the death of my father at 69
that every new year
is a kiss from god
or maybe it is simply a reminder
that catching bullets in our teeth
are not just for comic book super heroes
that literary giants also battle
against the monstrous heads
of connie and bill and survive,
attention critics from nowhere.
u might be forced to wear your spine to work. today.
Amiri Baraka is busy with a higher calling.
somebody gotta ask
who gonna be the messengers?
where is Sun Ra?
where are the holy ghosts
wise why’s y
do they call us hip hop
or say we slam
when we r your students. Baraka.
the invisible ones
the spooks that knocked down doors
we don’t juggle or hop scotch or jump through fire
we know your bright suns have plans for this mourning
we know your daughters are re-imagining the night
others began writing our suicide letters for us
a long time ago.
ignoring the young cultural revolutionaries
u taught us how
to breathe inside the polluted
cesspool of segregated libraries.
in the name of Baraka
we dance. we teach.
we tear down. we build up.
we believe in the face of the faithless.
we move for those who be stiff
we fly for those who be still
we have no choice.
he created this fire
who gonna keep it lit?
Scholar with sword. Master teacher
with miracles as metaphor.
who’s gonna call the ignorant ignorant
to their faces on national television?
who gonna make love inside a 8 bar blues?
here comes the heart
here come our cities
here come the people
u don’t have to explain your chakras
here comes Baraka
here comes injustice
here comes protest
here comes the hat tilt
here comes the b boy stance
here comes freedom
here comes peace
who’s gonna spike the tea?
who’s gonna plant a poem and grow a life?
who’s gonna bring the scholars
out their ivory tower prisons?
who’s gonna call a spade a King and
out joke the joker?
who’s gonna build the low ku bombs?
with the world and our bookshelves
dying a little more
who gonna teach the children?
who gonna rebel?
who gonna go into our prisons?
r our redemption songs
we conjuring the whole truth of language
from the scraps of a twisted alphabet
the chitterling backwash taste of bitter standardized
testing and watered down curriculums
we are the economy of pyramids
the who we be’s
and the what we did’s.
we what they thought
these words don’t fit
damn right the records skip
when your life is a calling
when the ancestors have prepared you
for the politricks
how do u pick the red pill or the whitest fence
when our cities are born with the bluest eyes
the darkest tales and the most beautiful African
people who don’t know they is Africans.
who’s cutting the grass of
the killing fields?
the dream dealers, the beat creators
the painters, the poets, the movement
the truth tellers, the lovers, the liars
oh, bless u, the liars
who’s blues they gonna steal
Which names they gonna mispronounce,
leave out, set back, pretend not to know?
He created this fire.
who gon’ keep it lit
who’s gonna print the books
who’s gonna program the silences
who’s gonna own the bookstores
who’s gonna burn the house down
who gonna tell em
the revolution is your mirror
He created this fire.
who’s gonna keep it lit
Baraka black Baraka jazz
Baraka blues Baraka danced
‘til there were no shoes to drag
where u from?
who gonna fill the ark with art?
who gonna be the new?
who gonna recognize the old?
who gonna identify your soul?
spirit don’t lie
but the papers do.
who gonna control
who remember you.
me. me. us us we we.
your stories are that of a lion
on the frontline of an american schizophrenic jungle
prophet footing and warrior ink blood.
they cannot kill us all
with their black face and tragic twisted
imitations of life
Amiri Baraka has
out lived your double cross.
his books held political prisoner by
un-established unsophisticated establishments
we hold his words as
as a symbol of our fearlessness
we ask his children, his wife Amina
for permission to claim him
we smile his boyish grin
waiting for the low-ku
he teaches us there is jazz playing
every time the sun rises
a jackal of words a blues man with his hat always in place
father of movement and possibility
Baraka black and artistic handing out pamphlets
full of rebellion and resistance
we know your lifework
is simply an answer to a question
why Last Poets?
(why asha why tony why saul why thomas why mike why kevin why ekere why ursula why lamar why willie why carl why major why leeza)
why blk genius
why in the hell did you have to make
and God replied,
Leroi, somebody had to show them how to do it.
From Sunlight Through Bullet Holes [/full_width_color]