‘Leadbelly Gives an Autograph’ by Amiri Baraka

whitetrenchcoat

Pat your foot
and turn
            the corner. Nat Turner, dying wood
of the church. Our lot
is vacant. Bring the twisted myth
of speech. The boards brown and falling
away. The metal bannisters cheap
and rattly. Clean new Sundays. We thought
it possible to enter 
the way of the strongest.

But it is rite that the world's ills
erupt as our own. Right that we take
our own specific look into the shapely
blood of the heart.
                                 Looking thru trees
the wicker statues blowing softly against
the dusk.
Looking thru dusk
thru dark-
ness. A clearing of stars
and half-soft mud.

The possibilities of music. First
that it does exist. And that we do, 
in that scripture of rhythms. The earth,
I mean soil, as melody. The fit you need,
the throes. To pick it up and cut
away what does not singularly express.

Need.
Motive.
The delay of language.

A strength to be handled by giants.

The possibilities of statement. I am saying, now,
what my father could not remember
to say. What my grandfather
was killed 
for believing.
                        Pay me off, savages.
                        Build me an equitable human assertion.

One that looks like a jungle, or one that looks like the cities 
of the West.      But I provide the stock. The beasts
and myths.
            The City's Rise!
                                 (And what is history, then? An old deaf lady)
                                 burned to death
                                 in South Carolina.

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Source: Baraka, Imamu A, and William J. Harris. The Leroi Jones/Amiri Baraka Reader. New York, NY: Thunder’s Mouth Press, 1995. Print.

Portrait of Amiri

Wikipedia Poem, No. 641

w641-sm

white politicians are their 
  weapons of there 
be black poems written until love 
let their weapons or they is 
their weapons 
       leaving whose 
brains 
        souls 
         splintered steps or 
loud stumbling assassins 
we want a bar stool in 
   the 
     liberal spokesman for trees 
of there      william calcraft 
     poison gas bullshit unless 
        here’s a negroleader pissing
we want a 
       bar 
stool in the white poems written 
         for steel love and death wrestlers
or shudder 
on the wrestlers' heaving breast 
or loud with 
lizbeth taylor’s 
     smear on girdlemamma mulatto bitches whose 
      brains souls pulled for the crow crowd
        splintering fire 
we want 
         a black people  arrgh

 

Impossible Tercets as Exaggerated Reality

Wikipedia Poem, No. 624

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aiming
to avoid those threats dr strauss said
adding

to be livable over the
next two decades
settle increasingly feeling to avoid those threats dr strauss said

adding to avoid those threats
others to escape
that any cities where some within the effects of climate the

effects of the effects
some within the climate
the

brunt of the climate central an independent
nonprofit
research collabor

that any cities mitigate change within the
effects
at climate change

within the
climate impacts of
t

collaboration could
settle in the heat
dr strauss said adding

to
avoid those threats
dr strauss

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Source: Bromwich, Jonah Engel. “Where can you escape the harshest effects of climate change?” The New York Times, The New York Times, 20 Oct. 2016. 

To Think and Choose in America Now

Wikipedia Poem, No. 576

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“What can I do to myself? Bones / and dusty skin. Heavy eyes twisted / between the adequate thighs of all / humanity (a little h), strumming my head / for a living. Bankrupt utopia sez tell me / no utopias. I will not listen. (Except the raw wind / makes the hero’s eyes close, and the tears that come out / are real.” Amiri Baraka, 1964

downtown
mall kill 32-year-old woman some thirty
four others injured fights date over bloodiest fights

date over
bloodiest
city’s choice

remove
statue robert e lee nationalists no plan
demolition

nineteen rally city’s choice remove
statue robert
e lee

nationalists no plan
demolition nineteen
rally city’s choice remove statue robert e lee

nationalists no plan
demolition nineteen rally
city’s

choice remove
statue robert e
lee nationalists no plan

demolition
nineteen rally city’s
choice remove statue robert e lee nationalists no

plan
demolition nineteen rally city’s
choice remove

statue
robert e
lee

nationalists no
plan demolition nineteen rally city’s
choice remove statue robert e lee nationalists no

plan
demolition nineteen
rally city’s

choice
remove
statue robert

e lee nationalists
no
plan demolition

nineteen rally city’s choice remove statue robert e
lee nationalists no plan demolition nineteen rally
city’s choice remove statue robert

e lee
nationalists no
plan demolition

nineteen
rally city’s downtown mall kill 32-year-old woman
some

thirty
four others
injuredition nineteen rally

city’s choice
remove statue robert e lee
nationalists no plan demolition nineteen rally

city’s downtown mall
kill 32-year-old
woman some

thirty four
others
injuredition nineteen rally city’s choice remove

statue robert e lee nationalists no plan demolition
nineteen rally city’s downtown mall kill
32-year-old woman some

thirty four others injuredoice
remove
statue robert e lee nationalists no plan

demolition nineteen rally city’s choice
remove statue robert e
lee

nationalists
no plan demolition nineteen rally city’s choice
remove statue robert e

lee nationalists no
plan demolition nineteen rally city’s choice
remove

statue robert e
lee nationalists no plan demolition nineteen rally
city’s choice

remove statue robert e lee nationalists no plan
demolition nineteen rally city’s choice remove statue
robert

e
lee nationalists
no

plan demolition
nineteen rally city’s
choice remove statue

robert e lee nationalists no plan
demolition nineteen rally city’s choice
remove statue robert

e lee nationalists no plan
demolition nineteen rally city’s downtown mall kill
32-year-old woman some thirty four others injuredition nineteen rally

city’s choice remove
statue robert e lee
nationalists no
plan demolition nineteen rally city’s choice

remove
statue robert
e lee

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Sources: 

Stolberg, Sheryl Gay, and Brian M. Rosenthal. “State of Emergency Declared in Charlottesville After Protests Turn Violent.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 12 Aug. 2017. Web. 13 Aug. 2017.

Baraka, Amiri. “History as Process.” Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation, Dec. 1964. Web. 13 Aug. 2017.

God Cannot Be Fingered

Wikipedia Poem, No. 410

art

“I have only two charms in my pocket” Frank O’Hara

 

not every sentence
needs a verb
this one
for instance does
not demand it

now this small pocket of music
set down by leroi jones in my genes
must be crawling through the world’s
fetid cast it’s not that he’s dead he’s
just one man anyway the poet as strap
material not dead as in buried but
we’re some kind of threadbare king
barren times they are a-changin’
one’s critical diaper so goods perhaps
this terrible diction and so much
psycho-holy meaning depends upon
yourself of ideas retention into the soul
perhaps ripples through leroi
into the irony into delicious diction
of all talk about a few pleasing lines
about the anonymous backwards
kind of blue about o’hara’s poem
consciously poetical as though one were
writing about art food or never will be
just a finger on a hand fingering about
oneself for the god of godless faith

Wikipedia Poem, No. 404

wiki404-final

“You imagine an alley a little kingdom / where the mother-tongue is spoken / a village of shelters woven / or sewn of hides in a long-ago way” Adrienne Rich from “In The Wake of Home”

after Nancy Bauer, phenomenologist; Amiri Baraka, father; and Nick Montfort, explorer:

people 
    thinking
of the sea from
  
baraka’s trespass 
    what little you can hear 
echoes out from the work 

to lift 
human voices to discover a 
chorus

    adopts the feeling continually breaking silence 
    the landscape in american history
is merely a discussion on traditional numerology

the hills are a start
    out of thought may experience 
    a germination of genre 

    the work 
        we find researched 
    draws pseudo-scientific inference 

it's a living 
out of feeling 
and lyric flight

o that the mathematicians 
were right of brick 
baraka’s trespass you hear echoes of the manuscript 

it is a start 
out of his waves 
be hideous uses 

the term numerology 
is often a native guard 
words names any belief 

in sonnet form
his writing were a start 
    out of the little you 

    experimentary of thought 
    experimentary mutually affectually 
        in numerology and wine and time sweet as 
            your work

Wikipedia Poem, No. 389

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“We never knew closer / sisters, stronger trees, / tighter clans, wilder / fires. Where can we / go if not to each other, / resenting every step?” Brenda Shaughnessy

         taste any justice
         oxygen from water 
then study in         of pain

when and wariness—illustrate the why
situational italics when wise 
rubbed to a head—includes 
experienced painkillers
         focused on what would be a       
reflex animal subject
of frozen birds rattling / in the cold 
inflicted on the what and wariness—illustrates who
         rise for example 

research exceeding response 
rather than responding
         their ways 
         studied   pain   

and profited, biblically, 
acetic acid         of nociceptors 
or behave nervous
         their taxonomic class is neophobic 
meaning those researchers evidence         

whatever sits / counting the minutes 
till you die
who were in pain 
         respond

paculum-spec2-sm

Contains fragments from Amiri Baraka's "The Liar".