Sankofa: In Memory of Gil Scott Heron Now Eight Years Gone

Winter in America

Sankofa: In Memory of Gil Scott Heron Now Eight Years Gone

Warn me to battle not monsters, Gil
You gazed into the Abyss
And now you have become it.

I see you shining as I gaze at the Abyss also gazing

And trying not to become what I see.

Your body was dust and into dust it has returned.

Now I can hear the stones singing
Whenever I put my ear to the ground.

Songs of revelation and revolution
Rebirth and regeneration
I too am dust
Your poetry breathing life into me.

Earth

A million people in the streets of Hong Kong hear your songs
Umbrellas and heart
Verses bear spray and ballistic shields
Rubber bullets
And heavy riot sticks
For now their government listens
I mean
Could a million Chinese be wrong?

Trans activists reading the names of the fallen of their community
Telling their stories of hidden violence
Hear your songs.

Strike a pose for the Latinx who died on Rikers Island
Because she couldn’t raise $500 in bail money for a misdemeanor.
Her kindred also found dead on the streets of Texas
And beheaded on courthouse steps in Mexico.

Choiceless families of choice, don’t forget them after Pride month.

Speak no evil?

Larry Kramer already told us that silence equals death
Don’t forget how to act up.

It is good to go back to get what has been forgotten.

Names of kindred on heart shaped Stones
Left on Potter’s Field on a New York island
Or sewn on blankets presented on the National Mall
Now archived in Smithsonian Museums.

Remember the names
The stones
The blankets
And, most importantly the people.

Angry protestors in Tennessee hear your songs
The heads of 24 policemen provided the percussion section
Another officer involved shooting.

Let the earth be my weapon before it becomes my womb
Let me be judged by twelve
Before I am carried out by six.

Water

Thirsty people seeking asylum hear your songs
So do the the Samaritans on trial for leaving them water in the desert
Facing 20 years in prison for acts of federal felony compassion.

For compassion’s sake they chant “No More Death”
A deadlocked jury still can’t decide between the spirit of the law
And the laws letters.

The dying continues:
The body of a six year old girl from India is found in the desert.

How did she get there?

And, who have we become?

Japanese Americans say history is repeating itself.
Interment camps reopening
With the same justification
National insecurity.

Mr. Sulu, we are still a long way from the Starship Enterprise
Our four-year mission is just to get an Orange Man’s foot
Out of America’s assAnd to boldly get back to
Where we were before.

It wasn’t good; but it was better
And better is good
Shout out Barack Obama
I understand you better now.

“Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you got‘
Til it’s gone.”

To those out there who still know how to throw a rock,
Light a fire
And make a gas mask out of
A wet handkerchief and human saliva I say:

Teach the children
They won’t find these skills on YouTube
Or Instagram.

Presenté, keepers of our memories.

Can you dust off your light sabers one more time
In this inelegant age of random blasters?
As the dying continues.

See no evil

Laura Engram defending white nationalisst on Fox News
While American war criminals are considered for presidential pardons.

But no one yet found guilty of polluting the drinking water in Flint Michigan.No one guilty of the deaths in our border prison camps.

5200 ICE detainees are quarantined with suspected cases of Mumps and Chicken Pox

The Hieleras becoming hot zones.

Fire

And just who blew up the oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman anyway?
Are we being prepared for an October surprise in June?

Who will harvest that bitter fruit come September?

Men set themselves on fire in Washington D.C.
And I think of Buddhist Monks in Vietnam in 1963
And lately Monks and nuns witnessing for Tibet
Middle Path adherents taking the belief in the impermanent
To an extreme
You only get to do that once!
Burn baby burn.

Air

I hold up this candle next to your sun, Gil.
All of the songs you sang still work.
Which means how we are living here in America doesn’t.

Justice is blind still holding the scales of Libra.
But she is standing on an inclined plane
The pan that represents me and mine
Always the lighter of the two.

Once the question was:
Are there two separate and unequal justice systems in America?

Now the question is:
How many unequal Justice systems does America have?

Or, Is that just me being optimistic?

Avoiding the question
Is there a justice system at all?

Pardon my chagrin
Pardon my skepticism
Pardon me while I have to explain to young black men
That there is no pardon for playing with toy guns in a city parks.

Or selling loose cigarette to make ends meet.

Pardon me while I tell women that rape can be used as a tool of war Without an international outcry.

Or if I say Excusez-moi — will you think me more educated and therefore less of a target?

Na!

Camo-hiding Huxtable affectations do not work better then
A Kevlar vest
A helmet
And a good gas mask.
You could ask Sandra Bland
I mean, if she were alive.

Pardon me when I question that our answer to gun violenceis not reporting the shooter’s name on the news.

Hear no evil.

Pardon me when no matter how hard we try to prevent copy cat killings The killing continues.

I guess the non-copy cats must think they have come up with an amazingly original idea!

Pardon my invective.

Pardon my anger.

And pardon me for taking a bite out of you, Gil
To write this poem
There are no new ideas
Just ideas that are well stolen
From the past that is prologue.

Or, call it Sankofa looking back as I fly forward through time.

I feel so lost.

I’m just reaching back to help me on my journey forward.

May justice stand on a firm foundation.

May there be a level playing field to calibrate the scales of justice.

Take your thumb off of the scales
And keep your foot off of the earth’s neck
So we can all breathe again.

Hear no evil.

Why do I forget what I should remember
And remember what I should forget?

Hermann Hesse said that if I listened to the blending of all the outcries
I would hear OM the word of words.

I’m not that good yet.

But I can still hear you, Gil
In the rocks and stones and from the Abyss.
When I put my ear to the ground.

(Image Credit 1: OkayPlayer) (Image Credit 2: Berea College)

Goddess Kaddish: dedicated to Greta Thunberg a faithful Kaddishim

Goddess Kaddish: dedicated to Greta Thunberg a faithful Kaddishim

I can hear my mother call; can you hear your mother call?
The Mothers who have chosen to give birth
And The Mothers who have chosen not to

Can we let our Mothers choose 
While also choosing our Mothers?

Fetal heartbeat laws
Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, and Louisiana
Restrictive American meccas 
Using 21st century trick-nology to make medieval decisions.

The heartless say they hear a heartbeat
Could the Religious Right
Be religiously wrong?

Macrocosmic microcosmic contradictions
We use laws to remove choice from Mothers
While refusing to enact laws to protect Mother Earth 

Leave the seamless webs to Mother Ariadne
Because when we weave
our webs are frayed 
And misshapen 

And Mother knows best

To She whose name means: 
The Mother of all Living
Who continues to get a bad rap

To the serpent encircling the egg of creation who waits patiently for our realization.

ॐसंसरस्वत्यैनमः॥
Auṃ saṃ Sarasvatyai namaḥ॥
Hail to Thee oh Source of all Wisdom

May Her great Name grow exalted and sanctified

ॐशान्ति: शान्ति: शान्ति:॥
Oṃ śhāntiḥ śhāntiḥ śhāntiḥ॥
Amen Peace, Peace, Peace

In the world that She created as She willed
May Her sovereignty prevail in your lifetimes and in your days, 
And in the lifetimes of the entire world family
Swiftly and soon. 
Now say: 

ॐशान्ति: शान्ति: शान्ति:॥
Oṃ śhāntiḥ śhāntiḥ śhāntiḥ
Amen Peace, Peace, Peace

May her Names be blessed forever and ever

I can hear my mother call; can you hear your mother call?

But no science applying to Mother Earth.
Why listen to climate science when you can just guess?

Black milk from the breast of mother earth 
 she nurses us patiently
But will we ever be weaned?

To Greta Thunberg who sees her long body already perceiving herself
As mother 
As crone 
As ancestor

Sixteen year old Tetragrammaton 
She is three in one and one in three 
And speaks as the mystical fourth
Obsessively and compulsively seeing the world in Black and White
So that it may stay forever Green

The celebration of the earth needs more then a single day
One million species at risk of extinction in the next twenty years

The greatest threat to biodiversity

U.S.

(We see you, Monsanto) 

Can we collectively reassemble this shattered vessel while there is still time

tikkun olam:
Goddess will only come to earth when she is no longer needed.

All poets have selective mutism and speak only when necessary
And this is one of those times
Oh sing, Greta 
Sing you faithful kaddishim
Your skin, bone, and heretic’s heart be your authority.

ॐश्रींलक्ष्म्यैनामः॥
Auṃ srīṃ Lakṣhmyai namaḥ॥
Hail to Thee Oh Source of all riches

Blessed, praised, glorified, exalted, extolled,
Mighty, upraised, and lauded be the Name The Triple Goddess
Blessed is She.
Beyond any blessing and song, 
Beyond any praise and consolation that are uttered in the world.
Now say:

ॐशान्ति: शान्ति: शान्ति:॥
Oṃ śhāntiḥ śhāntiḥ śhāntiḥ॥
Amen Peace, Peace, Peace

May Her Name be blessed forever and ever

I can hear my mother call; can you hear your mother call?
To the earth mothers through whose hands the Goddess feeds
Can you see her hands in all hands hands?
Making a chapati
Or a flour tortilla
A loaf of bread 
Injera 
Sweet potato flat bread
Or offering fermented cabbage and a single bowl of rice

ॐक्रींकाल्यैनम:॥
Auṃ krīṃ kālyai namaḥ॥
Hail to She who takes away the darkness 

Blessed, praised, glorified, exalted, extolled,
Mighty, upraised, and lauded be the Name 
Of She who governs the fullness of time
Blessed is She
Blessed beyond any blessing and song, 
Beyond any praise and consolation that are uttered in the world. 
Now say: 

ॐशान्ति: शान्ति: शान्ति:॥
Oṃ śhāntiḥ śhāntiḥ śhāntiḥ॥
Amen Peace, Peace, Peace

To the Virgin
To the Naiad 
To the Crone
In her fear inducing 
And beneficent forms
Can you see her vigorously pointing 
Spanking your bare bottom
Or using a shoe like a boomerang

(Boy! I brought you into this world and I can take you out, too)

To the Angels in suffragette white raising the roof in Congress; 
The workers striking and singing Bread and Roses
The burnt wreckage of our lady in Paris 
The Black meteoric stone in Mecca encased in Vaginal shaped silver 
We all come from The Mother and unto Her we shall return

ॐह्रींश्रीं  दुं दुर्गायैनमः॥
Auṃ hrīṃ srīṃ duṃ durgāyai namaḥ॥
Hail to She who is difficult to approach
Grantor of Increase
Who Removes all Difficulties

May there be abundant peace from Heaven 
And life upon us and upon all the world
Now say:

ॐशान्ति: शान्ति: शान्ति:॥
Oṃ śhāntiḥ śhāntiḥ śhāntiḥ॥
Amen Peace, Peace, Peace

I can hear my mother call. Can you hear your mother call?

To the Southern Black Women in a galvanized steel tub
Who laundry danced so that I could fly
Oh mother I would kiss those soapy feet if I could

To the German char woman who could
butcher
cook
and eat 
every single part of a pig
“Brains is good waste not want not”
she would say

Three boxes of detergent in her cupboard at all times 
When one was empty 
Time to buy a replacement box

To Sister mothers who held my hand while mama died
She who habitually stole the last crispy perfect french fry 
From my dinner plate

From womb to tomb
Womb to tomb 
again and again
be they 
Stellar
Aqueous 
Or Earthly dust

We all come from The Mother and unto Her we shall return

She who makes peace in Her heights, may She make peace, 
Upon us and upon all the world
Now say:

ॐशान्ति: शान्ति: शान्ति:॥
Oṃ śhāntiḥ śhāntiḥ śhāntiḥ॥
Amen Peace, Peace, Peace

Mother you are full of grace
And blessed are we the fruit of Your womb
Bless us now and in the hour of our deaths and rebirths

(Photo Credit: Hanna Franzen / Reuters / New Scientist)

The Stephen Miller Bans

Gollum awaits

The Stephen Miller Bans

Once he looked like all of us,
But now?

He won’t let go of his Precious.
And it’s changing him.
Changing US.

Is he just a state of the art special effect that looks so real?
And if so, 
who does motion capture for this balding homunculus?

Straight out of central casting!

What happened Stephen?
Did somebody not give you a birthday present?  

Or 

Maybe the rage comes from being a closet incel

Just because you yell doesn’t make it true.

Surah An-Nās 

Says, “I seek refuge in the Lord of mankind, 

The Sovereign of mankind, 

The God of mankind, 

From the evil of the retreating whisperer, 

who whispers evil into the breasts of mankind, 

from among the jinn and mankind.”

Nobody calls him the space cowboy
Nobody calls him the gangster of love
But some people call him Gollum
For what he clutches 
and just won’t let go of

His boss: Orange Sauron 
Builder of oil pipelines,

Advocate of both “clean coal” 
and Patron Saint of Black Lung 

Denude the National Parks of their trees 
Pardon Domestic White terrorists 
and point Steve Miller at defenseless living beings

The One king to rule them all,
With One party to bind them,
One cage to imprison them all,
And on the border find them.

His eye is upon us.

His Republican Wraith riders of immigration 
hovering over Home Depots and restaurant kitchens
Menacing sanctuary cities 
And churches that give asylum and refuge

If ad hominem is Latin for personal attack
What is Latin for an attack on people in need of honest work
And a social safety net?

Surah Al-Falaq

Says, “I seek refuge in the Lord of daybreak

From the evil of that which He created

And from the evil of darkness when it settles

And from the evil of the blowers in knots

And from the evil of an envier when he envies.”

If the Grand Canyon were the crack of Mount Doom
And America were a ring on my finger,
Could I let Orange Sauron’s twisted minion bite my finger off
To save America’s soul?

Red, White, and Blue

Could I fly like a Spirit let The Eagle carry me?
Feed the children who don’t have enough to eat?
Shoe the children with no shoes on their feet?
House the people living in the street?
Curtail greenhouse gas pollution? 

Or

Would I be overcome by Wraith riders on flying gerrymanders,
Does my vote count even once?
Why is the popular vote and the Electoral College decision a paradox?

Icy blades of voter suppression, 
conservative court nominations,
Orange Man running for reelection
And agenda domination
And the freedom to reproduce applying only to chaos

Will America’s old wounds ever heal?

Roads go ever ever on
Candidates from both parties
Using immigrants as pawns
To find a single nominee.

At the age of thirty-three
Setting America on fire
Lacking personality
Steven Miller you have my ire.

Agitation instead of integration 
Attempting to stem the surge of the global Brown Tsunami  

 Surah Al Ihklās:

Says, “He is Allah,

 One, 

Allah, the Eternal Refuge.

He neither begets nor is born,

Nor is there to Him any equivalent.

News cycle 24/7 365

Facebook status complicated

Can we get our Gollum to fall into the crack of Mount Doom
But first make him let go of his Precious?

‘Cause this time we need to save The Ring
The onus of an epic task 
On the least and the smallest among us.

As time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping into the future.

(Image Credit: Wikipedia)

Don’t Bogart this country!

Don’t Bogart this country!

No more room in the inn?

Conservative Christians know just what Jesus would do,

They just ain’t doin’ it. 

I mean: they just ain’t doin’
What was done for Jesus.

Dorothy Day, and Father Daniel Berrigan we miss you. 
We miss you and so many others.

If I had a hammer.

These angry old men wearing red hats,

and taking blue pills,

 are melting down ploughshares and turning them into guns again.

And they say America is full — there is no more room.

Well — I’ve been to the Dakotas and that’s just bullshit!

Maybe we’ll find room when we can’t get our avocado toast, triple latte, and strawberries.

Ahh, but the strawberries! That’s – that’s when we’ll care.

Persnickety keto and vegan diets will make us care.

Rising price of coffee will make us care.

Lack of avocado will make us care.

Or, we can ask the American in Tampico wearing a white suit:

Say, mister. Will you stake a fellow American to a meal?
Can you help an American down on his luck?

And he says:
Not a South American
Not a Central American
Not an American from Puerto Rico—but I’ll throw them some paper towels
And definitely not an American from Guam — but, they are great for medical experimentation. 

And 
no 
more 
American wannabes. 

America is full.

I mean look: 

When I say “mare nostrum” I mean it’s mare nostrum to over fish or to pollute.

We don’t want to actually feed anybody.

He says all this while pretending to read the poem on the Statue of Liberty,

When actually he’s just peeking up her robes looking for something to grab.

But it’s too high up; and, he’s so lowdown.

Oh, play it again Uncle Sam!

You know what I want to hear,
You played it for her, you can play it for me!
If she can stand it, I can!
Play it!

Sing the third verse, too:

“No refuge could save the hireling and slave
from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

And, offer these Three gifts 

to newborn princesses and princes of peace,

And their queen mothers asking for mercy,

Razor wire, tear gas, and burns.

Armored troops on the boarder attacking children,

Now where did I hear this before?

Stories of insecure kings trying to separate children from their mothers and kill saviors in their cribs.

So many people floating down rivers in reed boats trying to escape,

Where is the merciful Queen who will take them all in and offer them nobility, healthful environment, and education?

And would it be too much to ask for funding for Women Studies Programs, Planned Parenthood, and affordable health care as long as were dreaming here in this nightmare together?

Rise, Dreamers, rise.

And, like Moses, free yourselves and your people. Help them to find their place in this land of promise.

 Resist all of the Charlton Hestons with guns and MAGA hats. 

Some superheroes don’t wear masks, capes, armor, or costumes. 

Some heroes wear hijabs, or used to work in bars for a minimum wage and tips — the true Marvels in D.C.

Brown skinned Saviors, teach us all how to dream again. Help us to hear our own beating hearts 

and the grasshopper at our feet.

This nation of actors:

Acting White House Thief of Staff: Mick Mulvaney,

Acting Ambassador to the Divided Nations: Jonathan Cohen,

Acting Inferior Secretary: David Bernhardt,

Acting Offense Secretary: Patrick Shanahan,

Acting Homeland Insecurity Secretary: Kevin McAleenan,

And, they all have badges,

they all have stinking badges,

They can actually show you their stinking badges!

They just don’t have job security. 

But, some of them have very dubiously obtained security clearances.

To ousted Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen we ask:

 is it true blondes have more fun?

Asked and answered!

All while Dolt 45, the director of this political theater 

is acting like Captain Queeg from The Caine Mutiny

But what America needs is Rick from Casablanca.

What America actually has is Agent Orange walking arm in arm down a runway at Reagan National Airport with Stephen Miller, 

The beginning of a very decisive friendship.

(Photo Credit: NPR / The Kobal Collection)

Neoliberals: stop co-opting our symbols!

Neoliberals: stop co-opting our symbols! 

Next thing you know they will be emulating the Last Poets, the progenitors of Gil Scott Heron. 

The Revolution Will Not Be Broadcast on Social Media; and, will not be represented by yellow stars on the arms of antivaxxers

The revolution will not have very fine people on both sides.

The revolution will not be delivered by Amazon Smile 24 hours later; and, it will not be a part of your monthly cyclic preorder.

The revolution will not be fought on a flat earth; by neonazis with flat tops; while the flat tax is lower on people who own most of America; who came to Washington not to drain the swamp but to infest it.

The revolution will not be broadcast on social media; or underwritten by Sackler family opiate money — because why shake your head when it’s easier to just nod.

The revolution will not be broadcast on social media.

This Is Us, Veep, and Game of Thrones will no longer be so goddamn relevant when the Walking Dead fill the streets covered with mutated childhood diseases Jonas Salk can’t even begin to cure.

The revolution will not be broadcast on social media.

The revolution will not be broadcast 

will not be broadcast 

will not be broadcast 

The revolution might not even happen at all.

(Image Credit: Sound Cloud / Jessy James LaFleur)