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Poetry in English

Poem by Amiri Baraka

The New Invasion of Africa

So it wd be this way
That they wd get a negro
To bomb his own home
To join with the actual colonial
Powers, Britain, France, add Poison Hillary
With Israeli and Saudi to make certain
That revolution in Africa must have a stopper
So call in the white people who long tasted our blood
They would be the copper, overthrow Libya
With some bullshit humanitarian scam
With the negro yapping to make it seem right (far right)
But that’s how Africa got enslaved by the white
A negro selling his own folk, delivering us to slavery
In the middle of the night. When will you learn poet
And remember it so you know it
Imperialism can look like anything
Can be quiet and intelligent and even have
A pretty wife. But in the end, it is insatiable
And if it needs to, it will take your life.

—Amiri Baraka 3/21/411

Poems by Gary Daniel

Poems to my Only Love
(Gary S. to Michelle Daniel)

I’m Madly in Love

I fell in love for you then
The first time, on you, I laid eyes.
Macho in me hidden,
gossips, rumors and lies
deterred never for you,
the love I felt that time.
You told me truth
then deep down inside.
You walk me through life
at the hospital your Grandmother laid
Before she dies,
she prophesizes:
You and I must join ties.
I could of wait my mother’s green!
I took your bait and got your card.
During our wed we said it loud
For best or worst we go for life.
Rings, flowers couldn’t hold us tight
But Christ Jesus who dies for us
Unconditionally granting us Love
you and only you nourish in me
I got for you, believe you me?
Cis and labor after, to me, you gave
two good spirits, a boy, a girl:
Marlonn, Sasha, no second taught.
Eternal my love for you as it is for GOD.
No one other than you
after Christ can kill my soul;
no jalousie, not things
I did not do, nor offer
granted could worth
Your love I miss.

Guilty, I cry still
when I feel rage in your heart
as you told me that you hate me.
My God! Michou, scared, tormented I am.
If I kill for me your love
I kill my soul, my life.

You’re my “ensure”.

I feel empty the other day
To me you say
your spiritual soul
quicker than a heart beat during
your deepest sacred moment of prayer
you drop me cold.
You showed me how to pray
you gave life to my soul with the Bible.
My guts tremble
my inside rips, enflames my soul
of guilt never be surpassed
by thousand Ike in fury.

Michou, I bleed for forgiveness
lament for our soul, our heart
be one again ’cause
I madly love you!
Yesterday, now, forever, and ever!

(Houston, Tx, 9/15/2008 12:01 AM)

Scent of a Rose

I don’t know when or how
one single tail, some little lie
ware off the spot of a missed shoe-nail;
toes toting largely unveil
shoe hole subdues all heart beauties.
Eyes of wiseacre kneading
possessed by a witting spiritual sling,
woe crashing, bring to slit
the old me; down, I bow!
Poaching love to pieces.

However, Michou, Chérie!

Breath of love after curfew,
scent of rose with morning dew,
life’s details can’t bring us down.
Pleasant word here, lilac in ground
we, hands in hands, no matter where
all in all defuse all bombs out there.

I miss your share, see you’re svelte too
your hair, your lips, your caress soon.


Pervading heart

Life is made of battles fought
Not with things or guns aim to destroy but,
Soul redeemed
Spirit renewed
and everlasting love watered.

You, Michou, are my African Queen;
the anchor when my boat adrift,
the compass when lost
on life’s ocean destructive waves.

You’ve shown me,
like our Father’s prints in the Son’s steps
leading to everlasting Love,
the way to your sacred one.
Allow me to pervade your blistering heart
once again to revive our secret to the mountain tops.

Soul redeemed,
Redeemed soul,
Spirit renewed,
Renewed spirit,
Natural beauty carved from divine breath
for everlasting love to flourish
as my deemed fabled existence dimming
like an admired sprinkles of a countryside fireworks
the sun will shine again the darkest days,
the moon will glow the sleaziest night of our life.

’cause, I love you more than my life!

(DSD, Katy,TX, 9/18/2008 1:52 PM)

You Gave Me Life Again

Through my mom’s fleche
God gave me breath
Compelled, she and my aunt
Grew my being to hunt
for the perfect other half to survive
life’s jungle with respect, resolve and love.

At God’s altar I wait for you
only you leveled so high Michou;
so, satan and his armies, using names and fames
flashing sorrows and pains
robbing moneys and offering things
of this world to deceit all good faith
sucking air in our face,
prowed victory and praise.

And you stood still, resolute and bold
on God’s ground, Jesus’ care
to give, your family and specially me,
faithfully, life again.

Women of God, Michou, you are,
After Christ and the Almighty allow me
To praise your Love.

Yes, you own my soul not only my love,
But my spiritual being too,
yesterday, today and forever.

You were always the one, the only one!

The Call I hear

I have seen set the golden sun
in the grayish bleu horizon,
the silver white moon sliding tract
patiently to light up night path.

I have admired the eagle nest as far,
my eyes, on top of a pole can see poses;
felt the breeze of its wings flap
every time mother nature’ symphonies allows.

I’ve never been touched living
the call I hear now hammering
my love in Christ for GOD
through your faith, Michelle, my LOVE.

—Gary S. Daniel Katy Tx, 9/29/2008 6:22 AM

Poem by Neeli Cherkovski


tell them, this is Egypt in a heart
a statue for your throat,
these are voices on your blood,
the antiquities of a love song
along the Nile

those are places
you’ll never go alone
unless you are a deep wind in the sand,
you will cling to memory,
the sound of Egyptian eyes
in every body, you will sing to love
out of the mouth of a cat
who lives in paradise

talk to them, that is Egypt
on your fingertips, the burning lamp
illumines, these are ancient children
who await a sign, Allah
on your tongue, Osiris
in a grain, everywhere the mask
is hammered out of gold, everyone
looks through the eyes
of a man made of gold to find
the grain merchant, to enchant
the trafficker in flesh
and armaments

this is not a carnival, no one will sale
tickets, these are shadows
walking into light, Egypt is flying
across every border, the mullahs
peak from their curtained windows,
there are scarabs
in the sun, international treaties
that must mean something
to the river tides, to the dead raft men
who used to glide

tell them this is Egypt
on your palm, these are river songs
and desert poems and
dreams of sorrow and acceptance
of the weaver who uses
all the thread

—Neeli Cherkovski

Poems by Gary Hicks

how far is egypt from california?

(for w.h. who popped the question)

it’s thousands of
geographic miles
over the ocean

and mental miles
between south central
and the gated communities

mental miles between
the campus and
the flatlands of the
people’s republic
of berkeley

physical inches between
the gun wannabe taser
that took oscar’s life

inches between
whatever lovell was packing
and the cops whom he
took out before being
called back home

how far is egypt
from california?

it’s the distance between
a human resources
budget line being
cut by a governor
and the person who
will die from a
fiscal stab wound
or rusty democratic scalpel
or dirty and blunt
god’s only party axe.

how far is egypt
from california?

the square feet
between a family
living in an already
inadequate apartment
and the barely running
car to which
they now sleep
and dream of
the next meal
the next time their
kids will step foot
into a classroom
without stigma
the next time they’ll
get to take showers

and awaken to nightmares
of identification checks
snide remarks from those
well dressed on the
totally oblivious to
how close they are
one last paycheck close
one catastrophic hospital
bill close they are
to the streets of tunis
cairo alexandria suez
and yet so far from
how the residents of
these far places
are addressing these issues.

how close is egypt to california?
today in madison
thousands of workers brave
winter weather to demonstrate
against fascist cuts and the threat
of the national guard. how close is
egypt to wisconsin?

a couple of days back the
president, so democratic
sounding towards the
people of egypt, so full
of threats to the people
of iran introduced
a budget for next year
over which of the two parties
will pretend to
disagree and negotiate
knowing full well the organs
on the operating table
they’re going after. how far
is egypt from our
troubled land and
its heroic people awaiting
the day that they will
let the planet know
that egypt is here!

(berkeley ca, february 16, 2011)

for esperanza spalding

at the white house
they called you some
something or other
on the horizon.

careful sister. the
chief feature of a
horizon is its tendency
to recede into the
distance the closer
one gets. this is not
a good place
for a jazz cellist
an artist of the people
to be located.

(berkeley ca, february 16 2011)

after reading yet another op ed

income inequality
corporate welfare

these and countless
that are not like
those blind guys
touching different
elephant parts and
getting the animal
wrong the animal
being capital
in all of
its roller coaster
gyrations its
classic inability
to reconcile
production and
distribution both
of these being
in possession
of different
classes and
crying out
for one or the
other class to
have it all
the other class
having shown
its total inability
probably moral
right to boot

this poem is
betting on the
working class
to take
to let wisconsin
emblemize what
some africans
said not long back:
socialism is the
future but we’d
better be building
it now the fierce
urgent now.

(berkeley ca, march 9, 2011)

after reading orwell on politics and the english language

in all my years of
reading talking
never ever
about if
it goes without
saying why
it’s being said
if needless
to say
whose need is
being met by
saying and
the nature
of that need why
i am
told that that
someone or
myself fail to see
what’s trying
to be gotten across
verbally or on
paper when
it’s not about failure
but about
consideration and
just plain disagreement

can someone explain
the use of such phrases
other than the user
trying to come off
looking cute at another’s
expense? for some
reason i feel insulted
reading or hearing
it said and that should
go without saying
should be needless
to say.

(berkeley ca, march7, 2011)

how to tell when a resurrection is at hand…or, evidence of things not seen

like common
well-mannered thugs
they thought that
dumping the shrouded
body into the deep
would prevent multitudes
from rising up after
seeing the slain
corpse displayed.

guess again.

jihadis worship allah
not body displays
invoking anger
and the dumping
of dead flesh and
blood into the sea
has turned the
ocean into a
shrine touching
every shore. and
infidels once again
are dumb mofos.

after the flag-waving
lynch crowds
after the gloating
press conferences
after the presidential
visits to the various
death squads
after the ideological
media whore’s
deadline filings
the dying and
killing goes on
there are new
recruits to the
jihadis from the
families that lost
their loved ones
to the drones
more soldiers are
coming home
dead or as physical
mental and moral
basket cases
to be replaced by
another batch of
lambchops made
from our country’s
young hoosiers
and hoodies

and the moment
has yet to arrive
when real or imagined
fisherman find a
white shroud caught
in their nets.

on that day, beware!
the shroud has
turned up without
the body and
the last time this
happened an
was brought down

seder 2011

is dead
and moses
and the rod
and even
the rifle
have been
from his

in the
of the
in the land
of aswan
and in
the land
of cheese
in to tell
the people to
let all
and their
and their drugs
and their weapons

(berkeley ca, april 11, 2011)

elegio-autopsy: OBL

the lynching
the scandals

the use of the code
word “geronimo”, beloved
of the apache nation
to describe the
lyncher’s target…
will the next
lynch victims be
named crazy horse?
sitting bull? osceola?
the thirty nine hanged
the day after
christmas 1862
per order of
the great emancipator?

the dumping
of the body into
the sea touching
many islamic
nations and
the oceanic
shrine for many
despite the
violation by
the infidels
of sharia

and lord knows
what else this
week’s news
alone will bring
to take some
flutter out of the
stars and stripes

the admission
by the deed
that the target
of the whole
was armed only
with the knowledge
of his creation
by his murderers
armed only
with the awesome
capabilities of
getting egg on
the face of imperial
legitimacy followed
by a shoe
upside the head
of the empire’s
ceo armed only
with way too much
knowledge about
his creators.

meanwhile in the
streets of our wilderness
of north america
young mobs of wilderness
mentalite wave flags
shouting “USA! USA!”
over the death of
the person now
guaranteed to create
another generation
of resentment toward
“USA! USA!” and
the white horse of
chauvinism on which
it rode in.

but then again
when murder is
covered by a public
lynching signifying
that justice was
done in there
is no need to
consider niceties
and consequences
can always be
passed onto children
shouting “USA! USA!”

in such circumstances
even atheists
can dream of a time
when all of the claimants
to heaven will stand
before the creator
on her left hand the
fire of burning buddhists
on her right osama
saddam and all of
the others who were
not called home
by god
but sent home by
the assassins and
their cronies. and
already the claimants
can see the gates
to that other place.

(berkeley ca may 3, 2011)

—gary hicks

Poem by Samuel Barthelemy


They have reluctantly
Returned to cohabit
Arms and arms
In the mist of the elements
With nature in fury
Upon the edge of days gone by
In lead of nights all sweaty
Naked and homeless
On fragmented concretes
Lying on broken pavements
Resting on dusty grass
Forced to be roommates

Buried who knows
How many corpses
Without surnames
Under the navel of rubles
Beneath stockpiles of bruised
And injured roofs
On the side of carcasses
Transformed in sepultures
In barely sixty seconds

In the backyard of the crumbled
Presidential palace
Resting itself on wounded knees
On Champs de Mars
With epitaphs on long ego heroes
To miseries never once imagined
They have returned to live

There were haggard looking faces
Survivors covered with dusts
Stripped of body parts
Covered all over with bloods
Battered from heads to toes
Stiffened by the bites of the shocks

Any piece of metals
Turned into bistouries
Clenching teeth with fright
With will and hope to live
Their lone meager anesthesia
They have their arms cut off
Imputed legs minutes away
Merely to be released from wrecked walls
They have cried their lungs out for help
Stood still helplessly
Died miserably
In countless numbers

Everywhere were beheaded parts of Men
Of women young and old
Of children too
Separated of their lifeless body
Arms and legs
Held between walls
Every type of body parts
Put in display without shame
All along the way

There were cadavers everywhere
Across dilapidated streets
Displayed on sidewalks
While others appeared covered or almost
Still greater numbers
Were shown bared or just about
All exposed for flies to parade
In the hazard of days
Opened trucks took some of them away
As piles of nothing much
Trash of no significance
Dumped in holes barely excavated

It tormented the soul it was utterly overwhelming
Difficult to swallow indeed
It was not to be believed
The images that constructed the decors
As curious and vagabond cameras
And the whole world in shock
Watched it all tensely

We stood immobile
Breathless the whole time
As emotions invaded our consciousness
We pleaded with the elements for
They were our brothers
Our sisters
Our fathers
Our mothers
People of our land
Of our country
Hurled into the abyss

You must get up though
From this morbid torpor
You must breathe again
You are this strong nation
You are Haiti
The mother most revered
And you are not an ingrate
Are you
You must survive
Despite all odds
The world anticipates
To hear from you
A thank you will suffice for now
The earth the universe
Together shed tears with you
You must live
To battle the specter of death
To defeat that horrible destruction
You must live by
And for the survivors
For all those who live at home
As well as those scattering
All around the world
You must live
Pain is minuscule compared to love
You must live
Life is much stronger than dead.

(January 20, 2010)

—Samuel Barthelemy

Poem by Endy Propel

Echo me ego

My love, we have spent so much time together our feelings and wishes confuse each other as one only source of being. My dear, there have been so many moments when the burden of your presence strengthened me up, lifting my head so I could see ahead. And when my walk in life left no more foot steps to be tracked, gently you dropped me down from your arms to give me one more chance to thrive. The time has come when the devotion I have for you will set us free, to become once more unrecognizable. Then, I’ll pursue the glory of the eyes on me, the travesty of the mind in a landscape of time, and I’ll stick myself to the gutter of hope only to fancy ourselves apart; as two sides of the same brain, as two witnesses of mutual blindness. The memories I have of us, those memories are the vivacious and swaying mental interactions and the permissive swinging desires of rationale combining as lethal culminations, propelling deceptive initiatives of survival, in the illusion of permanence. Therefore, inevitably we die in an implosion of cerebral forecasts, longing scenarios of convincing excuses and explanations that split the self in half attaching conflicts of duality to all there is until one no longer knows his self. I am dying. I am dying to do it again.

—Endy Propel

Poem by Stephanie Guirand

The Bitter Black Bitch

I sadden myself,
With the thought of the conditioning of the
Bitter Black Bitch
Too scared to be without a teacher,
Now I’m getting my lesson
My man with the words to be memorized
My girl with the vision to point me
Too scared see, without my innocence
Who would I be?
The Bitter Black Bitch!

The shell of the Bitter Black Bitch
Sparkle like a shiny spoon, when the light finds it
When the switch turns on typically
The dullness out overtakes that spark
It’s hard to see, she once looked like me

The Bitter Black Bitch
Is a loyal creature
Once you’re in, you can’t get out
To get to know her is a dangerous game
One must follow every rule
An obligation to be tamed

The Bitter Black Bitch
Wishes to be sweet
Innocence was lost on her
It died over time
For every abusive lover
For every dead-beat father
A Bitter Black Bitch is made

For every Bitter Black Bitch
There is a woman like my mother
Her pitiful singing voice radiates joy
I wonder how I can become her
How do I prevent the roughness
From turning me into the zombies?
The shells of humans
Who walk among us
Known as the Bitter Black Bitch?
I suppose the answer is to sing
With the voice you’ve been given.

—Stephanie Guirand

Poem by Tontongi

Rebel Perimeter

Rebel perimeter
or refuge for the drunks
the kids’ first night out
the depressed, lonely heart.

The People’s Republik
even Che Guevara’s picture
and realist-socialist posters
and neo-realist paintings of locals
and poets writing while drinking,
and noisy out-of-state students
suddenly feeling an air of freedom
after too many extra drinks;
the repository of the town’s soul,
its weaknesses and its dreams,
its fantasy, its dépravés,
all played their roles
in the making of the nightmare
in the making of misery
in the making of the zombie state
exonerating Wall Street
its thievery
its bubbles
its suddenly becoming rich bastards
its fabulously and magically generated
riches on a piece of paper
or a computer screen;
its blaming of the poor
or the teenage mother;
its blaming of the welfare state,
of “Obamacare”
and the “stimulus plan”,
of happy-spender-democrats
who joined them as two-faced medal
in the blaming of the immigrants
forgetting they have heartily saved
the country from boredom;
its hatred of the Other
its suffocating of the others
its diabolical gestion of life
its insensibility to human pain
its profit-before-anything-else ethos
its I-don’t-give-it-damn dogma
its bombing of Libya on a whim
its speculation on oil price
its privatization of jail
its privatization of health
its privatization of love,
they all participate
in the building of hell
and its corollaries
and its false splendor.

Rebel perimeter
space to let it be
or wait until Human again
becomes a mystery,
until greater search is made to secure
a sustaining breathing space
or until the robotic, twisted Unsoul
has managed to impose universal control
in the Greater Order of Things
through power pattern
and data selection
and gerrymandering
or voters’ suppression
or military coup d’état in banana republic
with CIA sponsorship
and Big Brother’s good advice
and Big Business complicity
and Big Brother looking
while the inside of the soul is missing.

Rebel perimeter
or lacking of wisdom
or betting on surrendering
to the easier way out of madness.

Rebel perimeter,
wait when you no longer accept
for conscience such a pitiful role
and see follow the Contingence Void
the apprehension of appearance’s foolishness
and the selling of the soul to Unsoul,
and the collapse of the Stock Market
and the belated understanding of poetry
as both epiphany and redemption.

The last hour never rang
before fate has put its stamps
before the water starts boiling,
that’s the day of the reckoning
the deceased’s revival day,
day of beauty on Earth.

The Brooklyn Bridge is closed
occupied by those who have had enough
just like before them the angry Haitians
who said Hell with racist exclusion;
yes, Occupy Wall Street,
that’s the cry of conscience
—and intelligence.

—Tontongi October 2011

Mirage —drawing by Kelli Foster, Cambridge, MA, 2008.

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