#youwillnotkillmetoday (NPM2017 20)


death will come
on the day it wants
dressed as it pleases
at the time he chooses
death will come
of that there is little doubt
how it will be received
is the matter here
with ignorance
because you hate me
because of my melanin
because I long to be free
because I demand equality
there are traps by my
front door
armed guards at the
back of my mind
least you try to
slip in with me
unaware today
is not your day
if old age comes
soft to drape me
in forever I will
graciously away
but today is not that day
miles to travel
more forward to draw
from the mud
more errands for my ancestors
more clever cartography
more dancing tomorrow
from fractured todays’
and hard lived yesterdays
I have grown tough skin
over my hope
I water it with pragmatism
I am vigilant and will
not be set upon unaware
I anticipate you in my dreams
and have drawn a circle in
salt around your intentions
wrapped a prayer in white
cloth delivered it to a tree
that knows your name
I have talked to the dust
& the wind about you
and they whisper my name
before yours as life naturally
proceeds death
I am the promise risen
from the ocean
I am what grows outside
the fences you build
the rising whine at
the back of your worried
fretful mind (yes
the other shoe will drop)
bells are for tolling
as each dog has a sun
rise suns set on all houses
this is not your day
today I walk upright unafraid
continuing to dance on oppression
drumming for justice
walking against the wind
up every hill since  the good ship jesus & plymouth rock
I am the sword and the stone
carrying darkness like a banner inviting creation

I am

my machetes are sharp

my powder is dry

I have left yucca for

the left-handed child

iron in my

right pocket honey

in my hand


I have banished you from

the land of my dreams

I want not I suffer not

I am the living circle



image: by Jimmy Nelson

Posted in (NPM2017), Black Arts, North American African Perspective, right handed poems | Tagged , | 2 Comments

1 if by faith (NPM 2017 19)



1 if by faith

lined up

next to none

talking about

chances found

rolling down

hill looking

for a way up

out of no way

1 if by faith

best intentions with

the devil over your shoulder

young bucks pray to get older

grannies pray they come home

mama’s pray when they gone

devils prey on & on


living just holding on

dodging ducking left with


the system each other

anything trying cast a shadow

over the shine burning inside

trying to manifest

trying to live long enough to

be blessed confessing

to any means

with the devil

over your shoulder

held by the prayers

of others fully strapped

into the mission of

rising your bootstraps in

your hands can’t be soft

rather be a dead man

loaded fully intending

to hit the mark

even if the target

moves hidden in

the dark lion heart

blessed with more

than common sense

winning is in him

he intuits it

back bent into it

1 if by faith

held by invisible godz

bucking the odds

playing with mediocre cards

still shining even

in a crooked house

still writing the music

hypocrites and their

children dance to with

cotton on their breath

still breaking lynch steps

holding on to the last

dream left forward because

they built a fence on the

hill you came up you too

tall to go back you

were little when you walked

under the bridge

between could have been

and what you built

no way back only forward

motion spoken here

life is movement

movement is life

1 if by faith

the table’s set

refusing to be late

gotta collect a debt

1 if by faith

lined up

next to none

talking about

chances found

rolling down

hill looking

for a way up

out of no way

always on the 1

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At the Berkeley Flea (NPM 2017 18)


hot afternoon  in late august

or sometimes in early

October in Berkeley

the trees are few

the heat radiates up

off the asphalt in ripples

like long grass on an africkan

savannah far away in my memory

the drummers drum

some ancient melody

scribed in their blood

by ancient rhythm older than

the city they drum in

some in the raiment of their ancestors

others dress in the robes of their new tribes

we come to see and be seen

we come to buy and to sell

come to haggle and present the

old along side the new

the worthless and the priceless

side by side like some ancient market

in some other time

sometimes dancers dance

or poets recite and we are in

congo square far away

laying down burdens

rearranging rhythms

and  reaching for something

living just under our surfaces

we circle seeing what we have seen before

paying attention or ignoring as our needs dictate

we eat platters of fruit

and sample scented oil

pay too little

pay too much

barter and trade

recreate worth

continue tradition

create our own legend

on long sunday afternoons

in earliest october

or sometimes late august at

the berkeley flea


Poem from: The BlackStar Liner Anthology by A. Nzinga

Found Images of Berkley Flea Market

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in the land of skinny godz (NPM2017 17 )


In the land of skinny godz

there is famine and want

the people wander

eyes closed


afraid of punishment

they tow the line

ignore the crimes

stand in the lines

pray for better times

but skinny godz don’t


they don’t answer

blood dripping from their

eyes hands in

their pants caught

at the crossroads

of meaning and power

they don’t want you to

see them naked

lying and stealing

legs spread

syphilitic infected with


trying to assassinate

a paradigm shift

rewarding those who follow

targeting those who drift to the left

or live and die to do right


drink dirt  call it water

fouling the natural order

skinny godz

made of plastic  napalm dangling

from chains of depleted uranium

burning the necks of the desperate

guilt nesting in their craniums

like ruthless roof wrens

with no faith in their fate

no trust in the work of their hands

over standing their lack of innocence

sure they have sinned

in deed & by omission

in the land of skinny godz

no revelation without permission

and or prescription

the money is in the nurturing

of your condition

no cures no miracles

just tithes & gifts

no miracles no cures

better comes after this

more tithes more gifts

live on your knees

eyes towards heaven

remember only the

gifts & tithes

to a broke ass

skinny god who

has an accountant

counting on what

you can bring him

to manifest manna

for a constant hunger

while the people wander

in famine suffering want

bathing in the dirt

dreaming of  water

eyes closed


afraid of punishment

towing the line

ignoring crimes

standing in lines prostrate

praying for better times

skinny godz

don’t hear they

don’t answer

blood dripping from their


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bag life (NPM2017 16)



what do homeless people carry in their bags

the bags in carts on bikes over weary shoulders

the bags that mark them as without

outside unhoused wanders carrying

their lives in bags

do they carry their important papers

do they carry the warmer sweater

when the sun is beating down

but the promise of winter is

one that is always kept

do they carry

the last scraps of their

membership in society captialist

or maybe their Sunday best in hopes

on needing to be dressed up

ready to become one of

those inside whose lives

are not confined to bags

rather they are free to

consume more than they need

stepping over the unwashed

on their way to inside

do the homeless

carry their last Christmas

warm with family

looking at another year

together once upon a time

do they carry the what if’s

and why me’s or were they left

behind with changes of shoes

clean underwear and warm beds

do they carry mementoes of a life

without so much baggage

what do homeless people carry in the bags

do they carry their dreams shattered

and broken down so they fit

inside black plastic stack

neatly in dirty bins

beside tents under

freeway overpasses as passers-by

pass by on their way

to their cozy inside

spaces far away

from bag life

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Brick House Women (NPM2017 15)


brick house women

don’t dream God they

dream of the ocean

walking on water

through fire

of rising

like mist over rivers

overcoming with the sunrise

standing up when the sun sets

when they dream of

falling they then dream

flying  without wings

they dream

solutions miracles

with eyes open

pray with

hands moving

only go forward

brick house women


cracks in the wall

water rising

sky falling

the world on fire

they endure

like music

like the smell

of dirt after rain

like flowers

in the desert

they are the foundation

on which we

build brick houses

standing after storm

last house on the block

make you wanna

hollar in between

trying to make life

brick house

built on rocky ground

still standing

brick house women


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discontinued (NPM2017 14)



dispossessed in america

a discontinued import

left on the shelf

shuffled and warehoused

placeholders redlined into

neighborhoods they will build

in like worker ants creating

everything from black market

to co-op economics

that will be contained

bombed burned envied feared

fenced in by freeways torn down

in urban renewal polluted across

railroad tracks poorly lit

infested with poverty persistently

bound bordered berated plotted

against in quiet rooms that

reek of cotton and confusion

about what to do with what

grew from ocean rides & how

to keep the seeds unbalanced

discovering new ways to stop

their indefatigable  resilience

their ocean waveness their

growing strong in stromness

their eye on the horizon

expecting the arrival of the prizeness

without reason for hope

that you can see out loud

buried deep in blood lines

crossing continents

remaining unbroken

refusing to be undone growing

towards the sun

in harmony with invisible

music godz handz must

surley be at work here

even a blind man can see that



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in praise of memory(NPM2017 13)


i remember to remember

i remember born knowing

i remember knowing

before knowing

i remember

sankofa bird on my doorstep

singing the ocean for me

every step i take

every breath i take

wind and dirt instruct me

i remember the language

it is the language of creation

it is my first language

i remember to know i know

the dead refuse to let me forget

my gifts are their presence

in the present flowing freely

whirling in the whirlwind

making a path for i in the storm

creating vision in the valley of

the blind  so space may

be cleared for

the lame to dance the invisible

to be made visible

i remember the reason

for the rhymes the ways

the means out of no way

without means i count

abundance in the valley of

shadow gifted overflowing

prosperity all that’s required

of me is stay the path

remember to remember

chart the way

tell the story

trust in the godz

but tie your camel

keep your powder dry

your machetes sharp

hands open

like heart open

one direction


i remember

to bide time

to bank fire

to stoke embers

to cut cleanly

to bleed for myself

that i was born

with dignity & everything

that my path is cleared

that i am blessed

not with perfection

but potential overflowing

running over cups full

no empty plates

praying with hands moving

manifesting what’s

been promised at the

end of the day full of

honest labor unafraid of

work i am rewarded

i manifest

clearing roads

like they were cleared for me

i remember to remember

to burn brightly

uphill is a direction

i am here til it’s done

i got instructions

i been here before

that’s why it looks easy

but it took generations

to stand in self again

seeing clearly the way

the roads been barred

how to jump the hurdles

how to say the truth

& maybe live to see the

sun rise knowing is not

just the destination it is

also the journey there

is a duty to life

you owe it living

you owe it memory

forgetting is a drug

enjoyed by those who

refuse to see the paint

does not go up to the ceiling

the emperor is naked

the deadly effects of

invisible nooses over

hidden pits

the smell

of cotton laced with a taste

for sugar wafting in the wake

of chasing the empty

things destined for landfills

amnesisa is not on the menu

for those anchored to north

stars and dreams of movement

much older than locomotives

not the place of those

in brick houses

with Calalilies growing in

the yard filled with

the smell of fried chicken


hope and fresh fruit

both kept in

brown bags




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dream still (NPM2017 12)

ayo sage .JPG

I still dream

flying free

I dream the rising

after free-falling


after the ocean

after seasoned

breaking shattered

into a million pieces

blown like dry

thistle into the whirlwind

circling reality not

able to land no

resting place the purge

after the hunger

after the trees grew flesh

silent scream after silent scream

I still dream


in the deep stillness

between breaths

coalesced of what’s left

the indelible

the unforgettable

little more than the

sound of the wind

though blood soaked leaves

fed on dreams of dead people

unfulfilled prophecy

unspent potential

wounded but unbroken

I still dream


I still dream

flying free

I dream the rising

after free-falling


holding my breath

hands moving

praying to pass over

answering the call

serving a higher purpose

seeking grace in battle

firmly on the path

machetes sharp

eyes open unafraid

knowing it’s always a good day

to be free seeking the sun

into the storm intrepid

I still dream


of even ground

tall children who are dreamers

born of dreams free

wild like a forest

filled with forever love

of life overflowing with

abundance growing straight

not bent nor broken whole

uncaged not scarred never bound

promise whispering in

every breath eyes

open tomorrow promised

I still dream


I still dream

flying free

I dream the rising

after free-falling





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neither wolf nor sheep (NPM2017 11 )

wolf in sheep clothing

prophets are often thrown into the lion’s den

not knowing true lions are friends

to guerilla’s in your midst

seeking higher paths

upholding righteousness

invested in the movement

of the pendulum

that signifies the moral arc

go ask Daniel

go ask WolfHawkJaguar

come ask me

King said he believed the arc

leaned towards good

then they murdered King

Before Robert Chrisman died

he said the arc is always

moving tugged one way

then another

I have said it’s direction

depends on the works of human

hands those willing to

see and out

naked emperors

wolves in sheep’s clothing

pimps and polytrixsters

lined up to bleed the sheep

the arc and its direction

an eternal battle ground

where potential wages war

with what is

what has been

carving room for what needs

to be those who would birth

paradigms must resist

being wolf or sheep

you will be known by the works

of your hands idle hands will

be judged by the reality they

allow to be created

we are all there is

we are the pendulum

the wind it makes when it

swings and the dull sound

it clamors in cacophony

when it lands

like a lead dime on now

walking the road

after King

after Chrisman

after Malcolm

I am pragmatically optimistic

like Cornell West

I aspire to be a Shepard

a freedom fighter like Robeson

a clear light like Belafonte

a gift to struggle like Glover

neither wolf

nor sheep

a voice clearly heard by both

a clarion calling hands

to the work of moving

the pendulum

neither wolf nor sheep

walking forward

awake in the eye

of the storm

standing on yesterday

holding court for tomorrow

invoking with the constant

prayer of moving hands

a birth place for a new paradigm





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