Throwback Thursday – 2014.03.20

When I look back on my dusty, handwritten poems from my early days, I’m struck by three things. First, how bad some of them were. Second, that some of them–with minor improvement–aren’t bad at all. And third, always, how much race and ethnicity featured in my writing. It’s not so much that times have changed, though they have. More so, it’s that I’ve changed more than the times.

While differences still abound, I no longer find them interesting enough to talk about. Mostly, my reaction is “Are we still talking about this shit?” Yes, I know we are, and I certainly know why. I just think it’s time to move on from the conversation. Change won’t come from verbiage; if it comes, when it comes, it will be because we’ve acted as though it will.

So I will shelve, for now, my titles like “Little Black Crackhead” and focus on the ones whose messages still need to be said. Speak truth, or speak nothing.

Zulu Rain

rolling over barren hills
the din of human thunder came

low, throaty roar not jungle beat
that echoes in the fear in man
approach from west
now, east
yet, north
a hundred, thousand
fearless, strong
as swift as black as lightning they
with cries of Zulu! on their lips

now, feign defeat,
and still, retreat
collapse the circle from without
the thunder roars
one thousand fall
and yet are hundreds,
thousands, more

their queen grows bold;
her proud breasts heave
the cry of Shaka! Zulu! roars
red blood flows freely
from would be gods
a rain of spears and arrows falls…

no rainbows here,
just dying men
the drumming, pounding
hearts are still
now pass the years
one million tears
a bloodless coup
a nation now,
that echoes proud,
with cries of
of Zulu! Zulu!
born

6.21.1987

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