Highsmith Poetry, aaduna in exile, spring 2021 issue, Vol. 10 No. 1



Lu Highsmith (photo provided)

Lu Highsmith has published extensively over the past 25 years and been featured in Western and Northern NYS newspapers. Highsmith, a Rochester, NY native is a poet, writer, publisher, promoter, spoken artist and designated Slam Master for Rochester’s first adult slam team, Roc Bottom Slam Poets. Lu has published two books of poetry, "Vicissitudes: The Ups and Downs of Life" in 2008 and "Ascension into Love" in 2010. No matter which genre she chooses to exhibit her creativity, each platform has been reflective of her passion for spirituality, sensuality, and social consciousness. She as performed at festivals, coffee houses, art galleries, and community events throughout Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo, Albany, Atlanta, and Toronto. She co-hosted the successful "Flowetic Rhythms" Open Mic @ Gallery One for 10 years. In October 2012, Lu joined forces with her Grammy-nominated musician/composer husband, Jimmie Highsmith Jr. on her first spoken word CD entitled “Ascension.” Most recently, Highsmith became a member of the Black women’s writing collective, “We All Write” performing in the 2018 Rochester Fringe Festival and 2019 Women’s Convention in Seneca Falls, NY. Her poems have been published in the “Colors of Light” anthology, “Simpatico on the Road,” the novel, Win-Win, and cited in the Baptist Peacekeepers quarterly. Highsmith was awarded the “Big Pencil” award from Writers & Books in 2018 for inspiring the creation and appreciation of literature among young people in the Rochester community. For further information, please visit www.lucreations.net

Between Dogs and Gods

Some brothas call one another dog,

other brothers call each other god. 

I believe we're all that something in between. 

We are the O-one in the middle 

Some One in between


He was stabbed with a kitchen knife, 

drug deal gone bad 

they said 


Stabbed in front of his house, 

yet somehow stumbled back into his home, 

his safe haven 

Died bleeding-out on the floor 

like a dog

right before his younger sisters’ eyes 

while they cried

for God


Word on the street is

he got what he deserved, 

weed deal gone bad. 

Word in the justice system

says basically the same  


No indictment for murder

No charges for manslaughter

The old dirty bastard perpetrator

charged with just

possession of weed 


Explain that to his mother, sisters or girlfriend 

who will never get the chance to see him,

love on him,

marry or maybe even carry his seed.

His life deemed worthless 

So just treat him like a dog


Our friends and family

will no longer see Wallace’s kilowatt smile 

across the dinner table,

see that one dimple 

that only popped up on his left cheek

when he was being mischievous

or laugh at his quirky humor 

that brightened this world every day


To them, 

to us 

he was a piece of god,  

temporarily incarnated  

here on earth 


Was not Mike Brown treated  

like a dog ?


for stealing cigars, 

then laid dead in the street 

for 4 hours 


Maybe Eric Garner 

was considered a god 

to take down 

for bucking the system

by selling loosey cigarettes,

a big and brown buck

bucking the system

for a few bucks


Verbally challenging them,

“Why y’all always bothering me?”

Asking on whose 

authority these unknowing vessels 

of injustice were perpetuating these

Inhumane and ungodly acts 


His breath,

the breath of life,  

breathed into him by God 

to be like god,

they had to smother out 


I still believe they are 

somehow, the some one

in between 

the O

- one in the middle

some One between


and God,



Not perfect

Yet still

Worthy of 

Honor, dignity, respect


And Love


The ones for whom I write

these poems,

for whom I meditate and ohm,

for whom I go so hard 

in the paint,

the ones whose 

severed spines 

I try so desperately

to re-align,

Daily cry, and, pray for

Get incensed, and, angry


The ones I try to empower

and shower with goodness

because they are the "O",

the ones in the middle,

caught in between this world 

of dogs and God


Yes, Human beings

Hued men

simply trying

To be

* * * *

"Between Dogs and Gods"

Lu Highsmith audio version

* * * *

Artwork by:  Nereida Vazquez

I am the Rastafari

You see the Yellow, Black, Green, 

and, the Red


Uncombed locks, untamed

Unshaved beard framing lips 

dripped in truth


Eyes enlightened by 

the yellow sun

Sharing One Love

with Jah’s people


It was I who

shot the sheriff.

Before “Cop Killer,”

“Hands up” 

and “ I can’t breathe”

rebelled against a corrupted 

and corruptible system


I am Reggae

Island beats,

steel drums, guitar strums and, 

organ hums


I am the green

Natural and pure

invading your nostrils.

Breathe me in

get high off music & love

A Natural mystic being

blowing through the air for 



I am War.

The Buffalo Soldier.

Fiery red.

Still fighting for survival


I am “No woman, No cry.”

I have cried for my woman

and made many a woman cry.

I am the cry,

the wail,

the moan


Wailing guitar.

Steady drum beat

from Africa to St. Anne’s,

on to Kingston,

then worldwide


Trumpet sounding 

signaling freedom

from oppression.


The calypso, 

turned ska,

turned Reggae


We be jammin’

cause no bullet can stop us

so true love it is


I am Bob Marley


ascending into 



and love


I have found Redemption

in the songs we sing,

freeing ourselves from 

mental slavery


I am the Rastafari,

the movement

The Black, green, yellow,

and red

* * * *


I Be 

I be the Lu

In your Halle-Lu-jah cry


I be 

The seventh angel

sounding the Seventh Trumpet

from heaven


I be the earth

opening her mouth,

swallowing the spewed river


I be 

The joy inside your praise


I be 

The salt inside your tears


I be

Martin’s dream deferred

exploding like brain matter

Onto Langston’s lyrical canvas


I be 

the ancestors

scribing themselves

into strands of my cellular memory


I be 

The ache in the crook 

of my mother’s arm

as she cradles me


I be

the aroma 

of olive oil

as anointed blessings

drip from my brow


I be 

the lingering scent of burnt black tar

burning black flesh


I be

the healing salve

seeping into 

your every wound


I Be

I Do 

I Am



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