Skeletal Black, Dee Allen's powerful poverty scholarship through poetry

Tiny - Posted on 23 February 2020

No Social worker can speak for the Po’…. No news reporter can speak for the Po’…. I can speak for the Po cuz im still among the Po’…” (excerpt of a slam bio and the poem Fragment 2017 from Skeletal Black by Dee Allen)


Dee Allen is a member of the Po Poets, a revolutionary poverty skola and land liberating resident of the homeless peoples solution to homelessness we call Homefulness. Last week as us Po Poets stood together, I listened to Dee Allen’s deep southern drawl wash over the audience. Dee was in the middle of his powerful slam bio- a signature opening of all of us Po Poets of POOR Magazine, cultural workers who use our words, poetry and songs to speak, share, change and educate fellow houseless, poverty skolaz, the housed, and housing insecure on the struggles and resistance lived and fought for everyday in this occupied indigenous land the colonizers call the US. 


I had the blessing of meeting Dee over a decade ago at one of the many offices the poor and indigenous people-led movement known as POOR Magazine was eventually evicted from. From the first meeting, I was impressed by Dee’s poetry and spirit. His work, like his life is sparce and raw and real. Like the true poverty skola he is, he is also a soldier of the people, his weapons are his incisive words and on point verse.


They climbed out of windows down fire escapes.

Personal belongings left inside to an igneous fate

A property lot, a blackened scar… (excerpt from the poem Skeletal Black 2 in the poetry collection of the same name )


In the collection of baadass poetry released on POOR press in 2019 called Skeletal Black- Poems from Beneath the Poverty Line- Dee tells the story of poverty, arson, displacement and removal us poor people face all the time, through all the evil means that the exploitative inhuman system called “krapitalism” unfolds. We are taught that the mysterious fires that often plague our poor people of color neighborhoods are just a set up, like all the other tactics employed by the aristocraZy, to remove us poor folks when the ruling class can make more money off our absence than our continued presence. 

Always building something to improve 


Refineries, manufacturing plants

Incinerators, industrial parks 

Always making something new 

Including pollution to the air…(excerpt from Unwanted Gifts from Skeletal Black)


In Unwanted Gifts Dee un-packs the set-up from the get-up of “cleaning, and building and devil-oping as I call it, that just end us po folks up with diseases and/or removal from our towns and hoods and barrios.


Every poem of Dee Allen’s is a lesson in this book, a history or herstory lesson that everyone needs to know, the kind of history and herstory that is purposely left out of most books, the kind of herstory we teach our children at the revolutionary, poor and houseless mama and uncle liberation school we have on Homefulness called Deecolonize Academy. 


Dee says that some of the work of this book was inspired by the “GentriFUKation By Fires” WeSearch that us poor mamas and Youth at Deecolonize Academy did in 2016 of the mysterious fires that scorched 10 thriving Black-owned small businesses at 73rd and Blackarthur ( MacArthur) down the street form Homefulness and Deecolonzie Academy. Fires that have left a gaping gentriFUKable hole in a soon to be destroyed by wite people street that used to be an all black and brown community.


Skeletal Black is the fourth in a series of extremely powerful poetry collections by Dee Allen published on POOR Press, including Stormwater based on the crisis for Black and poor people of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans , BoneYard - ( now out of print) and  this year he re-releases his 2012 collection called Unwritten Law, all focused on poLice brutality and poLice terror. 


Dee has also been part of anthologies and University presses such as Nationalism: Africa Vs. North America Vol. 2  [ 2019 ] - Mwanaka Media And Publishing [ Zimbabwe ].

Civil Liberties United [ 2019 ] - Pease Press. And in 2019 was also part of the powerfULL anthology Poverty Scholarship with his seminal piece Beyond which tells the story through poetry of me and Mama Dee’s journey from homelessness to homefulness.


Dee as his slam bio states is among the Po’ and like POOR Magazine’s last San Francisco office, Dee was gentriFUKed out of the mission district of SF, leaving him, like most of us poverty skolaz at POOR Magazine, homeless, displaced or housing insecure. It was at the point five years ago that he moved into the landless/homeless peoples movement known as Homefulness and is now part of the land liberation movement to build housing, make cultural work and walk self-determination that is the Homefulness comeUnity in Deep East Huchuin (Oakland) 


Every single poem of Dee’s is what this poverty skola would call “poetry Journalism” and with the publishing of the powerful Skeletal Black joins the annuls of POOR Magazine’s Po Poet Laureate A. Faye Hicks in telling stories through poetry that no-one else is telling. But everyone needs to hear.


All of Dee Allen’s in print books are available on - he will also be part of the upcoming 2020 book release events- click here for more information.  


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