin

So we were sick of the crap,

The Black and White rap,

The “South Central” carved map,

Only useful for violent residents and gang affiliations and members like bloods

‘Cuz poverty in the ghetto, the Hood, no neighbors

Just a place for savages to live,

Die and kill off their own,

So, we ain’t nothing.

Pull us out of the car,

Drag us to the ground,

And please have a video camera on hand to play it back,

And watch four men beat one of us,

And please play it over and over again for the next ten years.

Giving the new president a reason to come to Los Scandalous

Pretending to look interested in the plights of the Black and poor,

But back to ’92,

When, in March the sky was blue,

But by the end of April, it was a burnt color orange turned smoky black

Because a jury of their peers said not guilty, not one, but four times

We just lost our minds.

“It was on tape! I know you saw it”

We all screamed out in the street,

But no one listened to our quickening


So some angry fool got the bright idea to break windows and trash stores.

“No, that’s not enough,” they said.

It had to cost more.

An even angrier fool said we should torch the sky with the buildings on the ground.

“Hey everyone lets burn down all the stores right here in our own town.”

And it was done.

Now listen,

In the three days it took for the madness

to end,

Where did you plan to buy food for your kids?

Where did you plan to shop or go?

Everything was either burned or closed.

Even though that verdict was wrong

We shouldn’t have burned and looted our

own home

We were all very pissed

About the justice missed,

But after all had been said and done

You still live in this grit.

Who did you think you were hurting?

The business owners who had insurance to pay for all the burning?

It’s time to stop the physical fighting and start the learning.

I was nine at the time

And remember it well.

I still shed tears for the stories I can tell.

Living in Los Angeles in ’92,

Sure was a hard year to get through.

If you are interested in submitting poetry please contact Diana Gutierrez at spotlight.sundial@csun.edu.