For pools of blood
to the harmony of Negro spirituals,
to the honor of being one dark individual....
From the roots of the Kings
to the southern cotton fields
to ones unjustly wronged
and those unreasonably killed
I don't see it all as misery,
so I dedicate this
to My History.
For my pride
to the tales told by Mamie
and the heart to hearts with unknowns
that look like me
as they too
share My History..
From Addie Mae, Cynthia, Denise and Carol
to the Bible and the intellects
the light hasn't been shone upon,
to Edmond Dede's violin
to Richard's monologues
showing us how to talk while having fun -
from Mahalia's most requested
to Dorothy Coates' sincere testifying
and from the bosom of the Mother
to the exhausted slave child badly neglected,
to the turmoil wrapped inside Denzel's glorious crying...
From the misunderstood verses of Pac's best told stories
to the pit of Solomon's wisdom
and acceptance of shiny trophies;
to Nikki G.'s "Seduction" poem
inside her physical portrait,
that should've made every male militant
yearn to gird their loins amongst her
"Ego Trippin', Their May Be A Reason Why",
dressed in her funky afro -
to the Nina that made me unashamed
to feel "Young, Gifted and Black"
to Donny's open faced gold,
along with auntie Val's smile
to show me that's where it's at....
to the drawing of Mansa Musa
to the aspiration of Wilt's 100 feat
to the last resting place of Virgil Ware
to the kinks of Buckwheat's nappy hair
unashamed and dressed in glory,
for they tell me the Perfect One's
is just as wooly as His feet are like brass
to Curtis' storytelling, Superfly!!!,
as I'd know the down to Earth beings
wouldn't mind if I told the whole story.....
to Booker T.'s collegiate sacrifice
to Martin's sermons that coaxed us
everything would be alright,
to Paul Robeson's boom
and Alex Haley's marble topped tomb;
from Tammi's eyelashes aside Marvin's dapper tie
I long for a Dorothy Dandridge faced vixen
to recite "You're All I Need to Get By",
as MTUME's duets cause me to listen......
From the rebellious stare of Frederick Douglas
to the Panthers as well as Nat Turner,
for causing so much raucous.......
from the letters of Soledad
story told by Donald G.,
to the invisible chains that still shackle us all,
and for those who dared to be free!!!
For my great-great Indian grandfather's terrible trek
for the nooses that claimed lives
thru the snapping of necks,
for the vision of Oscar Micheaux
that made me realize I can make a story too,
for Spike's magnificent screening
to Taraji's lustful screaming -
for the photogenic eye of James Van Der Zee's
to John H. Griffin's journey to witness
what it's like to be Black Like Me........
for Gwendolyn's "We Real Cool"
to Jelly Roll's fingers
to those that hosed them children down,
to the ones who don't realize
hating who you are is apart of being a fool,
to the origin of the phrase
"The Blacker the Berry, the Sweeter the Juice",
sometimes I wonder was it apart
of some plantation owner's humor;
to the bitter jokes of traveling black families
passing deep and wide rivers of the south
grimly laughing at the out-loud spoken thought,
"I wonder how many of us are at the bottom"?
For My History could range
from the Ink Spots to the Tempts to New Edition,
for the afros to the Murray's pomaded waves to the dreads
as well as the many things
that twirl around in my head.........
For the Buffalo Soldier's uniforms
to Isaac Hayes' chain linked chest
to the Jackson Five's costumed vests
for My History could be tougher than leather
with bull-whipped scars,
leather jackets, Fedoras and laceless Adidas..........
For My History could rest in the pages of Herbert's "Corner Boy"
or either his story of Raymond Douglas,
for it's the two-thousands
and some are still walking on eggshells,
for my history could be wrapped inside a hidden note of Miles' solos
bold as Josephine's bare chest
to her unashamed toes...........
could fly like Bessie's plane,
something like George and his P-Funk thang,
as my history rests on the lines
of Paul Laurence's "Haunted Oak"
as the same resides on the waves of Otis' dock;
from Blue Howard's alibi to White Folks' story,
it rests within Iceberg Slim's golden watch,
as it resides on my Grandfather's hairline
to James Weldon's "Lift Every Voice"
to Augusta's sculpture commemorating the title all in the same -
from ancestor's thoughts
that have trickled down thru the timeline to torture my brain.
My History stands strong.
My History has been long..
From A Change gonna come,
to the humming of Toussaint L'Overture's horse
like the eye shadow of my lady's deep brown eyes,
to Mama's hair, fine and coarse
to uncle's chastising 'til he's all hoarse...
My history is deeper than grandma Janie's quilts,
for it's on their shoulders
that my history was able to stay true to it's color,
never forgetting how it was built.