“Simon Says” & “1492 Blues”

Ruth Woldemichael

I wrote “Simon Says” to expose the harms of capitalism against Black and Brown bodies, specifically in the American education and prison systems. “1492 Blues” was written about the truths of colonialism kept out of Eurocentric curriculums. Through both of these poems, I trope on injustices by manipulating our childhood games and hymns. In my work, I hope to give perspective through the poetic art of storytelling.

Simon Says

My name is capitalism,

You can call me Simon

I built this shit like a pimp, ain’t even need to hit a lick

My name is Simon

Let’s play a game

I will tell you what to do

If you obey, you lose

If you don’t, you also lose

But I promise it’s fun

Simon says I want money

Simon says I can buy you

Simon says I can sell you and your kids, Like fruit

Yes Simon says you and your kids can be bought, and sold like strange ass fruit

Simon says go to school

Then at school Simon sends you to the office

Simon searches your book bag, asks your teachers about your behavior

Simon says shut up, control yourself or else

Simon finds you again

This time, with your head down on the desk

After Mr. Simon yelled at you for not talking

Then yelled again when you shouted the correct answer

Mr. Simon calls you a bad boy, says you deserve to be punished

Says you must not listen, back at home

Mr. Simon sends you to a cage this time

Where you get to meet

Officer Simon

You see, Simon wants bodies

I mean money

Simon says he wants money

Simon tells judges they will get more money

Because like I said

Simon wants bodies

So Judge Simon sits at the bench

Sending kids like you to cages

Because Simon wants bodies

And bodies give Simon money

And they listen to Simon

Because what Simon says goes

And it’s all just a game of, Simon says

Simon says shake what your mama gave ya

Simon says bend it over as

I reap my benefits

Simon says I’ll throw some bills at ya

Simon says you’re the commercial

I just want a show

Simon says my name is

Simon so you’ll do as told

Remember Simon says he wants bodies

Simon says throw a ball

You’re only as valuable as you are able

Simon still wants bodies

Because Simon wants the show, remember?

Simon says you will stand for this country

And you will throw a ball for this country

And kiss the blessed flag

Simon ain’t give a damn about

Bullets six inches deep and

Bodies six feet under

What value do you have then

If you aren’t entertaining?

if you aren’t breathing?

if you aren’t profiting?

You’re just breathing dollar signs

Simon says you will do as you are told

Simon owns you

Simon owns money

So Simon owns bodies

Can’t handle the jail cell?

Can’t handle the casket?

Can’t play this game with


Don’t worry.

He’ll get your kids

I hope they listen at home.


1492 Blues

“In 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue

He had 3 ships and left from Spain

He sailed through sunshine, wind, and rain…”

And nothing was ever the same,

Still filled with nothing but pain.

“He sailed by night; He sailed by day

He used the stars to find his way

A compass also helped him know

How to find the way to go…”

Ready to ruin homes

With cocoa bodies as cargo

Who would have known

How far this would go

“October 12 their dream came true

You never saw a happier crew”

Singing the 1492 Blues

Dreams with screams & spilled bloodstreams

Linger like a shadow, like the stench of burning flesh

Nothing like the 1492 Blues

Sung on the backs of honey hues


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.