A Q&A With Outspoken Bean

by Intern Flaunt

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The future of the United States

Is a colorful transformation Becoming

the crayon slate of America

 

My skin is a primary

So intentionally

I raise my pastel hands even for

secondary hues

 

Being apart of this make up

Is what made up this land

From the dandelion swaths of Texas

To the aquamarine cast of Seattle and

the salmon tone of Miami

 

Inhale deep hearted breaths

Exhale over its geographic screen print

The united tint of America

is learning

to make a melting pots stretch

 

The cloths are cut from the

star spangled banner traditions they

informs our today

and innovates our tomorrow

 

Which actually

Presently

Makes us time travelers

 

Welcoming you to America's future

Is entering the mixture

of our own abstract

 

Tomorrow like today

we will bring out the beauty

of our sisters and brothers

 

Remember

we are 300 million crayon citizens

Even if melted

Stripped - shaven - broken

There's still value in our color

 

In the United Prisms of America

What’s seen as perfection

we shatter and together

dance to the remixed pieces

 

Capturing flawless is myth

With a smile like mine

You too would have reason to

wake up like this

So sleep well  

 

Tomorrow be a brighter day

In the Crayola State of America

There still might be confinements

readied to meet your alignment

 

But You have the option

to let your life scribble

outside of them

 

-Outspoken Bean

 

Where and when did you set down to write Scribble? Was there a goal behind it, or just a creative outburst?

Scribble was written while I was on the metro Light Rail in the Near Northside neighborhood of Houston, Texas. I like to ride it to get inspiration also I love trains (I kind a have an obsession). I thought about what the American dream is meant to be and how people are using that idea to best benefit them. My goal was to be creative simply. To be creative in my messaging of Scribble. So I thought about how crayons are all in one box and even with their imperfections there's still value to them.

These are tough times to be thinking of the American Dream, your poem Scribble acknowledges that, but it leaves us with a sense of optimism overall for a better day in the future. Are you still feeling that? 

Let me be honest, right now it’s kind of hard to see optimism if you only looking to the media for it. My optimism is seeing people work every day work hard on securing for their families, securing for other families in need, or just trying to better themselves. And I also feel if I feel that people have the power to build or self-generate optimism by doing the necessary work for others. It’s one thing to feel optimistic, but I’m thinking on how I can be a generator of optimism for others right now.

You are a poet and activist in your community. What role do you think poetry can have in activism and helping us through divided times?

Poetry is a tool like anything else. And as a performance poet I have multiple opportunities to use my tool right now. Poetry’s power is in how the tool is used. Just because you’re not a poet doesn't mean you can’t also speak that truth. The power of poetry is in the beholder. I like to think through the mentoring that I do using poetry as an avenue/toll with young people that in the long-form differences are being made. But, a lot of times the truth doesn’t have time to wait for tomorrow, it must be said now.

 

Watch and hear Outspoken Bean and Scribble in PBR's America Dreaming campaign below.


Photos provided by artist