Cover Story

The Sunnyside Celebrates National Poetry Month

Ancestor Dreams

by Rezib Tutsanaii

Sometimes, sleep eludes me

I lay my head upon the pillow and just hope

Hope that I will find the door to some small oblivion

But one night, such a night it was

Began in confusion. Static in the brain but no pain

Just fear beginning to creep into my heart

“Look at my face, concentrate” he said

That voice that I had longed to hear

That voice for which I had cried my last tear

My heart said, “You talkin’ to me?”

But my mind followed his command

We stood together in a banquet hall

I looked upon his black skin, shining like a dark lake

I looked into his face, his cat-like eyes ready to pounce

He looked into me and he smiled.

Sunlight sighed upon lush carpets

The ceiling of the room stood still

A careful shield of comfort hovering

Above the heads of the crowd.

So many faces. Some light, some dark

Bright eyes of brown deep eyes of grey

And all the skin surveying every aspect of brown

To black. Hair, kinked or straight, long or not

My mind wanted to say “Who are these people?”

But my heart pulled off the last rags

That had tightly wrapped it in funerary white

And bore witness to the forbearers of its blood

Again, I owe him a debt that I cannot repay

It was his teaching that made possible this day

And the night of my Ancestor Dreams


by Khentiya Maakmaha

I look up and I smile…

I talk to my grandmother and I laugh….

I eat and I grow stronger…

I breathe in the pleasure nature brings to my nose…

I sing to the winds that echo our voices,

And like a chorus, the clouds respond to my hunger…

they thunder and I quench my thirst….


by Kasabez Maakmaha

it’s hard for me to say when it all started

i somehow don’t remember when it was i departed

from where i was before i found myself in a womb

and made my way along the path that led to this room

i can’t really say i know just where it began

or what makes me different from the clay or the sand

i don’t think i could even tell you just who i am

because what it means for me to be here

i just don’t understand

i’m lost, do you feel me? do you see me? am i here?

i’m lost, do you feel me? do you see me?

am i here? by the the time i figure out where i’m going will i be there?

why don’t i remember?

from january to december

i’m stuck in a colonially concocted paradox

sitting on the cliff side beneath the crumbling rocks

so afraid for my life that i don’t have time to think

not a moment to sleep

not even a moment to drink

so it is i stand before you spiritually malnourished

the part of me with memory

it doesn’t get to flourish

why is it i stop myself from being who i am to be,

from being who i was before my bloodline

opened up the door?

my spirit seeks to find a way to manifest itself today

and so it’s only for myself to cleanse myself so that it may


by Zemoonitah Hasati Naba

Like the freedom of a mother’s cry,

When her freed child, was freely raped, by some random guy

who also believed in FREEDUMB

The kind of FREEDUMB to forget

your culture,

your language,

your history

& ancestors

or is the FREEDUMB our oppressors imposed on us

FREE to manage the business, but not own it

FREE to show up to jury duty, or be fined

FREE to roam the Earth, just don’t forget

taxes, tolls & visas

Okay, the map that’s free of dividing lines, FREE.

Talkin’ bout the FREEDUMB to disrespect your teacher



& elders?

You say what you want, when you want, how you want.

Freedom of Speech…. right?

Where animals don’t live in cages, FREE.

And TV, video games, drugs and alcohol exists because

you then have the ability to

FREE yo’ mind free, FREE.

FREEDUMB to live in a world of chaos & confusion

To follow only 10 of 77 Commandments for 1 hour,

1 day

a week

FREE to think your own history isn’t recorded.


Out of sight, out of mind, FREE.

Take the shackles off my ankles, apply them to my brain, FREE.


Have faith and believe in FREEDUMB, FREE.

FREE to just be our




Don’t Trust It….

by Nekhitem Kamenthu

The deep latchwork of the grid locks down on

natural life and crystallizes it’s reality like an inescapable magnate.

It’s pull snaps our step into it’s pathways like rubberized walkers feeding into a slot.

Playing out it’s story in all corners of the land, from the king down to the rat that etches it’s furthest outskirts.

Made to control, destined to destroy, it’s hypnotic trance keeps the players expressing it’s form.

It’s form.

It’s Lockdown.

Imprisoning us like butterflies in ironclad suits.

The puppet strings that extend from every inch of our bodies become our shame.

The metal suits we wear become our name.

Far in the distance, the cry of the hawk permeates the thick soup-like substance with a razor sharp call from the natural world like a silk string.

Extending towards us.

Touching us with it’s gentle tendril.

The trees that we have forgot sit and patiently wait.

They are there.





Watching their crazy cousins as they shiver.

Moving, shivering, resonating at a frequency of anxious insanity.

Rising like the cheer of the crowd at the coliseum as a prisoner receives the final killing blow.

This is not a mystery.

The path that it arrives by is clear.

This is not a mystery.

The math that it thrives by is here.

This is not a mystery.

The only thing to do is to wait?

This is not a mystery.

We will not accept it as fate.

The words of the ancestors.

The caress of the trees.

The melody of the earth.

The cleansing of the breeze…. Will not let us forget what it is we have to do.

As the sun washes down on our bodies and warms us totally, permeating us like we are a breathing sponge, we are consoled, cradled, and rocked like infants in it’s warmth.

We breath it in and step forward.

Bellies strong.

Knowing our mission.

The acid of reality pours onto the falsified iron structure and eats it away into nothing.

Keeping the natural world by our side as our friend and ally.

We watch the sheep beat against the iron until bloodied.

We will not be led to the slaughter.

Walking as humans, walking as Kem,

We are waking up.

Walking as women, walking as men,

We are waking up.

As long as it’s us, and as long as it’s them,

We are giving up… playing into the battles they have set for us.

Temporary is the craziness that is set for us.

Temporary is the laziness that captures us.

Weak are the tricks that now distract us.

Loose is the grip that is trapping us.

We won’t fall for it this time.

The words of the ancestors is the guidance we find.

We walk out of a broken dream

Back to the nature.

Eyes clear, spirit gentle.

The hypnotism was mostly mental.

The children will be children again.

I’m Back,

But I Never Expected This

by Rezib Tutsanaii

How long gone?

Five thousand more

Years past since last

I breathed the scent

Of lilac’s bloom

Or felt the touch

Of wind or hair

But I never expected this.

How far gone?

Ten thousand more

Miles past since last

I walked the land

From village gate

To mountain pass

And tiger’s lair

But I never suspected this

My eyes rise to the skies

The stars are far

From where they want to be

My heart so longs

For what I cannot see

But did I know more before?

Or does my cry bear the lie

Of my imagined dreams?

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