simply streaming

June 26, 2010

i don’t know why but in the midst of watching planet b-boy, this poem by langston hughes crossed my mind:

Militant

Let all who will
Eat quietly the bread of shame.
I cannot,
Without complaining loud and long,
Tasting its bitterness in my throat,
And feeling to my very soul
It’s wrong.
For honest work
You proffer me poor pay,
For honest dreams
Your spit is in my face,
And so my fist is clenched
Today –
To strike your face. *

i don’t know why I thought about that poem. or why my secondary thought was that it was written in 1967 [one last poetical blast at the system known as “the” man] and was influenced by the Panthers. Wrong. It was one of many poems written between 1921 – 1930.

knowing that, it makes me want to reread a book assigned during a past history class: The Hungry Years. The opening sentence to the preface reads: “a generation of witnesses is passing”. That’s a phrase that’s becoming part of my general lexicon. The generation that witnessed the Depression is passing. The generation that witnessed the holocaust is passing. The generation that witnessed the civil rights movement will soon be passing; that is, if the death of constance baker and coretta scott king doesn’t signify that the generation has already passed.

the older i get the more i question the significance of the melancholy in that phrase. i mean, witnesses witness…and in order for their witnessing to be of relevance, there has to be a record of it. as evidenced by the remembered book , there are plenty of eyewitness recollections of the depression in print to satisfy future generations as well as historians.

i prefer the history that is unknown and/or under-valued: the history referenced in the phrase “tales of the hunt will always be weak until the lion learns to speak“.

since i’m simply streaming, i’ll end with one of my pieces that i think is fitting:

180 of 360 and still spinning

Wrapping my hair in the colors of liberation
I expose my neck while balancing on my history.
My trifecta of eyes can now absorb and reflect whatever
Needs to be repudiated or reciprocated.
I can bleed on the page as well as cauterize my own wounds.
I am an Afrikan woman.
I can ride the spectrum of my emotions
without feeling lesser or more than.
I just am

always evolving and revolving like revolutions.**

* The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes

** Contraband Marriage

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