SECTION THIRTEEN  POETRY PAGE THREE

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COLUMN FIFTY-TWO, OCTOBER 1, 2000
(Copyright © 2000 Al Aronowitz)

(Photo by Myles Aronowitz)

IN OTHER NAMES

(Copyright © 1992 Lamont B. Steptoe)

'Nam
changed my loyalties
from red white and blue
to red black and green from Negro
to Maroon from soldier
to cong these words are not compositions
for English teachers
i am waging war
building bombs in basements
digging punji pits
rigging boobytraps
becoming a crack shot
these words go off in your face
if you are lucky
otherwise
they invade your body
ticking inside 'til 3am
ka-boooooooommmmm ka-boooooooooooommmmmm
ka-boooooooooommmmmmmm
a professor explodes
in his classroom
a student blows up in
his suburban bedroom
these are not nice poems
for status quo lives
fat on the milk of imperialism
these poems kill
stomp
racist energies that infect
the world
i am the worm
in the belly of America
shitting fire
into a polluted bloodstream
when you come for me
i will escape
to the stars
what i have not finished
will be done
in other names  ##  

* * *

FOR GWENDOLYN BROOKS
 
(Copyright © 1980 Lamont B.Steptoe)

Ancient Mother

Nile Woman/Queen Mother

Nubian woman,

You, rule words like

Cleopatra ruled Upper Egypt.

Yours are the eyes that cap

the pyramids,

Yours are the eyes that are the

fulcrum for the universe.

Stolen African Child,

Your screams of anger

And longng for home are

Poetic symphonies that build

Libraries and create villages.

You,snipe from rooftops

with your sentences,

You, plow fields and chop

cotton with your exclamation

points,

You, cook cabbage with your

poetry,

You, slaughter pigs with your poetry,

You, bake fresh bread,

You, pull up greens from city

backyard gardens,

You, play numbers everyday with

your poetry,

You, fill up the house with your

Chitliní smelliní poetry,

You, rub linament on arthritic

joints with your poems,

You, set traps with your words

breaking fat rat necks,

You, hunt down roaches in

tenement kitchens with your rhymes,

You, clean windows, scrub floors,

open doors with your poetry,

You, heal the sick, feed the hungry,

give sight to the blind with your poetry,

You, set chained souls free

and raise the dead,

simply by the things you've said.  ##  

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