Highlighted by The Syracuse Poster Project
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Meet Our August Massachusetts Poet in the Spotlight: Omanii Abdullah

Highlighted by The Syracuse Poster Project

Omanii Abdullah is a native of Syracuse, New York, who now divides his time between Syracuse and Spartanburg, South Carolina. He received his undergraduate degree from Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee and his Master’s from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee. His teaching and performances have taken him from Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi to King Abdul-Aziz University in Medina, Saudi Arabia.
He started writing poetry as a 5th grader. He delved into it seriously in the 1980’s while residing and teaching in Saudi Arabia. At the urging of friends, he gathered a collection of his poetry and published it himself, titled, “Yeah, You’re Right, I’m Not Your Real Father.”
Abdullah is retired from teaching at Morrisville State College and Syracuse University. His five books of poetry include:
•    I Wanna Be The Kinda Father My Mother Was
•    Nobody Eats Fried Chicken Like Black Folks Do
•    This Gonna Hurt Me A Whole Lot More'n Hurts You
•    It Ain't Only Hard Out Here For A Pimp
•    Mama Said There'd Be Days Like This

Poetic Profession   
Abdullah writes about step-parenting, death and dying, love, Black on Black crime, racism, teenagers, growing old, and the joys of life. His poetry performances incorporate music, slides, costumes, and dramatics. In workshops, he teaches writers how to convey their feelings, with the work culminating poetry booklets for participants.."
Not Even for the Children
I tried though
The years kept mounting up
The resentment getting stronger
And the love (whatever love there had been)
Had ebbed away
The touch and kisses had become distant
As I tried to distance myself from you
Sex not lovemaking had become perfunctory
And I loathed what I once loved
Yet I kept struggling
Hanging in there
Lying in bed
Praying I could fall asleep
Before you accidentally touched, rubbed, moved up
Against me
Avoiding eye contact for fear my eyes would say
What my lips couldn’t…

Founded in 2001, The Syracuse Poster Project brings together Central New York poets and Syracuse University artists to create an annual series of posters for the city’s sidewalk kiosks. Each year the Project produces 16 posters featuring illustrated poems (haiku) about downtown, the city, or the nearby countryside. The Project enlivens the city, builds community, and spreads its value by selling poster- and poetry-based products. Its website also serves as a clearing house for civic poster art by independent artists from Syracuse and other cities.

Massachusetts Poet in the Spotlight is a monthly installment from Mass Poetry. Each month we shine the spotlight on a poet affiliated with, and nominated by, one of our poetry partners.

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