Remember Attica

by ernie barnes

Attica in 71
a hole
in the fabric
of humanity.

But strong truths hang
in threads of determination
woven like papyrus
scribed on in the blood
of 39 victims of Amerikka.
The truth lived
left to
starve and die as the
“get yo news”
“get cha news”

Printed fantasy
in the blood of victims
third class citizens.
Employees and prisoners
automatically eradicated w/
12 gauge shotguns.

Poor GB Smith survived
watching niggers
for the government
to realize he wasn’t
one on the goodguys.
No plan for rescue
ain’t nobody coming for you.
It ain’t friendly fire
your side shoots you.

Ask Mike Smith
he still got his balls,
(even tho they claimed
Big Black cut em off &
stuffed em in his mouth),
“get yo news”
“get cha news”
from Mike Smith.
He’ll tell ya bout the lies
on the telly
survived after taking
four in the belly
from the good fellas
(the prisoners were the bad guys?).
Just one shout safe
from one thru the dome
he took 96.00 bucks a week
and went home.
At least his wife wasn’t a widow
like some left bereft to fend for self.
More victims of the government.
Could any other employer
shoot at and murder
its employees?
Only if ya name is Sam.

Attica in 71
is a note from the government
read it with a cheese sandwich to put ya in
the right frame of mind
at this flash point in time
if you remember
you won’t forget.

Big Black remembered for over 20 years.
The warden said Big Black was
the blackest man he had ever seen,
Attica made him blacker.

Consciousness found him in a vacuum.
Consciousness grown since the day of the
death of George Jackson.
This hustler since 13
stick up boy
got thrust into a dream
(Big Black,
you excelled).

When freedom called
he remembered he was a man
he joined those who refused
to be driven like animals
by beast.

One day the sun hung over
Attica for 5 days
until Rockefeller put down
the plantation uprising killing
overseers and slaves
striding into the vice Presidency
Oh say can you see the color
they bleed?

Not if you bulldoze a crime scene
turn a killing floor into a hole
then you can forget a day when
justice took a vacation.

In 71 down in Attica
the pain was real
on the block or in the hold
blue steel cage body & soul.
No rehabilitation
bizarre inhumane experimentation,
tight pack without a ship,
slavery and bitter pills,
work ya till ya ill
if you complain;
you a nigger they kill.

But the brothers stopped
time in Attica
Black, White and Puerto Rican
all stood up
brothers mothered by Attica,
their connection ‘common cause,’
of the mutual misery.

45,000 rounds & 39 corpses later
(some soldiers rize no mo)
tryin to make Rockefeller
untouchable you fucked
up a cover up.

Pictures before and after
planted evidence revealed
nakedly corrupt,
but the butcher walked into
Babylon’s bosom untouched.
GB ya better believe
you weren’t one of the
good guys.

America murdering Americans
wouldn’t, couldn’t,
Shit, it ain’t no new news,
Get yo news from the Japanese.
Get you news from black Wall Street,
any black street.
Get ya news from Rosewood.

Get you news from the cane fields
as told to Bush by Noriega.
One million, for whose head?
Get you news in drug labs while
Bush Sr. cooks
Osama got a finger
on the scale
Get cha news
Get cha news
from Rodney King
wasn’t he terrorized?

Y’all found away to get along then
get along now
while I get my news
from the Diallo times
got a story bout Idris Stelly
told in 20 sequels
each with bullet point text.

From Hunters Point to New York,
I get my news,
I get my news.

Get yo news.

I look back on Attica
& remember to remember.

I am the captive seed
barred from the table
scrapin for crumbs
treated like scum
Ya ain’t never had love
just use for me.
I’ll never forget ya infamy
I don’t search far for enemies
Do you well to reparate me
let me live
cease to hate me
don’t continue to abase me
I ain’t cannon fodder.

I am Big Black’s bomb
ticking still
from the hold of the ship,
down the muddy Mississippi,
round Angola from the cane
& cotton field,
up North in the kitchen and in the factories,
thru your wars on US streets with
dogs at my throat
on hot southern pavement burnin my forehead
your boots in my back:
caught in the bowels of this country
straight constipated with need
in the holding pen again.

Quentin, Riker’s,Vacaville, Pelly Bay
the one by the river, the old one, the one they built
today, yesterday and tomorrow and like a
sleepless specter haunting the ground round Attica
more lethal than ever
pressed down
shaken up
to over flowing:
Big Blacks Bomb
still ticking bizzy
sharpening swords for the
balls of madmen.

“I am a human being,
I am not an animal,
I will not be driven by beast”
I got my news.

Remember Attica

–From The LiteBread Bluz Anthology, by A. Nzinga

Painting by Ernie Barnes

About Ayodele Nzinga, MFA, PhD

I create; therefore I am.
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