Friday, October 7, 2016

Welcome to Bola Ade!

Summer has long been over weather-wise and on the calendar.  In fact, today, I was thinking about taking some of my fall/winter clothes out from the shed.  Today I am concluding the spring/summer season at The Song Is... with Bola Ade's poems.  Bola is a former student of my friend Avis D. Matthews.  Avis sent me a selection of Bola's poems, noting how powerful they are.  I agree!  I also think that they are a fine follow-up to my former student Alex Conrad's poems.

The Masters Equal

I love this new age of outrage.
Children adults
light to dark skin
Black Women, men, and children
Rushin the streets, signs in hand.
Armed with knowledge.
Fighting for freedom In this 21st century Selma.

Mr. Officer, President, Governor do you see them?
Us, we the people.
Our Natural sisters
Loc’d brothers and fathers
Will you please free them?
You pelt us with insults and bullets.
Hang us by our white collars
Because Jim Crow didn’t stop us
Slavery didn’t stop us
Ferguson didn’t stop us

When did officers of the law become oppressors of the colored?
When did we reach a time
when an 18 year old black boy is
more likely to be cut down by 8 bullets
Than to be elevated with 8 scholarships

Why are black boys and girls being told to
perm, cut, & tame their hair
To de-culture and deaden anything that
Corporate America deems “unsophisticated” and “urban.”

When did our melanin become a generational albatross
Why do black parents have to prepare their children
For being colored in this world.
For the cross that they must bare
The racism that they must fare
The glass ceiling above their heads.
The closed doors.
The segregated spaces they dare not venture to.

The ancestors of Black Americans were once shackled to boats
Raped, beaten, set ablaze and hung from trees.

The ancestors of Africans were “set free” in to the poverty and corruption
Left behind in the wake of colonization

So yes.

I am in love with this new age of outrage
Where mental shackles are being broken
So our sons can do more than line the streets with their dead bodies,
& our daughters can be more than vessels for objectification

& If war must be wrought in this 21st century Selma
So freedom may truly reign in this land of the perpetually oppressed

* place right hand to chest*

“Then we the negroes do solemnly swear
To decimate every racially imposed barrier fashioned against us.
So that the principles of real liberty, and real justice for all
shall truly come to be.”


To Adult

This is the real world I fought so hard to see.
I used to be a sheltered 13year old wishing my parents would just leave
Get off my back, get out of my face, get out of my space.
I would yank, pull, shove, and try to fight my way in to
this place…this magical place…
filled with freedom, sleepless nights, Adult things.
The idea of being grown used to swirl around my mind like some
perpetually unattainable fantasy.
I used to write superficial poetry about these imaginary people
that didn’t understand me and who only wanted to clip my wings.
Till one day I stood perched. Every muscle in my body clenched.
I no longer had to want to grow. Life was now shoving me
head over heels off the steep cliff of childhood.
In to a world filled with thinking about  a life career, dreaming of changing the world
dotted t’s and I’s, drinking not for fun but to forget
To forget the $20,000 student loans, and the fact that mommy and daddy
just got a divorce. & I found out love isn’t all roses and daises
& people that look like me get shot in the streets
and tuitions prices hiked up so we’re all rioting
& yet everyones so stoked you’re in college
But you have no idea what you want to be.
who you’re going to be.
How you’re going to get there
 So you light up the THC.
Fill your cells with ecstasy.
Do everything to forget the reality
The reality of the fact that everything you have is everything you wished for
That your fantasies didn’t factor in the reality of reality
when you desperately wanted to adult.   

La Femme

To be an enlightened woman is to remain perpetually amused.
It is to live with a perpetual smirk plastered across your face.
To act as if you know not, when you know all.
To laugh inwardly at how uncomfortable they are with your strength
To grace through crowds unscathed, unmoved, unwavering. Stoic.
An enlightened woman is the closest man could ever get to godliness
Not to worshipping a god. But, to being one.
Being an enlightened woman means
Possessing the ability to carry and bring forth life.
The ability to carry the world in the palm of your hands
Being an enlightened woman is to be tempered by experience. —
Experiences steeped in pains only one of your high caliber could ever endure.
Being an enlightened woman means exuding a rare concoction of stoic positivity, brilliance, and beauty. 

Hotep sh*t
Queen this Queen that. I struggle with the surfaceness of this Queen phase. The pretentiousness of it. The lie. The look in the mirror & tell yourself your ancestors all wore heavy eyeliner, carried gold and diamond encrusted crowns on their heads, & sprawled hieroglyphics on walls. When truth be told many of our ancestors were peasants. They were the ones upon whose backs the great pyramids where forged. Stoic statues were etched. Not in their image..but by their hands...Everyone is not royalty. If we lived in a world where everyone had a castle. Who would live in the regular homes across the ocean. Who would be regular. Everyone does not have an ancestor from Cairo. Some people came from the slums of Sierra Leone...the boys squatters of Nigeria. This Queen and King phase that I notice a lot of blacks going almost like a parody a simplistic replica of African culture..In my country I am a princess. My father is a would be King. But this neither adds nor detracts from me. My queendom is the empire I seek to build. Not the one I presume my great grand father had.

My Scarlet A
Like the waves crashing in to the rocks by the sea shore
We have fought.
 Time and Time again

Like a perpetually revolving door:
I have been both the prisoner and the warden
I have caged and buried you
Only to watch you seep through the cracks
I have laced noose around your neck
And watched life leave your eyes

Only for you to rise again
This time bigger
and stronger
more enraged
More erratic
More menacing
More terrifying
Than ever before.
I have cowered before you.
I have 
myself to you

Time and Time again.
Like a perpetually revolving door:

I have waged the grandest civil wars
I have orchestrated the greatest coup’s
I have drafted the most amicable of separations
I have pleaded for my freedom
and offered you the most grandiose reparations

I’ve asked for nothing but peace
Yet you demand war

So this time:
I will not try to plead you away,
instead I will listen and honor you
I will not take up arms against you
Instead I will be still.

….I will be still.


These days I feel the ache in my knees,
The sweet agony of release.
This caricature can not delineate my soul any longer
And my back dare not carry this burden any further.

So I write.

Rip and burn away the history

The memories.
The ones I’m forced to regurgitate.
The ones I feel boiling in the pits of my belly
The ones that spew forth
Words come tumbling from my mouth
Coated in the devils elixir
Acid burns demanding my silence
As the truth strums at the back of my throat

So I write.

Trying to undo history,
Create future.
Remake present.
Be God.

…And honestly I knew.

I knew the moment our lips locked.
There was no spark, no flicker.
I was dry in all the wrong places
The tectonic plates didn’t shift or shudder
There were no eruptions, or cataclysmic implosions.

I didn’t feel the irrepressible urge to inhale her
like her lungs held the last bit of oxygen on the planet.

My hands didn’t wander to places they didn’t belong.
I didn’t wonder what she tasted like
or felt like.
She was resting potential, with no catalyst..
She was a warm body
& I felt…..

I'll finish with some music. I want to find something appropriate.

 Here is Marquis Hill's "The Way We Play/Minority":  He is a young trumpeter, but this song is more than just notes.

This is his "Fly Little Bird Fly":

Here he is with his Blacktet:

His "If We Must Die" is inspired by the poetry of Claude McKay:

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