Amen / Amen

"Emancipate us from mental slavery..."
— Bob Marley (Redemtion Song)

The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus

Salvador Dali
see our history's golden man
Christopher Columbus
in your Andalusia way
as robust young boy
perhaps teenaged
as one who pulls his big bellied ship
toward us from ocean's edge
masts      banners      swords      clouds
crucifixes      shadows      sails
monks      trapeze artists

huge canvas wall-sized
brings home to Florida
in this museum created
in your name for you
the wishes of those monarchs
the youngish Ferdinand
his lovely Isabella
your own country
the infant Spain

Columbus not old
enough to shave
barefoot and shirtless
not yet Great Admiral
of the Ocean
now drags ashore
the Old World's wettest dreams
of church
of colony
of empire
that bid us marvel
at our own demise

Blue Note Belly Blues — A Call and Response Poem

You came
the world
in the belly
of a ship
in the belly
of a slave
in the belly
of the ocean

                        Think About It

in the belly
of a drum
in the belly
of a calabash
in the belly
of a dance
in the belly
of a shout
bathed in
palm oil

                        Think About It

in the belly
of a shuffle
in the belly
of a moan
in the belly
of a grin
in the belly
of a storm

                        Think About It

in the belly
of a savanna
in the belly
of the wind
in the belly
of the tides

                        Think About It

Say Baby
let's you & me
bust free
this blue blue note
into Freedom's belly

                        Think About It

This blue note
North Star
gotta get outah here blue note
this Black Bottom blue note
this moaning low speaking low
blue note
this jazz back juke joint
saxophone blue note

                        Think About It

This high stepping 2nd line
blue      blue      blue note
this high flying Take me
to the Moon
blue note

                        Think About It

This Baby Baby Baby
what have I done
to be so black & blue
blue blue note
let's kick back
three ways to Sunday
blue note
blue note
blue note

                        Think About It

let's turn ourselves inside out
ride Freedom's blue
blue note
and fly away
fly away Baby

                        Think About It
                        Think About It


She drew her first basket
on its side she made a mask
w/ eyes and nose
on its top she made a mouth
slightly open
she thought

She invited some friends
to see the basket

Inside its curved belly
they saw
a flag w/ zebra marks
the curved teeth of a lion
gold      elegant      huge
rows of elephant tusks
a crocodile napping

They heard a spirit voice
calling all their names

They struggled to breathe
they tried to speak
they wanted to dance

(for Nisi)