Five Haikus for Malcolm X

Five Haikus for Malcolm X

Let’s talk down to earth 
No celestial problems
Ballots or bullets.

Not scared of bullets
More frightened of the ballot
But no new gun laws

New Legislation
Forty-seven angry states
To limit the vote.

American fear
Shaped like a citizen’s hand
Holding a ballot 

Tell the whole story
No Malcolm X no Martin
The yin and the yang


(By Heidi Lindemann and Michael Perry)

(Photo Credit: Library of Congress / Parris Stancell / Camilo J. Vergara)

Episode XIII: The Ghost of Thurgood Marshall

Episode XIII: The Ghost of Thurgood Marshall

It is a Dark time for the Representative Republic; the Ideal of Democracy is taking body blows world wide.

In North America 
A bright orange alien president with bone spurs 
Who can’t even win the battle of the sexes with his ice queen wife 
Wants to declare himself a wartime president against an invisible enemy Without ever firing an accurate shot.

In Times Square
 A Trump Death Clock has been ERECTED to track the lives lost 
as a result of his IMPOTENCE in dealing with the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Jill Nelson 
A 63 year old grandmother 
Political Activist 
And Rebellious Heart writes
 “Trump equals Plague” in white chalk on a boarded up building 
And is instantly arrested and held.

Unfortunately for her 
She was not an angry White man With a gun in a Michigan Statehouse. 
If she were she just have could just continued on with her day. 

Malcom told us: 
Clear thinking is more dangerous then bullets
And the most dangerous thing in the world is a rebellious person of color that can read.

Dissent from the apathy

Dissent from the fear

Dissent from the hatred and mistrust

We must dissent from the apathy of an America that has buried it head in the sand 
Waiting in vain for the needs of its poor 
It’s elderly
It’s sick
To just disappear and magically blow away
In April, or May or June or July
Or, Until Dolt 45 is re-elected.

I hear the ghost of Thurgood Marshall howling.
His voice is speaking through 
The rhythmic purring of the ventilators and the ECMO machines. 

As a child I asked my Mother why she was forcing me to read his words 
She just said:
“Don’t worry. You’ll definitely need them later.”

“We must dissent from poverty of vision and the absence of moral leadership. We must dissent because America can do better.

Because America has no choice but to do better.“

Will there be an Episode XIV?


(Image Credit: Failure to Listen)

Mae Mallory. I #SayHerName

For all of my sisters involved in the work of organizing for justice and freedom, please, if you would, take a moment to read this as a favor to me because it’s too hard for me to hold alone this morning when I can’t stop thinking about freedom fighter, Mae Mallory, a leader of the Harlem 9, a radical Black organizer who pushed to end unfair conditions in New York’s segregated school, a woman who risked her life and freedom in supporting her friend, Robert F. Williams, leader of the North Carolina NAACP and staunch advocate for armed Black self-defense.

Ms. Mae, present when they executed Minister Malcolm, mentored a woman who would later mentor me, Yuri Kochiyama, and at dinner with my Godmother, Safiya Bandele, this week, she shared that when Ms. Mae was near death she said, “I gonna die a Black woman, fat, alone, unloved and unacknowledged.”

It wasn’t as true as she thought it was, but I know the feeling and I know women who have had this feeling, this sense, that their lives and their work will be unaccounted for, disremembered when not disparaged and dismissed. I see this happen in the work all the time and too often by people who say that they are our comrades in struggle, or in the very least, share our worldview.

This is not the only battle we need to engage, but it is one of the most important: ensuring that those who are doing the work and giving the world everything they have to make it more livable are not dismissed by louder, often snarkier voices. Mae Mallory. I #SayHerName.



(Photo Credit: (Video Credit: Vimeo / Schomburg Center Black Freedom Studies)