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Hail! United States of Africa-free!Hail! Motherland most bright, divinely fair!State in perfect sisterhood united,Born of truth; mighty thou shalt ever be. Hail! Sweet land of our father’s noble kin!Let joy within thy bounds be ever known;Friend of the wandering poor, and helpless, thou,Light to all, such as freedom’s reigns within. From Liberia’s peaceful western coastTo […]learn more
When day comes we ask ourselves,where can we find light in this never-ending shade?The loss we carry,a sea we must wade.We’ve braved the belly of the beast,We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace,and the norms and notionsof what just isisn’t always just-ice.And yet the dawn is oursbefore we knew it. Somehow we do it.Somehow we’ve […]learn more
She wanted to be a blade of grass amid the fields But he wouldn’t agree to be the dandelion She wanted to be a robin singing through the leaves but he refused to be her tree She spun herself into a web and looking for a place to rest turned to him but he stood […]learn more
Signs read all along — as roadside signs are
claim to absolute newness and mastery of all mystery
as signs are, the ones that you see go down the road —
with you, as are trumped all universal sorts of energy
that emerges from them — are mystery
(I said, as I thought if I would ever see her again)
and the condition of them being put there
seen all along the highway.
Signs are called, then, these original works of art
designed to snare and hold the human heart — before,
like on a prior occasion when you have seen them
Look at me,
I’m as helpless as a kitten up a tree,
And I feel like I’m clinging to a cloud,
I can’t understand,
I get misty just holding your hand.
Walk my way
and a thousand violins begin to play,
Or it might be the sound of your hello,
that music I her,
I get misty, the moment you’re near.
You can say you’re leading me on,
But it’s just what I want you to do.
Don’t you notice how hopelessly I’m lost,
That’s why I’m following you.
On my own,
as I wander through this wonderland alone,
Never knowing my right foot from my left,
My hat from my glove,
I get misty
I must have back this breath
you take away
is formidable, like night
and certain prodding
When you leave
it is with nothing left;
haunt the light
and gaunt reflection
I have lingered
at my neighbor’s house
to steal from time
and her sorrows
I seek out strangers.
In my own house
I am stranger
to the thick presence
of your absence.
For these hours
(With special love to James)
Where are your heroes, my little Black ones
You are the Indian you so disdainfully shoot
Not the big bad sheriff on his faggoty white horse
You should play run-away-slave
Or Mau Mau
These are more in line with your history
Ask your mothers for a Rap Brown gun
Santa just may comply if you wish hard enough
Ask for CULLURD instead on Monopoly
DO NOT SIT DO NOT FOLLOW KING
GO DIRECTLY TO STREETS
This is a game you can win.
As you sit there with all your understanding eyes
You know the truth of what I’m saying
I do not want to stand
Beside you at the feast;
You eat of rot. Or walk
Beside you; your pace is not my pace. To follow
You or be with you I lose.
I’ll turn back to my roots
Making my own way through
Fields you’ll never know
Singing my own songs
To a different tune,
Shouting my own
Copyright 1971, Zack Gilbert, Third World Press.learn more
I saw myself leaving
And welcomed myself back
In the mirrors, I ran by too fast,
And had a chance to retrace, to see.
I have watched myself too much
In the polished hubcaps,
Found myself smiling
Too widely in the window glass.
I stood on the corner, a statue.
Phidias would have been proud.
Too far was I leaning
Over the puddle in it peace.
I have been too witty,
Heard too much applause,
Become too wise, too full of knowing.
My chest has caught fire with the medals
For the good that I have done.
I have ordered too many executions….
Reprinted by permission of Indiana Univelearn more
Sat through stories
right through them as if they were told
& I sat through confluence & allegory
through old movies repeated on TV, through leaping blue light
all around the couch
(through unexpected moments, intimations of sex & music
(through bus trips downtown across the bridge
into downtown Dayton over
the Great Miami
through ceremony kept simple, in & back
By the 50’s & 60’s we’d been well-ensconced for years
all along the road from Cincinnati Gateway City
to the south, had pushed in downtown Germantown hill
in fact as far a