1 if by faith (NPM 2017 19)

 

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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

sometimes

living just holding on

dodging ducking left with

bucking

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)

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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

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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 )

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In the land of skinny godz

there is famine and want

the people wander

eyes closed

voiceless

afraid of punishment

they tow the line

ignore the crimes

stand in the lines

pray for better times

but skinny godz don’t

hear

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

polytics

trying to assassinate

a paradigm shift

rewarding those who follow

targeting those who drift to the left

or live and die to do right

proclaiming

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 tides more gifts

live on your knees

eyes towards heaven

remember only the

gifts & tides

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

voiceless

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

eyes

 

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bag life (NPM2017 16)

 

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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)

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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

endure

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

endure

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discontinued (NPM2017 14)

 

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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)

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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

forward

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

harboring

hope and fresh fruit

both kept in

brown bags

 

 

 

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