Handmade Books

December 23, 2014

The other day, roaming around my internal universe, I thought to myself, why not hand make your next book? Knowing next to nothing about the art, I went straight to Google. The best tutorial I saw was on thelateafternoon.com although my book is not going to be a scrap book so the idea of using cardboard, even well-disguised cardboard, for the material wasn’t embraceable.

On to YouTube where I found the following video:

This one seems more my speed and the place for the poems that I’ve been holding onto. It’s exciting (read rejuvenating). I have several poems just sitting waiting to be part of a book whose finish date seems getting further and further away from me. I realized I may have been thinking about the whole process incorrectly. Even though I have ISBNs somewhere collecting dust, I don’t have to go that route. I can make a little book out of those orphan poems with my very own hands.

Making my own books is something I’ve always pondered even though before this recent cognition, the ponder was located in the black hole of the universe mentioned above. As such my ideas hadn’t yet traveled the distance from the source long-buried thought to today’s age of technology. When I talked about this project with my son, he took pains to inform that he had done this already in his former classroom. Well, “don’t you feel dumb now, Mom, don’t cha?”

Well, yes, I do. But my dumb self is also very excited! And so are the orphaned poems!

Nonsense Makes Sense

July 23, 2014

Nonsense Makes Sense

We tango sambo
Manifesting delicious
Delinquency to the tune
Of tito
Ditto machito & his afro-cubans
Plantation palpitations
Bandana fandango
Somber sambo
Santería celia
Cruz middle passage
Memorizing meringue
Sherbro sho bro
Talk that talk
Tantalize romanticize
Defecate delinquencies
Until p diddy’s umbrella
Is eunichized

Colonial colón
Original origami
Paper tigers like swans, geishas, gertrude
& virginia
Shakespeare’s sister
In a room of her own
But I’da b well damned
If that be my destiny.

Isis Osiris
Sister brother
Wife husband
Ashes spread across seven skies
And I, sis, come looking
Reunification rectification
Holy wholeness
Can’t flub it
Or fuck with it
Untouchable like beloved
Whole womb
Embraces total nut
And it’s on
Like donkey kong
Or king kong
Who ain’t got nuttin on me
Cept extended stomach
Moon round
Full and fecund
Digging the ground
For roots
Sooty black foots my only carriage
But divorce not marriage
That be how I do it do it
While you try to woo it
Only to end up rueing it
Behind some foolish shit

But that ain’t the end
As I extend into tomorrow
No sorrow
As I search the world round
For the proper noun
To give my seed

P.A.C vs my history
Sobukwe no way
Dahomey da homey
Africa to america
Da homey
Get it on, Gat it on
Get get gone
Only grass seen
Prison lawn

Don 3 of 4
1st sankara
2nd kono
And yeah, fauna
Has his name
Nowhere near lame

And I reclaim my fame
Signing my true name
I, Sis, You, Bro, San, Son
Isis Osiris and Horus
True trinity.

 

Excerpted from my book, Still Living on my Feet.

First Freestyle of 2014

January 3, 2014

My bed is full of ashes
ghosts and fingers that creep
like vines.

I, limbless
perambulate
the contours of a dream
that approaches
a nightmare.

I am home and horizontal.

forty-six years
of diaspora living
and finally, i see
myself again.

forty-six years of living
and i refuse to apologize
anymore

unless i am wrong
and wrongness always
has a personal
and a political component

so goodbye, good riddance
and good luck.

i loved you once.
honestly.
as freely as i could
i loved you
and attempted to bring
the best of myself
to our relationship

but the best of me
is revolutionary
and in a non-revolutionary era
that is a form of suicide

and i refuse to commit to that.

forty-six years
of diaspora living
and finally, i see
and love myself

again.

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Beauty

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
and I be holding beauty
when I glance upon them
theoretically shaping
the future into an afro-
concentric sharpness
that shook
the white power structure
into confronting
a black consciousness
organized with a mandate
and a mission
to dismiss
that old time religion
that said
everything in its place
especially the black race.

A new paradigm of blackness
rooted in a community soliloquy:
ghetto equals colony
and racism is the bastard child
of fascist economies.
Fanon, Malcolm and James
became antidotes
for antiquated theologies
and anti-social pathologies.

In the belly of the imperialistic beast,
in the microcosm of prisons
and the macrocosm of streets
a new paradigm for blackness,
a paradise of struggle,
was created by young soldiers
high school students,
whores and pimps,
drug dealers and NASA employees,
doctors and number runners
heady
ready
and willing
with
fuck that shit
far too many fires lit
from Watts to the Congo

Whitey gotta go
burn baby burn
no ashes in the urn
time for the tide to turn
and put an end to the yearn

discern

panther power was here
turned the police into pigs
and nigs into blacks
figuratively burning effigies
with tactics and strategies
that earned them freedom’s mind.

 

Herman Wallace Dies Just Days After Being Released from 40+ Years in Solitary

How Elsie Became Tuyet

September 2, 2013

Elsie was a straight A student,
a dutiful daughter and a speaker
of three languages.
I was nothing of the sort
but still, we became friendly enough
that I was able to ask
why the French teacher called her
Tuyet.

Americans say its hard to pronounce.

I tested it on my one language tongue.
Tuyet.
Two syllables.
Elsie.
Two syllables.

I could see no difficulty
and so discarded Elsie.

When she told me that her family
decided that she is to marry
I remembered the teenage Haitian girl
who used to live across the hall.
Enamored with her boyfriend’s anatomy
she had names for various parts
and one of those named parts
led to a hurried wedding ceremony
at the local Seventh Day Adventist Hall
as well as her disappearance
from my life..

Back then, being called Haitian was worse
than being called nigger.
but I didn’t care.
She was cool and pretty
and made me not want to have sex.

Tuyet was cool and pretty
and also on the edge
of a disappearing act.

She left me
with a picture of herself
in a spring blue and white dress
and a pageboy haircut
that stands out
more than her face.

When it is finally ours, this freedom, this liberty, this beautiful
and terrible thing, needful to man as air,
usable as earth; when it belongs at last to all,
when it is truly instinct, brain matter, diastole, systole,
reflex action; when it is finally won; when it is more
than the gaudy mumbo jumbo of politicians:
this man, this Douglass, this former slave, this Negro
beaten to his knees, exiled, visioning a world
where none is lonely, none hunted, alien,
this man, superb in love and logic, this man
shall be remembered. Oh, not with statues’ rhetoric,
not with legends and poems and wreaths of bronze alone,
but with the lives grown out of his life, the lives
fleshing his dream of the beautiful, needful thing.

Excerpted from Collected Poems of Robert Hayden

(6/30)

April 27, 2013

a generation of violets
spreads into english gardens
formerly manicured
with the precision
of the queen’s english.

exigent circumstances
leads to a silence
which tries but fails
to silence desperate
desires for cassava
and groundnut

in love (secretly) with sister killjoy’s
black-eyed squint
they spread not
their language to their seeds
who travel far
on diasporic planes

and who, when they return,
need the rosetta stone

to decipher their source

Abstract #1 (1/30)

April 2, 2013

She cried me a river
which I populated
with salmon.

She then fished
up my nose
for coke fiend
dreams

to tell her
unstoried friends

but I was unpowdered
like puff the magic dragon.

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La Guerre (3) ee cummings

August 25, 2012

 

La Guerre

III

the bigness of cannon
is skilful,

but i have seen
death’s clever enormous voice
which hides in a fragility
of poppies…

i say that sometimes
on these long talkative animals
are laid fists of huger silence.

I have seen all the silence
filled with vivid noiseless boys

at Roupy
i have seen
between barrages,

the night utter ripe for unspeaking girls.