High School (and gap year) Poetry (1970-1975)

High School poems  1970-1972

Unnamed

When I was younger than today
(around five years of age, I’d say)
I would recite poetry and bible verses
at Sunday school sponsored talent shows.
The old ladies would say, “Hallelujah!”
“Praise the Lord!” And Christian things like that.
And when I finished, they would ask me
what I wanted to be when I grew up.
I’d tell them, “I want to be a lawyer or a writer.”
Then the ladies would say, “He’s such a sweet child,”
never knowing that even then I understood
that life would be rough, not smooth
as everybody said. So I decided
to give my life to the revolution.

 

To Audrey

I see other girls all the time
But they never affect me one way or the other
I look at them and try to see you
but you never fully appear.
Every night I dream of you.
Throughout the day I think of you.
But the absence of your love
from my heart is all my fault.
I don’t know how to approach you
because I think I may be unworthy.
If only I could rap to you
through the frequency of my heart
I would relay to you a love message
that couldn’t be conceived. (by Venus)

 

Doubleknits

I’d be so cool if only I had a pair
of doubleknit underwear.
I could pimp all day around the town
The brothers would say, “That dude is down.”
The sisters would say, “He is so fine.”
The elders would say, “That boy does shine.”
But underneath their grins they’d frown
and think, “What kind of a stupid clown
does that cool fool think he is
wearing nothing but doubleknit underwear?”


The Revolutionary Cool Collegians (a visit to UVA in the early 70’s)

Yes, this is the dawning of the age of revolution
And all the brothers and sisters are doing their black thing
Everybody’s wearing dashikis and afros
and the baddest ones got the biggest fros.
They are all sporting red, black and green emblems,
not realizing what it means,
just doing it because “It’s so bad, man!”
Trying to adopt a revolutionary consciousness
Digging on Huey Newton and Angela Davis and
Amiri Baraka because what they say sounds
truly together. Quoting Malcolm but never really
believing what he said.
Ignorant to the names of Garvey,
DuBois, Vessey, Fanon, Nkrumah, and Douglass.
“The Black Revolution began in 1965,”
is the number one thought in their minds.
“Ours is the first revolutionary generation,”
is what they believe.
What they don’t understand is that their revolution
was going on before they were born and will not end when
they die because this revolution is an eternal situation.


Unnamed #1

I wish I could write a poem
a bad black poem
that would really infuriate some people
who I really hate
or a poem that would wake up
some due to the facts
of living a life of death while
dreaming of a life after death
(to dream the impossible dream)

But people are tired of reading poems
filled with pessimism
poems filled with hate, poems
filled with truth of this sorry state of things.

So I’ll write about that fine chick
I slow-dragged with last night
and what we did in the bedroom
after the party was over

or about the high I got last night
at Brother Rap’s house –
and all the colors and images I saw
before I killed myself at the end
of the trip

But all this is essentially “the soup can
without the soup”
and a pessimistic outlook is better
than a phony one.

Geometry Class Notes

Oh God! I wish I could take all the circles
out of all the circles
separate all the circles of my being
and discover my true personality

Then I could write my poem
or sing my song
or do my deed
of figure out my geometry correctly

But the circles are so hazy
each one intersects another
and none but one cuts across them all
Here lies the key:

I want to be next to you,
spiritually if not physically
but it seems so impossible
you being such a complex being
and my circles so imperceptive

 

Rhyming lines

I can’t run anymore
I want to lay down and snore
on the soft forest floor
where I slept before
with ma cherie amour
but it is such a chore
to please that whore
she is rotten to the core
and she’s such a bore
I’ll take you there


What Fools These Crackers Be

They always wear thick cowboy boots
of leather or suede or pointed toe
they haven’t yet learned how to dress
They’ve got the rags
they could style hard
in purple knits and overalls
but they don’t know how

They play their noise on tape machines
that “music’ could drive a man insane
but they dig that noise for all it’s worth
which isn’t much
“but it sounds so cool”
that acid rock
that the cavemen knew

A fag sits here in front of me
His wrist is limped, he’s full of glee
But they all act the same, you’ll see
They try to act bad
or they try to act sweet
but when it comes time to TCB
you can count on their retreat.

Escape from SFW

On top of the hill, in front of the gym
the Greensboro Trailways bus warms up
impatiently I sit here, hoping like hell
I’ll be able to finish Gulliver’s Travels
before we get to Danville –

The guy in charge calls out the roll
of the names of the boys who want to go home
but since a few are “en retard”
the bus sits here and warms up more
so I start reading Gwendolyn Brooks –

We are waiting for one stupid boy
who went off looking for his brother
Doesn’t he know his brother left Thursday?
But all prefects are stupid anyway,
especially long-haired Burlingtonians –

We finally leave but I am sleep
and cannot describe the details.


Life for me is lifeless

Life for me is lifeless
all my dreams are nightmares
or frightful premonitions
of my life during the day

Life has become a boring chore
there’s no use in pretending
every morning I long for the night
and every night for the morning

Slavery of my mind and freedom of my body
pain always accompanies pleasure
and hate with love
there’s no end to the circle

Escape is all but impossible
death is never the answer
hell is too hot, heaven is too sweet
and purgatory too monotonous

Poems from North Carolina Governor’s School  1973-1974

Part 1.

Area One –
propaganda about my
special interests
to narrow my mind
to close my eyes
to limit my perspective

Area Two –
to assimilate 20th century ideas
(little do they realize the 20th century is 73 years old)
to replace outmoded values with spanking fresh
20th century ones
(little do they realize the 20th century has only 23 years
until it is outmoded itself)
to integrate Area 1 with Area 3 and
completely blow your mind.

Area Three –
“take a stroll through
your mind,
sometime”
do you believe what you find?
do you find it at all?
do you find any of it?
can you cope with your
giftedness
and
or
your
talentedness?

Part 2.

hypnosis is a state of mind –
as is Governor’s School –
a figment of the imagination
but a pigment of the realization
that everything is relative –
relative to the concrete &
relative to the abstract &
relative to the irrelevant.

The contemporary view of everything
is merely, vaguely, related
to everything’s reality.
the influence of Freud is sharply
detrimental to the social fabric
of society.
His mother didn’t even care.

western philosophy/psychology –
the reasons they season for their deviation
from the right path –
to ease their conscience –
to motivate their evil intentions –
to justify their crimes on humanity.

I dream. is it related to my
subconscious being? Or is it because
I ate too much cauliflower the night
before? Or does cauliflower activate
my deep, dark subconsciousness?

The relevance of Freud is quite relative.

Part 3.

I need another symbol.
Something to reflect my thoughts,
My essence, my being.

Circles are running out,
Getting tired, ruining
My creativity.

Now I am worried.
Everything is converging.
Simultaneously.

I am ambivalent –
Gifted and/or talented.

Part 4. a descriptive analysis (for GAD)

the personification of reality
the embodiment of natural nature
the epitome of truth

an oasis of self in a selfless society
a universal constant in a constantly changing world
a place of refuge in an illusionary universe

predictable, mysterious,
unyielding, compromising,
strong,
weak,
real.


Part 5. For Lynne

The peace be unto you.
An instant friendship.
The Asiatic air
The eastern atmosphere
The mongolian strain
The oriental beauty
First attracted me.

All praise is due to God, Lord of all the Worlds.
For helping us over the rough terrain
In our search for understanding…
For delving into our being
While simultaneously remaining detached…
For showing us our true selves,
Our potential and our imperfections.

God alone is great!
And who is the least among us?
And what constitutes equality
When we are all equally striving
To attain the final, greatest goal?

And guide us into our completion…
And rid us of our disillusionment…
And reveal to us the ultimate truth…

Amen.


Part 6.

Her beauty is her radiance –
Immeasurable,
Exceeding all limits,
Approaching perfection.

The thought of her –
Sweet pleasure to the senses,
Exaltation of the mind,
Ecstasy to the spirit.

“Cherish … connotes
A deep-seated,
Long-lasting,
Often irrational attachment.”

An often irrational attachment –
A bond of understanding,
A union in mentality,
A covenant, everlasting.


Part 7.

insecurity is the order of the day
uncertainty is commonplace
cowardice is not unusual
everyone is fearful, talkative,
active and reactive,
inquisitive and vainly positive,
refusing to acknowledge the negative
even when it is neither derivative nor dependent
but exists necessarily…
a potential renaissance –
smoldering in its own ashes…
committing suicide and self-destruction,
when self-preservation is the
first law of nature…

and what shall we say of nature…
or of sacrifice, or of patience,
or of suffering, or of tribulation,
or of compassion, or of fidelity,
or of righteousness, or of justice…
or of nature…

Part 8.

A number combination
unlocks the secrets
of the mysteries
of the microcosm called mind.

The young man asked,
“is there life after death?”
The middle-aged man replied,
“there is no life after death.”
The elder replied,
“there is no death.”

Shabazz Bakery poems and prayer-songs  1974-1975

Bakery Victory Song

Work on! O laborers of God!
Our goals have already been set,
Our eventual success is assured,
So we have no need for regret,
Since others through faith have endured.

Strive hard, O servants of God!
The mission is a dead land to raise,
And a new world to bring into being.
We must learn to submit and give praise
To the Lord of the Worlds, the All-seeing.

Fight on! O warriors of God!
The battles are bloody and long,
The trials are hard and severe,
So be brave, be steadfast, be strong,
We shall win if we just persevere.

August 1974


Bus Station

Newspapers and M&M’s
Coca-cola and a cigarette
Happiness/sadness
In its purest state –
A devil sitting there
Emotionless, expressionless,
Temporarily permanent

“We remind you that federal regulations permit…”
prostitution…
poverty…
ignorance…
drug addiction…
and every conceivable form of immorality….and
“…cigarette smoking only in the rear of the bus.…”
where black people are still forced to sit,
“…in seats clearly marked
for convenience.”
…now loading at Gate 3…
your schedule for:
Danville…
Lynchburg…
Charlottesville…
Washington…
Freedom?

Dear Mr/Mrs Paternalistic White/Black Supremacist,
how many men/women have you destroyed today
with your lustful liberality
with your calloused conceited charm
with your sinister southern smile,
How many of my people have you destroyed today?
How many have you paralyzed:
from the waist down?
from the neck up?
on either side?
How many have you paralyzed?
Did you reach your quota today?
1974

 

Laundromat at NY and NJ Avenues

dirty puddles of Clorox and
lemon–flavored Fab invade
my nostrils
pollution within
and pollution without.

a child drops her candy
on the filthy, flooded floor
now she is picking it up
and eating it
and gasping for breath
and dying – her bulging
beautiful brown eyes
wondering why

the washers are running over
the dryers don’t work
and the customers are satisfied
because they have nothing

1974


Left home

Left home
In search of knowledge
In search of that missing link
That connects reality with mysticism
And gives one a foundation
From which to understand
The whole as well as the sum of the parts

Conceived in frustration and hopelessness
Born on the verge of a great eruption
Raised in affluence, then poverty
Bred on religious half-truths
and misguided righteousness
Educated by a cruel enemy
I betrayed my teachers and
accepted my own…

1974

Prayer Song for Charlotte (1) – You Have Become the Object

You have become the object
Of my affection,
Of my devotion,
Of my dedication.

From you I understand loyalty
And patience
And fidelity
And love.

For you are loyal to your guide
And I to you
And I shall forever love you.

This is the extent of my love:
Limitless and
Practically undefinable.

1974Prayer Song for Charlotte (2) – Softly

Softly and more tenderly –
Give us peace of mind and consolation,
Pacify our urges and our passions,
Put us in a state of earthly heaven.

Softly and exquisitely –
Speak to us sweet words of inspiration,
Warm our hearts, increase our dedication,
Soothe away the aches and pains of hatred.

Softly and so daintily –
So precise and so in tune with nature,
So express, beyond anticipation,
And yet so humble, so reserved in station.

Softly and submissively –
Let us guide each other to perfection;
Let us free ourselves from false subjection;
Let us base our lives on true affection.

Softly but with certainty –
Mould us from the clay of love and kindness,
Fashion us with patience and sincerity,
Breathe in us the breath of generosity.

Softly and with thankfulness –
This is our prayer. Amen.

October 1974


Prayer Song for Charlotte (3) – A Diamond in the Rough

a sweet and tender flower
and a diamond in the rough

a perfect union…

gentility of strength
nobility of character
humility in wisdom
subtlety in understanding

Help us, and be in us, and
show us, and guide us, and
enlighten us, and reveal to us…
…the truth.

1974

Prayer Song for Charlotte (4) – Discovery

God is free from imperfections
and I am full of faults.
Yet if I strive hard in His Way,
They’ll dwindle down to naught.

So I am thankful to my Lord,
Submissive to his will;
For He delivered me from death
And showed me what was real.

Praise be to God!
The Lord of all the worlds.

January 1975


Prayer Song for Charlotte (5) – The Moment of Creation

step by step
day by day
hour by hour
minute by minute
second by second
transcending the immeasurable progression of time

until one reaches the understanding,
the recognition,
that there is no birth or death,
no beginning or end,
but all things come of God.

the mysterious qualities of space and time
and their relativity, therefore,
are reduced to simplistic roots
of zero and unity.

so we travel through our lives
thanking God for direction and guidance.

March 1975


Prayer Song for Charlotte (6) – A Flower

A flower
blooming in the winter
out of tune with time
out of touch with reality
out of accord with unity

A flower
blooming in the springtime
blossoming into its fullest growth
blossoming into its truest beauty
leaning towards the sun

A flower
blooming in the summer
lives, thrives,
and dies in a single season

A flower
blooming in the autumn
preparing for the cold wind
preparing for the icy nights
preparing for the coming of spring

A flower

March 1975

 

Prayer Song for Charlotte (7) – The Will

The will, the unconquerable will –
to come into existence, to survive
the trauma of deliverance, to endure
the loneliness of separation from security.

the will, the irrepressible will –
to grow, to learn all, to comprehend
the whole, to discover oneself and
develop oneself to the fullest.

the will, the indomitable will –
to repel evil, to resist weakness,
to retain one’s inner discipline
against a flood of promiscuity.

the will, the Divine will –
to escape the bonds of slavery mentality,
to transcend the limits of grafted knowledge,
to break the chains of sin and immorality.

May 1975


Prayer Song for Charlotte (8) – The Flight by Night

What was the meaning of the flight by night?
Was it to escape the enemy’s oppression?
Was it in search of a rare sunbeam?
Or was it to recapture a nostalgic dream?

What was the meaning of the flight by night?
Was it a stage in a gradual progression?
Was it to retrieve the gifts of life and time?
Or was it the revival of something more sublime?

What was the meaning of the flight by night?
We must fight to overcome this frightening obsession.
We must search until we find the answer
to this question. Then, and only then,
will we be free from past transgression.

February 1975

 

Be Still

Be still for a moment…!
Watch the images emerge
watch the ideas materialize
into real life entities
watch the thoughts become visible
watch the truth made manifest.

Peace! …Let there be peace!
Everything takes its natural order
everything tends towards unity
everything fades into darkness
everything is seen in the light.

Slow down for just a second!
Come back down to reality
come back down to nature
come back to your lost faith

Appreciate God’s handiwork,
the morning glories,
the honeysuckles,
the sparrows singing,
the calmness of dawn.

1975

 

Welcome Home

Welcome home
So glad to have you back, to see you again.
You’ve been gone so long.
What did you do while you were gone?

You’ve grown so much.
Not as skinny as you used to be.
You’ve really grown.

Why don’t you take your coat off,
make yourself at home.
This is your home.

Sit down.
Have a glass of water.
Let me turn on the radio.
What kind of music do you like.

You’ve changed a lot.
You’re not like you used to be.
Are you married yet?

Why did you change your name?

Spring, 1975

 

Graffiti

Scribbled on bathroom walls
one is made consciously aware
of the funky nature
of the American spirit.

An adulterated spirit,
the wasted semen
of technological fornication,
re-emerging in social incest
and zero population growth

An international whore
who just doesn’t give a good goddamn
what she gives birth to:
resulting in a tribe of illiterate bastards
who are unisexed,
polysexed,
or no sex at all

Spring, 1975