Poetry in motion

Below is work by poet Claude McKay who was instrumental in the fight for revolutionary ideas that were being debated and bloomed in what is now known as the Harlem Rennaisance. McKay was from Jamaica but spent most of his life in Harlem. Hopefully we can rejuvinate the fight for ideas within the African Liberation Movement, and revolutionary forces throughout the world. We believe poetry can contribute to the debate.

If we must die
By Claude McKay

If we must die, let it not be like hogs
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
Making their mock at our accursed lot.
If we must die, O let us nobly die,
So that our precious blood may not be shed
In vain; then even the monsters we defy
Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!
O kinsmen we must meet the common foe!
Though far outnumbered let us show us brave,
And for their thousand blows deal one deathblow!
What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we'll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!

Self Affirmation
By E

I am the stuff of legend 
only talked about in the circles of men 
who’ve heard and want to seek me out 
They want to conjure the spirit of this woman 
so they can see what they cannot touch and speak to 
what they cannot feel 
Black voiced and fisted
I am the rebuttal of all of your negative connotations
See I must’ve forgot who I was when I was loving this thing 
But then I had to see what the legends say about 
this woman of intelligence and grace
this woman of beauty and spiritual existence

I, woman, cape fluttering in the wind 
a supernatural being able to capture the criminally inane
rescuing them from their bullshit driven lives,
                                                             Is this legendary being
Its like I am seed that needs water 
Can your knowledge and overstanding be my water 
so that you can see me flower
But maybe that might be too easy a revelation for you
See I almost think I forgot who I was 
but then suddenly it became clear 
and I disappeared and became Legend

By Chioma Oruh

I woke up one day and saw the world around me for what it really is. And now, I know that it took more than one day to create the lie that posed as my reality. The stage was set carefully day after day, decade after decade, century after century…Masking my true identity in the cloth of imperialist hypocrisy. If my mind was right and my life was mine, it would have been easy to find holes in this bloated fantasy but it was never really up to me.  So much was decided before my birth. The chess board was a set up and the team in black skin I was born in moved like a tap dancing, black face get-up.  And those who knew what I now know, and plotted several stick ups, were pushed off the board for interrupting the minstrel show for daring to be real in this cardboard pin up. This is the price to pay for waking up. Yet, the penalty for lethargy is fatality.

I now know that slumber in a battlefield is the worst choice. This offense destabilizes proper defense and one is left…well, defenseless. This tactless strategy is usually encouraged by adequate housing and bread on the table, further inspired by promises of upward mobility — even if you have to step on a few heads for the swift lift it doesn’t matter. As long as the fat get fatter and are generous enough to throw you a bone when over-consumption has reached its peak, psychopathic sycophants wait patiently, ready to erase the truth that the youth of following generations will surely seek.  This is the world I now wake up to.  A world in middle-class limbo with willing eyes shut tight to this lab experiment of impersonators.  A world with fake hair, fake body parts, fake values…this world is very easy to want to die to.

And so I must. To die when already dead is no loss at all.  To live in a free fall on an even plane is no real risk but a statement of true genius. The genius to know that thought is no thought at all as long as it’s connected to fake middle class interests. That degrees and accolades are mere decoration for the manikin posing to be African. That intelligence is a skill, not an agency. That love is an act, not an emotion. This is the genius of the only genius worth having. Death as a recipe for life. This is neither mystical nor biblical, the dialectics are logical. If one lives for the living and dies to the dead (even if the dead is Self) only then is true salvation reached. This is what the Sunday sermon won’t preach but it’s a lesson that must be learned. It is the truth of a generation seeking its mission so as not to betray it.  The reality that change is coming regardless of my ability to conceptualize it. And that even if I tried to believe the lie that demonizes all my real heroic role models and idolizes the evil, spineless lot that graze history books, this will not change the change that comes. It’s in the whirlwinds. It spins to a rhythm that calls One Billion Strong real Africans to rise up and assume their position. It carries within it the hard work of previous generations of freedom fighters who understood more easily what must be woken up.  This is the world I now wake up to. A world in love with real workers, real struggles, real change.

Hey beautiful Black
By Ammirah Khadijah

Hey beautiful black man, come up here, up where? up here where I'm at,where are you? thinking how beautiful you are in your blackness, how colorful you are when we make love, looking into eyes only you and I understand, the White man I'm tired of hearing that shit, all we need is a plan, together we'll make it work, where do I began, there you go what happened to us!

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