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spacer.gif   Quryash Ali Lansana
Posted by : cj on Friday, December 03, 2004 - 09:10 AM
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Poetry:  Click On The Author's Name homemade

i was made in st. stephens church
on choir pews behind an ageless pulpit.
under the almighty eye of mutha,
my cousins and i, led by aunties,
crafted stodgy hymns into poetry
with the love of God and song.

al green coloured saturday's song,
but flickering spirits painted church
sundays in deep human poetry.
our voices reached the oak pulpit,
then the small congregation, while aunties
bonnell and maudell stirred mutha

to rock and hum their gentle music. mutha
raised seven children on gospel song
and hard work. my mama, two uncles, & four aunties
talked with God in a tiny texas church
where an easy-tongued preacher stroked the pulpit,
sharing scripture as hereditary poetry.

between prayers they tilled poetry
with blood and sweat. in the garden, mutha
produced converts from her earthen pulpit:
stubborn tomatoes. melons ripe with tender song.
praising the hallowed floor of this church,
this land that knows my uncles and aunties

by name. led by my soulful aunties,
the family left calvert, texas, to inspire poetry
a little further north. they found a church
home in a place called enid, then sent for mutha.
this tired soil, this birthplace of mama's song
was now a fond rememberance, a lonely pulpit.

the space between preacher and pulpit
remains sacred. one of my aunties
now resides there, naturally. her song
full of light. her love like the poetry
of my sons' laughter. i feel mutha
everywhere. i know she's always church.

kneeling at church, i consider the pulpit,
dream about mutha and cherish my aunties.
a narrow rift divides poetry and song.

*****

our sons

for the seven and eight year old boys wrongly accused in the murder of eleven year old ryan harris

the difference between
the truth and a lie

separates a one inch skull
fracture and a rock
chucked by a seven-year-old.

blue beads grip
his braids, jerking
as he nods in response.

if he grows up
he hopes to join
chicago's finest gang.

they drive fast cars,
carry big guns,
always live on tv.

just a few more questions, ma'am.

the wooden bench
no more comfortable
than it has ever been.

in chicago, justice is
a room with no windows.

her boy, seven, is hungry,
confused. she can feel it
from the muffled hallway.

door cracked. dark
as frantic shadows.
daddy is not allowed

to enter the station.
guards hold back
fire. the englewood moon

a pale, knowing bulb.

the boys, low-rent refugees
from third world corners,
bend, then break: confess

over happy meals. they will be
forgotten like quiet bicycles.

****

all of you

for onan jahleel myles lansana

i study the path of your becoming:

dogon helix & middle
passage. trail of tears.
migration. a minneapolis
hotel room. light in closed
eyes.

you chose us, then hurried
here, all at once. again
we prayed. you withheld
breath. waited to cry

together. in that long moment
we realized our strength:
how much we overcome
to get where we're going.

beautiful one, beautiful one,
welcome.

*****

All poems are from southside rain, copyright 1999, Third World Press


 
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