A Q&A With Outspoken Bean
The future of the United States
Is a colorful transformation Becoming
the crayon slate of America
My skin is a primary
I raise my pastel hands even for
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
to make a melting pots stretch
The cloths are cut from the
star spangled banner traditions they
informs our today
and innovates our tomorrow
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
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
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