Tuesday, July 22, 2014

For Malcolm Shabazz...

yellow roses in my mother's room  mean
i'm sorry     sadness comes in     generations
an inheritance       split    flayed    displayed
better than all others
the crown                                       weight
the undue burden of the truly exceptional
most special of your kind
persisting unafraid    saffron bloom
to remind us of fragility   or beauty  or                         revolution
or to ponder darkly               brightly
the fate of young kings
the crimes for which             there are no apologies.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Among Others Unnamed & Unmarked

for Eric Garner, Renisha McBride, Aiyana Jones, Henry Glover, Justin Sipp, James Brisette, Ronald Madison, Kiymani Gray, Oscar Grant, Wharlest Jackson, Keith Atkinson, Rachel Corrie, Wendell Allen, Chavis Carter, Rekia Boyd, Jordan Davis, Trayvon Martin, George Junnius Stinney Jr., Emmit Till, Ismail,Zakaria, Ahed, and Mohamed Bakr...
                      -Among Others  Unnamed  Unmarked

In a dark so deep
we cannot see it---
we are running
from memory.

                                                       a white
                                               girl’s flesh turning  
                                            a weight           a bulldozer

a bare-chest    
pajama'd bottom
one bullet in Gentilly
                                                                    a bridge  after a storm
a mother's arm
shot off
near her child's body
                                                                                on a beach under sky fire
too shocked to scream.


How much     
is thirty-one years
a stolen skull?
                                                    what of when you do scream?
                                                            I CAN'T BREATHE!
on an NYC street. 

how many of us are born double jointed?


With hands tied
one bullet in the brain
                                                                     who will call
                                                                   out our names?

Recollection is a fugue
we do(n’t)
at will.


supremacy flattens
who you back
to fight back



Who is left
to pick up
                                      the debris of bones?


Whose crush
makes you


Thursday, July 3, 2014


Is the total black, being spoken
From the earth's inside.
There are many kinds of open.
How a diamond comes into a knot of flame   
How a sound comes into a word, coloured   
By who pays what for speaking.
Audre Lorde

Thursday, May 15, 2014

On to Africa Part 2: Can Anybody Hear Me?



city roosters crow:


I sit in the strange chill of this morning--up with the thoughts I went to sleep with. Roots. Deep ones--my own and the roots of Contempt for them. The nameless ones of us in America. The assault seems to come daily and from many obvious and sly angles. The world is busy. Personal, political, and creative activity in the lives of many of the Black women I know, demonstrate to me that lots of us are trying to dually name and rebuke this elusive Thing.

I kill time on purpose and by accident; sometimes on the Internet. Twitter is a medium that for all its pluses is also a place to test the barometer on social/political attitudes toward Black women. Oby Ezekwesli, a  resident of Abuja, Nigeria, recently started the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls to draw attention to the kidnapping of Nigerian schoolgirls by rebel group Boko Haram. Her hashtag's original intent, as I understood it, was to confront both the silence in the international media and pressure the Nigerian government to act in its citizens' interests.

Fast forward and its sunrise in New Orleans. I am thinking of missing women and girls. There is one in particular, I am looking for right now in New Orleans. Gone into the night of anonymity. Sunrise and city roosters crow with no word, no message from her. Michelle Obama had a message. It said: Bring Back Our Girls. I'd like for that to happen. I'd like to sit respectfully in the dissonance of seeing my face tell my face to Bring Us Back and wonder if I'm being militarized in that process.  I wonder what it would be like To be free to cast my lot, with who I may, for my own safety.  I'd like to be able to say : don't put words in a Black woman's mouth; lest you be ate alive once we open it.  I'm thinking of the 500K, I heard a white lady made to co-opt a hashtag and shared suffering.... and wondering..... how some people can use this to play respectability politics....and how some of the anti imperialists online have found the time to chastise those with skin like mine?

This morning, I'm convinced that ignorance beside familiarity, is also an ingredient in the recipe for Contempt. Driven by a lack of reason, the abbreviated equation from some goes:

US, Israeli, Saudi, & Chinese imperial interest in Africa
Corruption in Nigerian Government
Boko Haram

= Black Americans (Women) have the wrong politics

I shudder in the peculiar cold of this sunrise. This sunrise that does not know or care for Nigeria or its women any more than it knows or cares, where in Africa, I or my line was stolen from. Tell me, who they are. Then tell me to who my loyalty should lie. Chew a root--set a root--and watch for the signs. Which direction this is all headed in...

Whose Child Am I?


Monday, April 14, 2014

Beyonce in Cuba

Beyonce in Cuba
                        ~to have a little fun~
knew baby
in the daylight
The say light
Up on
a balcony
A dais
 in the place—
Some thing
Like a homeland
Where were you born?
Some white man’s
La Habana
You maroon
any of us
Be a star
had we
just gone
Just as far west
As we…
To make

Sing it
Scratch it
Your voice
a Black girl
Look away
Make it
Shake it
Its yo pearl
Fuck em
an oyster down
Make it nasty

Monday, April 7, 2014

A Hard Day's Song


Springtime in the Old South

                                                            ----a poem for the forgotten

Come see, Come see,
for just a small fee,
            us be, still as Southern trees.
            Sedentary in the noxious breeze,
strange, we are, these descendants
of those who did not flee.

           There is no magnolia perfume or
            gallant gents if what you're digging
            is that old pastoral scene.
See, we, remain, because spilled
            blood is kind of like a root, hardier
            than the flower or the leaves.

Here its boogeymen and cane
            not cotton that’s broken down
           quarterly. We spit rocks from
           under tongues, from behind teeth
           just waiting on time to rot. So
          here we be, 
        take your best shot.
     then leave.

No one will blame you for hunting,
 me—the spoils, the crop,
fruit ripe for plucking.

The rain has begun to gather. Leave
me, pretty with rage. Take, my first born
son as souvenir before you go. Home
to where the air is sweet and fresh.

tell those yet too come about magnolia trees
And how no one would believe the scent
is the smell of young, tender, burning flesh.



Saturday, March 8, 2014

Eagle Street Right By the Store

Where Keith Magik Atkinson Was Murdered:
I wrote my enemy a poem last night
Not because I wanted to
Not being sorry or regretful
At our parting.
No wishing for skinfolk
In This (ex) sister/brother of mine.
I wrote my enemy a poem last night
Because grief makes one do macabre things
Like write a love poem for the one you hate
For a change.
There is a saying:
It is good to learn from a friend
Or an enemy.
Because the devil is a lie
And he exult this white thing
And he keep taking lives
        Too soon
And we realize really what they call
Justice, Objectivity, Freedom, Linear time
 is just them deciding
If we is living
Or if we is dying.
And now they say
Black children
If not,
We will murder you
And then they is telling lies about lies about lies.
And I tell you,
No word of a lie.
Oh no, sister, no brother
On Saturday, on Sunday, on Monday
We was all crying.
But, you, you is no
 You is no
No wretchful kin of mine.
No wretchful kin of mine

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

On To Africa

Last night, I watched the President’s State of the Union Address with my resident, centuries-old, double-consciousness. However, alongside the Classic Negro(gress), sits the reign of the internet, Barack Obama’s election, twice, and the intrusion of Disaster Capitalism into my life in New Orleans. So you might say my consciousness is a more the quintuple sort. With that said, I still love love love to see the POTUS come out. Ha Ha. I always get a kick of out Boehner’s sour face. And I always reflect on the savvy, intellect, and genius housed in one individual, who maneuvered the political dance like no other. I know what it means that they have no choice, but to look him in the face, and call him, Mr. President.

I’m always here for the theatre of it; American politics is nationalistic, yet it casts a wide net. I tend to hit the snooze around the environment and innovation and paper thin material stronger than steel and all that jazz. My ears perk up around foreign-policy and war, you know that on the ground, that what they plan to do for real. Or have already been doing and are prepping us to accept as a new development.

I always admire the writing. How swiftly and how much geographic ground can be covered in a few lines.

“The fact is, that danger remains.  While we have put al Qaeda’s core leadership on a path to defeat, the threat has evolved, as al Qaeda affiliates and other extremists take root in different parts of the world. In Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, and Mali, we have to keep working with partners to disrupt and disable these networks.”

I stop and consider the map a statement like that makes. I can’t help but recall the past axis of evil . With whom (Iran), isn’t it silly we haven’t just tried to talk about it all this time? And I am reminded that the narrative of Imperialism never really changes. It just shifts, deletes, inserts new players/archetypes in their respective positions. The world has renewed the battle for Africa it seems. Hasn’t that what it has always been? I’m aware that we will applaud this thirty year old, ten times deployed, young man, as the case against perpetual war, while a new jumble of conflated borders has been identified. The case for drones that no one will be offended by… made? Or just stated…then on to other things. The following excerpt is a constellation of global concerns. It is elliptical, impressionist, yet pointedly clear map of the American universe.

“So, even as we aggressively pursue terrorist networks – through more targeted efforts and by building the capacity of our foreign partners – America must move off a permanent war footing.  That’s why I’ve imposed prudent limits on the use of drones – for we will not be safer if people abroad believe we strike within their countries without regard for the consequence.  That’s why, working with this Congress, I will reform our surveillance programs – because the vital work of our intelligence community depends on public confidence, here and abroad, that the privacy of ordinary people is not being violated.  And with the Afghan war ending, this needs to be the year Congress lifts the remaining restrictions on detainee transfers and we close the prison at Guantanamo Bay – because we counter terrorism not just through intelligence and military action, but by remaining true to our Constitutional ideals, and setting an example for the rest of the world.”

And of this example, we are to set…many at home sit on the outskirts of the star map outlined last night. Some of us are not married or single white women and men in America. We do not sit on land or resources that are valuable. If we did, we have been removed. The land we have has been or is actively being corrupted. We are not enfranchised. People do not speak for us or share our concerns. Our needs are practical and psychic. Our pain is real and it is deadly and daily. We exist outside of the project. Only we speak our names.

Sooner or later
we all must choose a side
I want your mouth open
spill it,
whose child am I?