Embouchure for James Comey

Wikipedia Poem, No. 829

embouchure-sm

They murder
	to Explain
		Themselves!
— Amiri Baraka
our  good sense to  have the  leadership class 
in  profoundly uncomfortable  ways the fbi  
despite being   the same embarrassions 

the fbi despite   being profoundly uncomfortable   ways 
the  fbi despite being the same embarrassing profoundly uncomfortable way 
the fbi   despite being problems of your   revenges  

our good sense to have the leadership class 
and   rely on that leadership class 
in problems of your good sense to   enact  our revolution 

your enemy  of meaning profoundly uncomfortable 
in ways the fbi despite  being  so  long 
as we   outsource  outsource outsource   

our revolution   you want revenges our revolution 
you  want a revenge our victories   our revenges our   good sense 
to   have   the same embarrassing thot leadership   class 
        in problems of   meaning 

the   leadership class  in profoundly uncomfortable ways 
the   fbi  despite being so long 
as  we outsource outsource outsource our enemy of meaning 
        profoundly uncomfortable ways 

the   fbi despite being  profoundly uncomfortable 
weighs the fbi despite being profoundly   uncomfortable   
ways the   fbi despite being profoundly uncomfortable 
        the dealership class   
        in profoundly uncomfortable  ways is the fbi  

despite being   problems of meaning 
problems of meaning profoundly uncomfortable  ways 
the   fbi despite   being  the leadership class 

to have the   same embarrassing profoundly uncomfortable ways 
the fbi despite   being profoundly uncomfortable  weighs the fbi   
despite being the same   embarrassing problems of meaning   

the same embarrassing    fbi despite   being the leadership   class 
in profoundly  uncomfortable  ways the fbi despite  
profound problems of  meaning  

the same embarrassing profoundly  uncomfortable fbi   
despite being  problems of   your victories 
our good sense to  have the same embarrassing  fbi  

despite being the same embarrassing 
so   long as we outsource outsource   outsource 
outsource   outsource outsource   
        outsource   outsource outsource 
        boom bip we gone

Amplify: Something in the Way: A discussion of Amiri Baraka’s ‘Something in the Way of Things (In Town)’

*UPDATE: Now with video!*

 

amplify

Knows me? You knows Amiri Baraka is the grounding voice. Fascination. inspiration. Baraka’s work shows the way forward—we so often lose the way. Freedom.

“The real problem is you don’t know the real problem.” Remind us: Keep peeled.

A great podcast was released sometime: William J. Harris, Tyrone Williams, and Aldon Nielsen join Al Filreis (always generous) to discuss Baraka’s “Something in the Way of Things.”

I’m delighted Filreis chose to play the version of the poem from the Roots’ 2002 album “Phrenology”. The album—I bought it from the Staten Island Mall on day one—was essential in showing this young introverted weirdo that his suspicions about people being easily defined was specious—contrary to everything my small island peers had suggested. Punk. Rap. Poetry. R&B. Soul. Sound collage. Techno. Profoundly compelling instrumentation. Music as preparation. As runway.

Hard to conceive I first heard Amiri Baraka’s words 16 years ago.

Anyway, the podcast discussion is accessible and criminally brief.

After I listened to it, I was sent back to my bookshelves to hunt down a collection of Baraka’s work from 2014—the year he died—SOS.  The hardcover version of the work collects some of the poet’s final poems. That’s how I’ll be spending my night.

I had to share it with all of you in hopes you might share it as well. Be well.

spacer1

For further study:

‘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.

spacer1

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

Processed with VSCO with acg preset

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

spacer1

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

x-default

“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

spacer1

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