Resistance Poetry of the African Revolution

To the readers of The Burning Spear, I had the honor of performing at a “Hands Off Uhuru! Hands Off Africa!” poetry open mic, hosted by the Uhuru Solidarity Movement (USM) in late September 2022.

At this event, I debuted several poems, which I would like to share with you.

These poems infuse the teachings of Chairman Omali Yeshitela and African Internationalism. The first piece is titled “Sugar Scars.”

The inspiration, or should I say historical basis, for this poem comes from the history of the sugar plantations, which were among the most brutal for African people.

This poem explores the irony of this “sweet” substance coming with deadly consequences.

The second poem “White Lies Shattered” was largely inspired by one of our movement’s podcasts, hosted by USM and aired on Black Power 96 Radio. It takes from the analysis that the Chairman provides about the truth of how white people have come into existence.

He teaches that through the violent process of slavery and colonialism, Europeans forged a common identity and social system, which reinforces their place on the backs of African and other colonized people throughout the world.

With the deepening existential crisis of this social system, this truth becomes harder to deny.

The final poem is titled “Bird Song.” I wrote this piece a little while back after being inspired by an African Internationalist summation of the climate crisis.

It was presented during a webinar hosted by the All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project (AAPDEP), and it summed up the climate crisis as a product of colonialism.

It asserted that the African Revolution and the destruction of the blood sucking, colonial-capitalist system are the ultimate solutions to this world issue.

I wanted to personify the environment as taking a stance with the toiling masses of the world, fighting to destroy this system.

I hope you enjoy them.

Freedom in our lifetime! Uhuru!

– Akilé Anai, Editor-in-Chief


Bird Song

An eerie calm
Uneasy quiet
As the scent of
Summer storms
Passes through
Trembling fronds.
Unsettling peace
That sweeps
The streets
With the sun
That slowly creeps
Its head above
The ground
Disgruntled chirps
Become a song
In which the birds
Both marvel and
Despise Nature’s
Disruptive undoing.
She is dressed by
The nests they
Form, and in this
Breeze she
Exhales, relieved.
Forests don’t burn
The ground does not
Quake, even in the
Wake of those
Custodians who
Sing as birds do.
As they go to work
Cleaning the shambles
Of a past
That called for
Something different,
Something new.
It was only
Fourteen hours
Before, where
The sound of screams
Were ear splitting,
And those born of
Courage assumed
Their place at
The front line,
Confronting a
Centuries old beast
So the world
Could know peace.
Rest for the West,
An eternal sleep.
When the world awoke,
A new dawn
Before us,
The Earth,
She hummed
And joined
The chorus.

White Lies Shattered

An ironic phrase we have
come to know,
One I shall rarely use,
“Little white lie”
A small, harmless fabrication
A brief twisting of truth
An excuse that breathes
room
For dishonesty.
When, in fact, the lies of
whiteness
Are both massive and all
consuming
We live within,
The more aptly titled,
“Great white lie.”
The land of which I stand,
Or sit,
To compose this mere
account
Of my frustrations,
I was told,
Had been relieved from red
men,
Too incompetent to know,
How to tend unto it.
John or Christopher,
Blue eyes and thin lipped,
With their dear companion,
Syphilis…
They knew the land better,
So the lie asserts.
This prose I pose
Is uttered in a language
Forced upon me;
I am an orphan in search
Of her mother tongue.
Now see,
This is where the lie gets
Ever more…complicated.
A tale of the tall kind
Taught impressionable
young minds
That cunning, wit and…
Work ethic
Was how one acquires
gold, coltan
And cocoa;
Wealth enough to bleed a
nation
And birth a new one.
So then the barbarity
Of a grisly, ghastly
Starving European,
Desperate enough to boil
shoes
For soup,
Doesn’t cross one’s mind
Nor do the faces of Lugard
or
Leopold, as murderers.
Rapists.
Conquerors and thieves.
The vicious British empire
now
More known for English tea.
You see,
Something isn’t right.
Now the great white lie
Is under severe scrutiny.
The truth hath been revealed,
The lie of white identity;
A perception of self
That so requires
The rest of us to believe.
But with increasing refusal
To accept this lie’s imposition,
The world that exists
Under the white lie’s grip
Favors the reality of those
Who’ve suffered at the
hands
Of its telling.
And the world situation
today…
Is telling!
The truth now becomes
A point of clarity,
Or the basis for
denial.
The latter
A state for anxiety
to breed,
When the great
white lie
Is shattered.

Sugar Scars

There’s sweat on her
brow
But she hasn’t
stopped to swipe
It clean. She sighs in
that
Deep way I know well.
I don’t speak.
Instead, I keep tilling
away at
This blood-soaked
land
Wondering how it still
bears sweet
Fruit.
Her steps are light,
in fact
Though the load she
bears
Is heavy, as she walks
A mile or several
We lose count as
we’re
Called in
Hauling bin after
Bin, her skin is
scorched.
That mahogany hue
Which greets me from
my sleep.
But as we clean the
day off
In winding streams,
Her undertones are
blue.
And her eyes go some
place then,
Where we’ve never
Gone together
It must be sacred,
Safer, there.
I don’t bother asking
To not appear as yet
Another intruder.
Had she the opportunity
To experience even
A second of this life
Going unseen?
‘Cause those men
that sit
Atop their porches
Almost always
Have their eyes
peeled wide.
I used to wonder if
They sleep, but those
were
Thoughts of the naive.
Perhaps I’d hoped,
Because that would
prove
They aren’t like me,
Like man.
They sleep well.
Enough rest to round
us
At the break of
Another sad dawn.
And she is the first
to rise
With that sigh, I know
so well.
She has surrendered
to
A life of plucking
And picking,
And that incenses me,
totally.
We don’t know each
other’s names.
Likely because we’ve
forgotten
Our own, and still
My soul is uneasy
seeing
Her softness turn
hard,
To live this life collecting
Sugar scars.

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