Ashanti Alston

essentially we all are in endless ‘coming/s out’ of the closet. like my propensity to afrikan anarchism.

days later,
en I’m committed to catching up on another (new) project. i (secretly) like to think i am adept at multitasking. but i think it only counts for the things that i’m invested in.  otherwise i get distracted and exhausted pretty quickly…en I quit. i struggle (secretly) with the knowledge that i may be the most selfish person I know. I am only interested in my destiny. and i found me somewhere along the way…my path to follow, is the revolushunary one….en I’m recruiting (as many as I can) along the way.
 
i’d promised myself that I would use this space to share resources and teachings. i wonder if anyone cares? i know i do…..so on friday, sep 11th…I remembered…en days later, a comrade forwarded me the poem that had touched my mind moons ago…..days later, i’m back here again, sharing this poem with you, en before he starts, I should tell you, these words are not my own, do with them as you will…..share them with someone else, memorise them, criticise…but don’t say you would have lived your life differently if you’d heard this story before….now you know…..
molisa.
emmanuel.
Before I start this poem,
I’d like to ask you to join me
In a moment of silence
In honor of those who died in the World Trade Center and the
Pentagon last September 11th.

I would also like to ask you
To offer up a moment of silence
For all of those who have been harassed, imprisoned,
disappeared, tortured, raped, or killed in retaliation for those strikes
For the victims in both Afghanistan and the U.S.

And if I could just add one more thing…
A full day of silence
For the tens of thousands of Palestinians who have died at the
hands of U.S.-backed Israeli
forces over decades of occupation.
Six months of silence for the million and-a-half Iraqi people,
mostly children, who have died of
malnourishment or starvation as a result of an 11-year U.S.
embargo against the country.

Before I begin this poem,
Two months of silence for the Blacks under Apartheid in South Africa,
Where homeland security made them aliens in their own country.
Nine months of silence for the dead in Hiroshima and Nagasaki,
Where death rained down and peeled back every layer of
concrete, steel, earth and skin
And the survivors went on as if alive.
A year of silence for the millions of dead in Vietnam – a people,
not a war – for those who
know a thing or two about the scent of burning fuel, their
relatives’ bones buried in it, their babies born of it.
A year of silence for the dead in Cambodia and Laos, victims of
a secret war … ssssshhhhhhh…
Say nothing
we don’t want them to learn that they are dead.
Two months of silence for the decades of dead in Colombia,
Whose names, like the corpses they once represented,
have piled up and slipped off our tongues.

Before I begin this poem.
An hour of silence for El Salvador …
An afternoon of silence for Nicaragua …
Two days of silence for the Guatemaltecos …
None of whom ever knew a moment of peace in their living years.
45 seconds of silence for the 45 dead at Acteal, Chiapas

25 years of silence for the hundred million Africans who found
their graves far deeper in the ocean than any building could
poke into the sky.
There will be no DNA testing or dental records to identify their remains.
And for those who were strung and swung from the heights of
sycamore trees in the south, the north, the east, and the west…

100 years of silence…
For the hundreds of millions of Indigenous peoples from this half
of right here,
Whose land and lives were stolen,
In postcard-perfect plots like Pine Ridge, Wounded Knee, Sand Creek,
Fallen Timbers, or the Trail of Tears.
Names now reduced to innocuous magnetic poetry on the
refrigerator of our consciousness …

So you want a moment of silence?
And we are all left speechless
Our tongues snatched from our mouths
Our eyes stapled shut
A moment of silence
And the poets have all been laid to rest
The drums disintegrating into dust.

Before I begin this poem,
You want a moment of silence
You mourn now as if the world will never be the same
And the rest of us hope to hell it won’t be.
Not like it always has
been.

Because this is not a 9/11 poem.
This is a 9/10 poem,
It is a 9/9 poem,
A 9/8 poem,
A 9/7 poem
This is a 1492 poem.

This is a poem about what causes poems like this to be written.
And if this is a 9/11 poem, then:
This is a September 11th poem for Chile, 1971.
This is a September 12th poem for Steven Biko in South Africa, 1977.
This is a September 13th poem for the brothers at Attica Prison, New York, 1971.
This is a September 14th poem for Somalia, 1992.
This is a poem for every date that falls to the ground in ashes
This is a poem for the 110 stories that were never told
The 110 stories that history chose not to write in textbooks
The 110 stories that CNN, BBC, The New York Times, and Newsweek ignored.
This is a poem for interrupting this program.

And still you want a moment of silence for your dead?
We could give you lifetimes of empty:
The unmarked graves
The lost languages
The uprooted trees and histories
The dead stares on the faces of nameless children
Before I start this poem we could be silent forever
Or just long enough to hunger,
For the dust to bury us
And you would still ask us
For more of our silence.

If you want a moment of silence
Then stop the oil pumps
Turn off the engines and the televisions
Sink the cruise ships
Crash the stock markets
Unplug the marquee lights,
Delete the instant messages,
Derail the trains, the light rail transit.

If you want a moment of silence, put a brick through the window of Taco Bell,
And pay the workers for wages lost.
Tear down the liquor stores,
The townhouses, the White Houses, the jailhouses, the
Penthouses and the Playboys.

If you want a moment of silence,
Then take it
On Super Bowl Sunday,
The Fourth of July
During Dayton’s 13 hour sale
Or the next time your white guilt fills the room where my beautiful
people have gathered.

You want a moment of silence
Then take it NOW,
Before this poem begins.
Here, in the echo of my voice,
In the pause between goosesteps of the second hand,
In the space between bodies in embrace,
Here is your silence,
Take it.
But take it all…
Don’t cut in line.
Let your silence begin at the beginning of crime.
But we,
Tonight we will keep right on singing
For our dead.

By EMMANUEL ORTIZ, 11 Sep 2002

Emmanuel Ortiz is a third-generation Chicano/Puerto Rican/Irish-American community organizer and spoken word poet residing in Minneapolis, MN. He currently serves on the board of directors for the Minnesota Spoken Word Association, and is the coordinator of Guerrilla Wordfare, a Twin Cities-based grassroots project bringing together artists of color to address socio-political issues and raise funds for progressive organizing in communities of color through art as a tool of social change.

Imagine a woman who believes it is right and good that she is woman. A woman who honors her experience and tells her stories. Who refuses to carry the sins of others within her body and life.

Imagine a woman who has acknowledged the past’s influence on the present. A woman who has walked through her past. Who has healed into the present.

Imagine a woman in love with her own body. A woman who believes her body is enough, just as it is. Who celebrates her body’s rhythms and cycles as an exquisite resource.

Imagine a woman who embraces her sexuality as her own. A woman who delights in pleasuring herself. Who experiences her erotic sensations without shame or guilt.

Imagine a woman who honors the body of the Goddess in her changing body. A woman who celebrates the accumulation of her years and her wisdom. Who refuses to use her precious life-energy disguising the changes in her body and life.

Imagine a woman who has access to the full range of human emotion. A woman who expresses her feelings clearly and directly. Who allows them to pass through her as gracefully as a breath.

Imagine a woman who tells the truth. A woman who trusts her experience of the world and expresses it. Who refuses to defer to the thoughts, perceptions, and responses of others.

Imagine a woman who follows her creative impulses. A woman who produces original creations. Who refuses to color inside someone else’s lines.

Imagine a woman who names her own gods. A woman who imagines the divine in her image and likeness. Who designs a personal spirituality to inform her daily life.

Imagine a woman who refuses to surrender to gods, gurus, and higher powers. A woman who has descended into her own inner life. Who asserts her will in harmony with its impulses and instincts.

Imagine a woman who is interested in her own life. A woman who embraces her life as a teacher, healer, and challenge. Who is graceful for the ordinary moments of beauty and grace.

Imagine a woman who authors her own life. A woman who trusts her inner sense of what is right for her. Who refuses to twist her life out of shape to meet the expectations of others.

Imagine a woman who participates in her own life. A woman who meets each challenge with creativity. Who takes action on her own behalf with clarity and strength.

Imagine a woman who has crafted a fully formed solitude. A woman who is available to herself. Who chooses friends and lovers with the capacity to respect her solitude.

Imagine a woman who refuses to diminish her life so others will feel better. A woman who brings the fullness of her years, experience, and wisdom into each relationship. Who expects others to be challenged and blessed by her presence in their lives.

Imagine a woman who assumes equality in her relationships. A woman who no longer believes she is inferior to men and in need of their salvation. Who has taken her rightful place beside them in the human community.

Imagine a woman who refuses to use her precious life-energy managing crisis and conflict. A woman whose relationships deepen in satisfaction and contentment without depleting her. Who chooses friends and lovers with the necessary skills to navigate through the challenges of life.

Imagine a woman who values the women in her life. A woman who sits in circles of women. Who is reminded of the truth about herself when she forgets.

Imagine a woman who has relinquished the desire for intellectual safety and approval. A woman who makes a powerful statement with every word she speaks, every action she takes. Who asserts to herself the right to reorder the world.

Imagine a woman who has grown in knowledge and love of herself. A woman who has vowed faithfulness to her own life and capacities. Who remains loyal to herself. Regardless.

Imagine yourself as this woman….

my mantra for the day, picked up from trawlings through (not-so) random blogs

the one (im trying to follow), the path….

is filled with deviations,

it is not a sin to get lost,

the point though is to learn from our mistakes,

en change…..

why then has so much remained the same,

i wonder,

if its still true that gawdess created this earth,

way back when,

in the beginning…

in ifrica….

a boy en a girl were born….

the rest is ancient hirstory….

does anybody care?

does it really matter what we do in this life?

if there’s so much discontent en there’s the (whole)  world that needs fixin,

why are there so many people running away?

why would you choose to continue aiding and abetting systems of exploitation,

if there’s not some benefit for you?

riddle me this,

riddle me that,

why the dolla so important so?