• By Joe Davis

Alumn Joe Davis' poem "Raise Up"

Joe Davis is a graduate of the English program at Minot State University and tours nationally as an artist, educator, and speaker based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His work employs poetry, music, theater, and dance to shape culture. He is the founder and director of multimedia production company The New Renaissance, the front man of emerging soul funk band The Poetic Diaspora, and qualified administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory. “Raise Up.” was featured in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune on Sept. 27.

Raise Up

We must raise awareness

as well as raise funds,

so mothers and fathers can raise families, raise daughters and raise sons,

And stop racist police from raising their guns.

Dreams occurred, not dreams deferred —

No more raisins in the sun.

Let me see you raise your fist if you’ll raise your consciousness

to make this change come —

I’m talkin’ ‘bout a love so strong even the dead will raise up.

What time is it?

It’s time to raise up!

I can feel it in my heart, it’s time to raise up.

What time is it?

It’s time to wake up!

I can see it in my mind, it’s time to wake up.

Are we ready for peace or

ready for war?

We crowned the King of Dreams with a head full of thorns.

A legend is born,

his words are like bread to the poor,

so live each line is like breath to a corpse.

Reversing effects of post mortem rigor mortis,

each verse a metaphor for metamorphosis,

a different motive and intent:

no Forbes Lists celebrity endorsement,

we working for a world in which ghettos don’t exist.

Everyone is rich

when our souls glow from the gold within.

Been writin’ since I could hold a pen,

notebook was my closest friend,

wrote poems in hopes homelessness and war would end.

I was so young, mind wide open then,

saw it all through a rose-colored lens until broken.

The look in your eyes gives me hope again

Dreams might be born again,

so let me hear the chorus when your voice comes in.

What time is it?

It’s time to raise up!

I can feel it in my heart, it’s time to raise up.

What time is it?

It’s time to wake up!

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