Dwayne Morgan

I don’t want people to hear my work. I want people to feel the work. I hope when people listen to my spoken word piece, that it’s something they take with them – that it becomes a part of them. It’s meant to challenge you and make you think about how you live and what you value. It’s about creating an internal conversation that lives on with people, and I think that’s how art becomes this living thing within us; that’s always the hope I have when I create my work. 


Have you ever wondered
What is the colour of freedom?
Is it red, white and blue?
Is it the hues of orange
As rockets fly past the moon?
Does it smell like gun powder
And burnt flesh?
Does it look like
Limp limbs on cement,
Like a child’s Mr. Potato Head,
Except they can’t be pieced back together.
I’ve often wondered
If it is possible for you to be
too dark for an amber alert;
Too insignificant for anyone
To say a word,
Too Congolese or Sudanese
Too African,
Too Black for anyone to care.
I mean,
How dare you want,
What most take for granted?
How dare you believe
That the world believes in peace,
Too naive to see
That that’s just a marketing scheme
That comes easily
Like bless you’s,
Without any real thought or meaning.
Have you ever wondered,
What is the colour of suffering?
Does this come in white?
I remember the Russian invasion
Of Ukraine,
And how many news reports
Were caught saying
How hard it was
To see suffering on white faces,
Blonde hair and blue eyes,
Looking just like us;
Well, not me,
You see,
I have lived in a world
that turns a blind eye
To people of colour;
Since world war 2,
The world’s suffering has been hued,
so I get people being confused
when they’re so used
to their suffering being melanated;
Almost as though we deserve it,
Almost as though it is synonymous
With our existence.
Have you ever wondered
who is allowed to be free,
to live with dignity,
to have peace?
Ask a Haitian about the price of freedom;
I’m sure they still have the receipt.
You see,
being oppressed
Is like being forced to live
In a carbonated bottle,
Where it’s only a matter of time
Before you blow your lid,
Where you will destroy
Everything and everyone
So that your future
Has more options and opportunities
Than your life ever did,
So that they’ll have the chance
To actually live,
And not just exist
As the scorn of the earth,
The mold in the places
Where no human should ever go;
In the same way
That our indigeneous are today,
But probably even worse,
When you can no longer call home
Land that has been historically yours,
So you find yourself scattered,
Wherever the wind blows you,
Landing where squatters dictate
Whether or not you belong,
Whether you can stay,
And what life for you will look like
Should you remain on land
You aren’t allowed to claim.
While here,
We Daily acknowledge land
That we have no plans to give back.
We complain about refugees,
As though it was their life long dream
To be here,
But if we asked,
We would learn
That they would much rather enjoy
The comforts of home,
The language, food, and culture
That they know,
The peace that comes with
Not feeling like a burden,
The desire to live life on their own terms,
But it turns out
That there are people whose culture
Is the stealing of other cultures,
Yet we expect them
To have empathy and compassion
For things they have been isolated against;
Drunk on comfort,
Constantly throwing up judgements.
We, as people,
are so smart,
That we forget
that we are also animals,
Domesticated by governments
To follow rules and stay in line,
To obey and abide by guidelines
That often deny us of our right to live;
But look at a woman
desperate to protect her kids,
Look at the ease with which
She can become a savage beast.
Any model citizen
can easily become a thief
If he needs food
For his children to eat,
So actions aren’t always
As simple as they may seem
Especially When we try to rationalize
And define wrong and right,
And this, creates a landscape,
For the harvesting of lies,
Blurring the lines
Between fiction and fact.
The medium is the message,
And power now lies in the hands
of the people,
reporting their lived realities,
Onto our screens,
Which often contradicts
what we see and are told to believe,
By propaganda machines
masquerading as journalists,
Influenced by governments,
sponsored by corporations and lobbyists.
And Malcolm x warned us;
He told us that if we weren’t careful
The media would have us
Hating the people being oppressed,
And loving those
Doing the oppressing;
Media providing window dressing
For a Global village
Whose windows have been blown out.
We become narcissists,
Completely in love
With our view of the world,
Tearing things down
To rebuild them in our own image.
We are the unlikely audience
To this global theatre of bad actors;
Propped up puppets,
pretending to be politicians
of the people on the world stage.
People say that the killing
doesn’t make any sense,
But it’s not supposed too;
it makes dollars.
So before anything can happen,
governments must ready their people for war, create a cause
So they know what their sons are dying for,
give the rich enough time
to move their money offfshore
or to invest in stocks
that will rise in value for sure.
After these criteria are met,
it is ok for the war machine to go ahead.
Everything will be fine,
As long as the wrong blood doesn’t stain
Corporate bottom lines,
So CEO’s look to align themselves
With the winning team,
Or the one that seems
most prepared to declare victory.
Visions of destruction and despair
Fight for space in our minds,
So we can’t figure out why,
Or how many die in mines
So that we can have our iPhones,
Or cheap access to gas.
We never question
How many die
For us to have the things that we have.
So in a way,
We all have blood on our hands,
So be careful where and when
You decide to throw stones,
Because the houses we tear down,
Might end up being our own.
In times of war and hardships,
There is an unwritten rule
That we must always protect women,
children, and the elderly,
but the men,
the men are always disposable;
Firewood burnt to keep others warm,
Pawns sacrificed
To maintain the power of kings,
The powerful and rich,
Who often have
so much blood on their hands,
That it forms calluses,
Dried on so thick
That they no longer have fingerprints
Making it easy to say
that they did nothing,
And weren’t involved,
No forensics at the scene
Of the genocide,
So they wipe their hands clean
Of any blame,
the blood stains never go away,
But they have learnt to accept or deny it
As a part of who they are.
The pawns,
Are simply casualties of war,
Fighting for castles
they’ll never be invited to enter,
Queens they’ll never meet,
And kings that they’ll never be.
They sacrifice themselves like knights,
Thick skin like body armour,
Doing what they are told,
Noble in their ignorance,
Brainwashed to sacrifice their own
and take other human lives.
The first rule of the fight,
Is that you must dehumanize the other side,
To not see the fear or humanity
In another human’s eyes,
This way,
There can be no violation of human rights,
Just an onslaught of human wrongs,
And throngs of mothers,
Whose wombs are now tombs,
Carrying memories of what was,
Being told that their sons
are no longer with us,
Moved off of the board,
Discarded to clear a path,
Wrapped in a flag
And sent back home
like cargo to be disposed of.
And if you’ve ever played chess,
Then you know how hard it is to kill a king,
how hard it is to get him to be accountable,
to have a heart,
to see beyond his own desires
and potential legacy.
He will sacrifice his queen,
And everything there to protect him;
fight out of every corner
before laying down;
Heavy is the head
That wears the crown,
And these pawns
are canaries underground,
A choir of mimes
Sounding alarms
That no-one will ever hear,
As the kings move with impunity,
As though death will never be near.
Article 1.2 says
That the white piece
makes the first move
In the game of chess,
with the black piece going next,
coincidence I guess,
or a historic metaphor
of offence and Defense;
The personal is political,
what happens outside of us
affects what’s inside of us
and vice versa;
There is no evolution
Without revolution;
No victory without loss,
No growth without resistance.
If what happens externally
Also affects us on the inside,
Who has to be oppressed
In order for us to afford our lives?
To whose plight
Will we turn a blind eye,
If it means that we can have
More than we need.
We wear orange tees
to remind us of genocide,
ignorant to the fine print that reads,
depending on where they reside.
We are too blind to see the signs
of genocides happening
Right before our eyes,
conflicts layered like lasagnas,
like buildings that collapse into rubble
like the hopes of the oppressed;
what colour shirts will we wear next?
Whose bodies will accessorize our conscience; Dead, with no names,
no histories,
no dreams or aspirations,
they only exist as numbers on a spreadsheet,
as extras in the background of news reports.
There is no evolution without revolution.
We’ve been here before.
This reminds me of Berlin,
The European sin
Of cutting up Africa
with no care for who was already there;
Borders defined by arbitrary lines
Drawn in crayon,
Debated by the people,
While their resources are pillaged,
Leaving them piss poor
And poverty stricken.
Heads of state
Beheading populations
with policy as guillotines.
The grass is always green
where it hasn’t been bombed,
But not everyone is lucky enough
to even have a lawn.
Isn’t it odd,
How there is always money for war,
but never enough for peace,
How the media is used
To manufacture the belief
That you can Kill a leader,
And the people will be free,
but you can never kill an idea,
the human desire for dignity,
freedom and self-determination,
So they keep you distracted,
The revolution will not be televised,
but the propaganda will.
We are the victims
Of the evil that lives amongst us,
Who expect us to trust,
Who they say
The enemy and terrorist is,
But never forget
That Nelson Mandela
And Martin Luther King,
We’re both on that list,
Before becoming iconic heroes,
So who controls the narrative?
Who has the power to name things,
And narrate public opinion,
Like a war time David Attenborough,
Showing us how easily
Hate can overshadow our humanity.
Our values are created
by those in power,
then are redefined
by those who are oppressed.
If the medium is the message
Could we be giving
The power to the people
through cell phones, social media,
and personal reports,
Or do we discredit it,
And use it to distort;
Radicalizing people
With the evening news;
I saw it on my phone
so it has to be true,
And with the people confused,
We look to those in power
For the truth,
But they are consumed
With what matters to them,
So they choose
What we need to know
And when.
In this way,
Peace of mind
Stays as elusive as peace,
Because you’ll never have
All of the pieces
To have a fair shot at the game;
There is no evolution
Without revolution,
And you’ll always find yourself scrambling,
Simply trying to make change.