photo of Nnamdi Chukwuocha and Al Mills

Delaware Poets Laureate

“We see the ills in our community, the things that are going wrong,” says Albert Mills. cbc-poets-119-compressor
“And we feel that art truly is our way to help address some of these things. Given the appointment, I think we’ll be able to put poetry and art in places and conversations where it hasn’t been in the past. In reference to the violence, in reference to the detention centers, the work-release programs — I just think that art plays a part in the whole scheme of things. I think, so often, it’s completely overlooked as even part of the solution, which we truly feel it is.”

“This appointment will allow us to continue to create an environment where it’s OK to express your emotions and your love, your care and concern for another person,” said Nnamdi Chukwuocha. “This camaraderie, this brotherhood, it’s in everything we do, and it’s sorely missing from our community.”


Some say
That Memorial Day
Is the unofficial start of summer

But in the heart of our nation
In the 1st state the very start
Of our nation

There is a difference
This is a day of significance
A day of remembrance
To the Known and unknown
Honoring those who came home
And those who didn’t
Showing our respect
Those who gave themselves to their mission Those who came home Forever scared And struggled with the transition

It is our obligation to
Recognize and heal our nation’s pain
Wounded veterans
Our gold star families
Families forever changed

We are a nation
That is never silent
On things that matter
Standing strong on our
Duty, commitment, our courage
Allegiance and valor
Honoring those who served
The sacrifices that built

This is our obligation
Obligation to our nation
Remembering the men and women
Who served
Fulfilling their duties
Far beyond words
It’s their strength
That’s makes us strong

Today is the day we remember
Today we pray that
America will never be a forgotten nation A nation that forgets The unforgettable days The sacrifices made Our POW/MIA Those NEVER brought home Resting in unmarked graves We remember

Our duty
Our obligation
To honor
In remembrance
The service and the sacrifices
Made for our nation
We must
Honor and protect
Those who
Protected us

This is our obligation
As a nation

We must teach our children
Our freedoms
Are not free
There is a cost
For each of us
And it begins with us
paying our respects

This is our nation
This is our obligation…

Before we begin
Let’s just take a breath
Pausing to acknowledge all we’ve been through

We made it through some tough days
And there are more to come
Through tragedy comes triumph
It’s time to heal
Time to build

A place of conviction and faith

Where your color, age, religion
Gender or orientation doesn’t matter
For we are one people, one nation

How do we follow the most divided election in history
With truth, conviction and integrity
To silence the chatter
Bring everyone to the table
For all voices matter

We must roll our selves up
Block by block
Community by community
Doing the work to bring forth unity

This is not about blue states
Or red states
It’s about the red, white and blue
The faith of our nation

We are one nation
One people
Where all men and women are created equal

Time for healing
Time for nation building

Restoring glory in our children’s eyes
Realigning with our Allies
And recommitting to the work
To save our Mother Earth

Our power is
A nation united
Not divided

How does a divided land stand?
We must come together every woman and man
For we are: American

It’s not one man
Not one woman
It’s one people
One nation

Out of many, come one
A nation united
to do what needs to be done

Put those who have the least amongst us

Find ways to improve our schools

Time to move beyond words
To give our seniors
The respect and care they deserve

Moving forward with trust
Serving our veterans as they
Have served us

Men and women of all hues
Let’s gather in community spaces and hear differing views
Put yourself in others shoes
Listen respectfully to their songs of struggle
Their jazz, their rhythm and blues
Their county, their rock
Their neo soul, their hip hop
The heart beats cadence
Of this nation

Our mission starts
Preaching and practicing
Justice and equity
At home and abroad
The world is waiting
For us to show
We are one people
One nation

Many want to portray that we are divided and weak
Let’s prove them wrong
Show that we are united and strong

To get our nation back on track
We must bring salvation back

The only way to heal a hurting nation
is to become a working nation
working collectively toward our greatness

We must speak out against injustice
All of our voices
We can not become a nation of silence
A nation divided
For we are one people, one nation

Where has our lack of trust
Gotten us

Brothers and sisters
Heed not the careless whispers
We can’t be torn apart
Can’t let our home
Become a war zone

We must dig deep into the soil of our nation’s heart
To plant a fresh start

To save our nation
To save lives
We have
To wear our mask

America is back
Back to the table
Of diplomacy

Together we sing
Collectively as one people, one nation
That Love is a beautiful thing

What a difference a new day can make
Restoring our county’s faith
For we are one people, one nation

Twin Poets Al Mills & Nnamdi Chukwuocha
State of Delaware Poets Laureate


Art for Life

Art For Life: The Twin Poets (Official Trailer) from TELEDUCTION on Vimeo.

Twin Poets Representative Nnamdi O. Chukwuocha and Al Mills have dedicated their lives to inspiring under served youth in their hometown of Wilmington, Delaware. As Delaware’s official Poets Laureate, their mantra Art for Life has now been amplified, but their mission remains the same: to interrupt the patterns of underachievement that plague too many of Wilmington’s poorer neighborhoods, breeding hopelessness and violence.

In 2010, Hearts and Minds Film told the story of the origins of their work in the documentary film, “Why I Write: The Twin Poets” Now, “Art for Life” updates the story of the Poets’ work and wider focus that includes Veterans and incarcerated young adults, all part of and their unwavering efforts to achieve greater social justice through the power of the arts.

Dreams are Not Illegal

I had a dream
I had a dream that I was in America
I mean I was actually in the land of the beautiful
And the home of the brave
My boss came into my office and said
‘Hi Bob, how’s it going?
Why don’t you take off early and here is that raise”
As I pulled my Suburban, up to my suburban home
I checked the mail in the box
And saw that I was approved for another home equity loan
Girl scouts were there ringing the bell with cookies to sell
Of course, I bought a box
As Hillary quieted down Marmaduke, who had begun to bark
And later on, me – the wife & kids took a bike ride to the park
When we returned got back we had apple pie with ice cream on top
Then we buckled up and headed on down to the Redbox
To get some videos to watch
When we got in, the kids put on their pjs
And we met in the den
Relaxed on the couch for some family time watching videos
Then all these strangers turned to me and said:
What are you doing here? Don’t you know…
Dreams are Illegal in the Ghetto

Gunshots ring in the heat of the night
Followed by screams, violently disrupting my dreams
In my neighborhood
I don’t have to read the paper or watch the news
To know that something bad happen around here tonight
But once the ambulance leaves, the police sirens stop,
And the crowd disperses
The silence soaks into my soul, sobering my senses
In this often over-intoxicating society
I try to relax but the Devil just won’t let go
He keeps pointing to the signs that are posted all around me
That read: Dreams are Illegal

My neighborhood is the bottom of the barrel
Where drugs get mixed
Here there are no brothers and sisters
Just confused brothers and sisters
Here people drown in the backwash
Of the latest political scandal
In the midst of ghetto chaos dreams are quickly lost
In the ghetto the Devil is in sweet control
As dreams are stole
There is no honor amongst thieves
So dreams are stolen with ease
A high school graduate barely seventeen
Gives up her college dreams, for a pair of tight jeans
And a chance to be the next ghetto queen
In the ghetto checks and basketballs bounce with regularity
Life and death intermix with no disparity
Ghetto youth live for nothing, ghetto youth die for nothing
Everyday blue skies are gray
All they know is, they wanna make $doe
The Devil has them chasing a colorless rainbow
At the end there is no pot of gold, just a pot of steam
Which he exchanges for their dreams
Bonified slaves are made in the Devil’s dream trade
Without dreams you are equivalent to being non-existent
Our children need to be told they can achieve
And that God bless those that hold on to their dreams
We have to take down the signs so that our children won’t know
That the Devil is trying to make dreams illegal in the ghetto.

Twin Poets
(Al & Nnamdi)
Kwanzaa ‘97