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04 April 2009 @ 10:37 am

They called you lil

but there ain't nothing lil

about a sixteen year old being the first one

to walk into the newly opened doors

of the black panther party office

and join.

 

Your young life

was a series of firsts.

first to join.

first treasurer.

first to get killed.

 

and only seventeen years old.

 

on the day you were killed

folks from watts to chicago to newark

were bringing the justice of fire to the streets

for the killing of martin luther king

just two days earlier.

 

but no monuments exist to you

you who had to be badder than bad

to be so young

to be so willing to stand for your people

to be so determined to live by the adage

it is better to die on your feet than live on your knees.

 

no monuments are named after you

but you do have a park;

the park where free huey rallies were held.

let the monuments have their monuments.

i believe the park is nobler.

buildings decay.

buildings collapse

buildings get rotted out by the misery of the inhabitants

buildings get passed hand to hand like whores or dollars

but nothing can stop the grass from growing

and nothing

absolutely nothing

can stop the sun

from shining on the grass.

 

 
 
 
Current Location: Boston, MA
Current Mood: resolute
Current Music: Fela
 
 
04 September 2007 @ 08:27 am
I came from the valley
laughing with blackness
up between the mouth of the mountains I rose
weeping, cold
hampered by the clinging souls of dead men
shaken
with reverberations of wasted minutes
unborn years......................................
...............................................................
I was the story of a phantom people
I was the hope of lives never lived
I was a thought-product of the emptiness and space
and the space in the empty bread baskets
I was the hand, reaching toward the sun
the burnt crisp that sought relief..........
...................................................................
And on the tree of mourning they hanged me
the lost emotion of an angry people
hanged me, forgetting how long I was
in dying
how deathlessly I stood
forgetting how easily
I could rise
again.

April 20, 1952
- from Zami: A New Spelling of My Name
 
 
11 July 2007 @ 09:55 am
excerpt from Kaffir Boy: The True Story of A Black Youth's Coming of Age In Apartheid South Africa by Mark Mathabane


One day I was arrested for being in a white neighborhood after the ten o' clock evening curfew, and for being without a pass. I told the arresting officers, one black and one white, and I was a student. Luckily I was in the habit of carrying several books with the name of my former school on them. They let me go with a warning to get a pass.

"You're eighteen years old now," said the black officer. "You should have got one two years ago."

I began making plans to go apply for one, even though I detested the idea of carrying a pass. At the pass office I was interrogated by a young black man in a checkered suit who appeared to enjoy the job he was doing" putting his own folks through hell.

Read more...Collapse )
 
 
06 November 2006 @ 08:37 am
excerptCollapse )
 
 
20 September 2006 @ 02:35 pm
A young Trinidadian woman leaves home to attend an all-girl Catholic college in Oshkosh, Wisconsin in 1963. To be honest, I didn't care much for the writing - some of the symbols kind of beat me over the head. But it raised some important ideas, and I liked the plot.

ExcerptCollapse )
 
 
 
Awesome, awesome book (passed along to me by cynicgal), about how history is written, rewritten, unwritten, and ignored. Each chapter begins with a short piece of prose.

EpilogueCollapse )
 
 
03 September 2006 @ 03:05 pm
Excerpt from Kindred by Octavia Butler.

possibly a slight spoilerCollapse )


From "Reader's Guide", Robert Crossley:

'Kindred begins and end in mystery. On June 9, 1976, her twenty-sixth birthday, Edana Franklin is overcome by nausea while moving with her white husband, Kevin...she has been transported, physically as well as psychically...Dana's involuntary trips to the past, like convulsive memories dislocating her in time, occupy only a few minutes or hours of her life in 1976, but her stay in the alternative time is stretched out as she lives out an imposed remembrance of things past. Because of this dual time level a brief absence from Los Angeles may result in months spent in the nineteenth century, observing and suffering the backbreaking field work, enduring verbal abuse, whippings, and other daily brutalities of enslavement.'

Butler on Kindred:

"I couldn't really let her come all the way back. I couldn't let her return to what she was. I couldn't let her come back whole...Antebellum slavery didn't leave people quite whole."
 
 
30 August 2006 @ 09:47 am
Lil’ Rocc, Pumpkin, Ulysses, Junebug, Aghoster

names spray-painted throughout our neighborhood

in memoriam, I couldn’t understand how a god

could make one life possible and strip the world

clean of so many, or how, like high-water marks

the dead remind the living of the coming of storms.

- Amaud Jamaul Johnson


"Literature works its way through society and time slowly. Its eventual victual victory is not in doubt. But since our society demands much more urgency, the writer cannot be a mere story-teller, he cannot be a mere teacher; he cannot merely x-ray society's weakness, its ills, its perils, he or she must be actively involved in shaping its present and its future."
- Ken Saro-Wiwa


Black history: http://www.black-history-month.co.uk/

http://www.ebonyreads.com/about.htm "...to make readers aware of the breadth and depth of fiction by Black writers and to encourage readers to purchase this fiction." Among other things there's this quiz that I did pretty abysmally on.

http://www.wasafiri.org/ "Wasafiri remains committed to its original aims: to create a definitive forum for the voices of new writers and to open up lively spaces for serious critical discussion not available elsewhere. It is Britain's only international magazine for Black British, African, Asian and Caribbean literatures.

http://www.cavecanempoets.org/index.html "A home for black poetry"
 
 
29 August 2006 @ 01:38 pm
I finished Sassafrass, Cypress, and Indigo awhile ago. Loved it. Here's a nip:

"Listen now, girl. I'ma tell you some matters of the reality of the unreal. In times blacker than these," Uncle John waved the violin & the bow toward the deepening night, "when them slaves was ourselves & we couldn't talk free, or walk free, who ya think be doin' our talkin' for us?"

"White folks, of course," snapped Indigo.

Uncle John's face drew up on his bones like a small furious fire. His back shot up from his legs like a mahogany log.

"Whatchu say, gal?? I caint believe ya tol' me some white folks was doin' our talkin'. Now, if you want me to help ya, don't say nary another word to me till I'm tellin' ya I'm finished. Now, listen. Them whites what owned slaves took everythin' was ourselves and didn't even keep it fo' they own selves. Just threw it on away, ya heah. Took them drums what they could, but they couldn't take our feet. Took them languages what we speak. Took off wit our spirits and left us with they Son. But the fiddle was the talkin' one. The fiddle be callin' our gods what left us/be givin' back some devilment & hope in our bodies worn down & lonely over these fields & kitchens. Why white folks so dumb, they was thinkin' that if we didn't have nothin' of our own, they could come controllin' meddlin', whippin' our sense on outta us. But the Colored smart, ya see. The Colored got some wits to em, you & me, we ain't the onliest ones be talkin' wit the unreal. What ya think music is, whatchu think the blues be, & them get happy church musics is about, but talkin' wit the unreal what's mo' real than most folks ever gonna know."

The slaves who were ourselves. Those words come up again and again. I'm still trippin on them.
 
 
05 July 2006 @ 09:02 pm
Okay, I posted something about this a while back, but then finals hit and I had to drop all extracurriculars. Anyway, I wanted to start a online journal /collective for different forms of expression (art, photography, writing, etc.) by people of color in particular. I realized that people may have already have websites or whatever where they already write and express themselves as I do, so I thought an online network (not a blogring) would probably be more appropriate. Is anyone interested? I just need a couple of people to help me get this off the ground and build a solid foundation in the summer so that we keep going strong when school starts up again. Peace!