Because Time is Long
That He, born and bred behind
veils of color of class of light black
temperance stained by rum
soaked memories of nannies, nets
slave narratives. That He, who taught
who sought to read and write us
free. To freedom us from crisis. We the
people. Purloined. Purchased. Color
ful salad seasoned and prepared for the
great white stomach. We be and ain’t. We
could and cain’t. That He who
read and wrote we riot. For sisters and
suffrage. For sovereignty. That we burrow
deep inside ourselves. Push past double-
sided mirrors of distortion. Carry on. Past the
scramble for Africa. Past the cockeyed
distortions of who(se) an Africa(n)
is. Who(se) an Africa(n) ain’t. Is gon’ be.
That He, who spoke for Black souls fed on
hoe cakes and spirituals. The poetry of royalty.
Eloquence of peasants. He spoke the pen
chant of jubilee people of creation. Of spirits
made literate through millennia figuring things
out. He spoke of Black souls and spiritus mundi
and the coining and claiming of beauty. Reclaiming
it and the idea of it across endless dark midnights.|
Across the green sea of darkness. Across
fields. And factory floors.
That He, who wrote us out of the darkness of
whiteness, taught us how to fall in love with
our own long shadow. How and why to
defy and betray the lies of who we are not.
That He. Scholar. Activist. Intellectual athlete.
Hungry hue man. Being. In the world. The world
in Him. In Us. That He who left detailed
instructions on how to make spirits literate.
Transfigure the disfigured. Taught us to resist the
chaos magic of Whitehall Street. The hegemony
and born-again imperialism passing for
juris prudence. From Lagos
to Lake Street. The democracy we
know (or think we know) is the wet match
lighting the heinous heart of a confederacy
long thought dead thought gone thought glad
some shed blood tears for a nation no longer
confused telling lies to itself about itself.
That He, born to write and fight these veils and
lines of technicolor. To fight the fire.
This time. Because time