We Become poets in an attempt to tether words to righteousness’
Our notebooks to social consciousness.
Sitting anxious in wing bat chairs, we sip lattes to news of regimes,
firing American- made artillery into crowds of folk.
Dead bodies pickled by the sun,they line countries we never think about and we
suck our teeth and ask a thesaurus to become a machete and as romantic as pacifism
is,these days I dream of dictators falling head first into karma and forget to be
If I could write this shit in fire, I would write this shit in fire.
This ain’t poetry, this is rage unmated, a verb, a means and end.
This is my body. This is Sankofa, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, South side Chicago,
Compton, California. Redhook Projects in Jersey, Roosevelt Projects in Brooklyn.
This is severed hands and clubs against flesh, black boots to pregnant bellies.
Sterilizations masked as inoculations,leg irons and chains, the and the noose, this is a war- cry.
Tell ‘Massa I coming back, carrying fire in my knapsack.
Tell him “Patrice Lumumba, Steven Biko, Fannie Lou Hamer.”
Tell him ” they have been born again in me.”
Tell him,” I found my mother tongue buried under the rubble of the World Trade Center.”
Tell him, “this shit ain’t no poem,this is me, running naked from sugar cane and cotton field having dropped my crocker sac.”
Tell him, “He can call me Karma, I am refreshing the bones of a witch, a root worker,
a sorcerer, a priestess, a gangster.
Tell him, ” this is the result of segregation.”
Tell him, “this is the result of integration.”
Tell him, “I have never been invisible.”
Tell him, “He has never been invincible.”
Tell him, ” I am melting the steel bars of prison yards, they ‘gon flow
over him like lava.”
I am returned, I am blood thirsty, I am fangs, and hooks and swollen feet in welfare lines,
the gauntlet thrown down.
Lines dean in the sand. I am apocryphal- Historical deletions gathering themselves up
I am the niece of exploitation on a rice and pancake box come to collect the royalties
for Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben.
I am the line of smoke, a rain dance, the Tomahawk used to kill the first invader.
I am a passbook in South Africa, A Whites- only sign on a courthouse door in Mississippi,
The streets of Benghazi pocked in prayer beads and shell casings, the juxtaposition
of faith and savagery.
Tell him, ” I am African wide hips and American bulimia, peace symbols affixed onto assault
It is the deepest kind of contradiction. If I could write this shit in fire, I would write this
shit in fire.
Tell ‘Massa ” I’m coming back. Howl in the wind I’m coming back, Burr in your heels I coming back
‘Massa, I coming back ‘Massa, I coming back.”