For Joanne Gabbin and Furious Flower, June 2019
in the destructive weather of orange hurricanes, tornadoes, avalanches, and white-eyed occupiers selling cheap fear to the ignorant and terror-struck non-readers or thinkers who miraculously know it all as they claim ownership of stolen peoples, lands, ideas, music, money, dance, technology, and climate denial: as fires ravish much of the international commons. it is time for colors, cleansing rain, memphis blues, mississippi greens, mind molding Black jazz, and measurable yeses, to learning first, quiet moments of introspection, meditation, knowledge acquisition, and livable habits prior to chasing the easy. the next line giveaways and missed melodies of poets and their poems. they who made words into life teaching, sharing, dancing indigenous vernaculars laboring for gladness and diverse tomorrows on the far side. they who transmit the lingua franca of earned accomplishments that benefit babies, children, mothers, and often fathers who are not lost in crude masculinity, trapped in solitary confinement of state prisons or dead minds that focus too regularly on get-it-for-nothing lifestyles and know-nothingness. where are the creative fighters with fists, locution, and mission? where are the top writers, team creators, word finders, clear-tongued poets?
world over and under, whether in denmark, ghana, china, or local backyards of rocks, glass, and no hope. within apartments hidden in detroit’s blackbottom, chicago’s and new york’s projects, and the forgotten red clay of alabama. all where flowers will grow with little water, sun, or helping hands. body-sweet sweat of workers battling climate damage and overtime without extra pay from big box stores & for-profit colleges unable to educate while student debt eclipses 1.5 trillion dollars. forcing memory, Black recall, sharing, teaching, never forgetting the wonderfully engaged wordsmiths and legendary artists often soloists of Black and tan images in short and long lines that save and give lives. this is the role call:
gwendolyn brooks, robert hayden, claude mckay,
lucille clifton, amiri baraka, margaret danner,
langston hughes, mari evans, dudley randall, léopold sédar senghor,
sterling a. brown, etheridge knight, carolyn m. rodgers,
norman jordan, julia fields, larry neal, melvin b. tolson,
nina simone, keorapetse kgositsile, oscar brown jr.,
and all missing poetic Black voices who often left us
without notice, notation, or preachers calling their names.
all resounding, creative, and turbulent voices of Black soup, rice milk with opened minds to consumption of raw vegetables aided by the detox salons, from diverse poets who can read in their sleep to awaken fresh to spot falsehood before early light. they all come home. presence. warrior poets, the most liberated artists in the world navigating the language of touch, love, and cayenne to the body. wellness. they, the brilliant penetrators of bogus thought, now supply us with peaches, mangoes, pure water, yellow-skinned watermelons, and critical sun screaming for the next generation of poets.
Source: Poetry (April 2023)