Proofs of Purchase

The following thoughts have filtered from a mind that has been oversaturated with images, screams, romance, text, and sounds since The Carter Administration. If you are not satisfied, then I recommend a double chocolate brownie from Starbucks with a tall bold of the day.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

i am new york city, by jayne cortez

i am new york city
here is my brain of hot sauce
my tobacco teeth
my mattress of bedbug tongue
legs apart, hand on chin
war on the roof
insults pointed fingers
pushcarts
my contraceptives all look at my pelvis blushing


i am new york city of blood
police and fried pies
i rub my docks red with grenadine
and jelly madness in a flow of tokay
my huge skull of pigeons
my seance of peeping toms
my plaited ovaries excuse me
this is my grime my thigh
of steelspoons and toothpicks
i imitate no one


i am new york city
of the brown spit and soft tomatoes
give me my confetti of flesh
my marquee of false nipples
my sideshow of open beaks
in my nose of soot
in my ox bled eyes
in my ear of Saturday night specials


i eat ha ha hee hee and ho ho
i am new york city
never change never sleep never melt
my shoes are incognito
cadavers grow from my goatee
look i sparkle with shit with wishbones
my nickname is glue-me


take my face of stink bombs
my star spangled banner of hot dogs
take my beer can junta
my reptilian ass of footprints
and approach me through life
approach me through death
approach me through my widow's peak
through my split ends my
asthmatic laugh, approach me
through my wash rag
half ankle, half elbow
massage me with your camphor tears
salute the patina and concrete
of my rat tail wig
face upface downpiss
into the bite of our handshake


i am new york city
my skillet-head friend
my fat-bellied comrade
citizens
break wind with me

Centrifugals

Solid Gold Bullion
Streaking Flash Gordon
Fish down in the City Atlantis
Throwing tulips at Candace
Man, look at this
Centipede liturgy
Never feisty
Combine these
Adverbs, predicates, subjects
Into proverbs
Made for the many that came
While few are chosen
Like the Jewish
You ain't wishing well
Trying to kiss and tell
These vivid fables
Memorable like Aesop
Rocking rough and stuff
With my Afro puff
Laughing with Melvin Van Peebles
Spitting watermelon seeds
Bigger than Greek bonds
Unforgettable like Barry
In every way

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Quick Glance

You want to change things
But things don't change
You want to take this away
But the bill ain't paid
Strange legs
Gain weight
In strange places
This time
Razed up the centimeter
Asking Peter to pay Paul
Rather than borrow
Subprime mortgages razed
Our 401(k)s
And blood pressures
Which people find amazing
Why?
Why didn't California Raisins have golden hues?
Why didn't Bill Clinton admit what he did?
Why did Kraft have to buy Cadbury?
Why does hip hop love the industry?
Why does the price of cigarettes rise and health care fall?
I wonder
Without the bread

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Shall Not Be Moved, by Kashan Fields

I am a man
A black man
I am song
I am the writer of song
I am poetry
I am the spoken word
I am the Renaissance
I am Christian
I am creative
I am my past
I am the present and the future
I shall not be moved

My history is golden
Filled with stories of triumph & silver
In spite of the situation
I am all that
And non apologetic about it
Who am I to be president?
Who am I to be King?
It is a part of my present past
Therefore, I am King & I am President
I shall not be moved

My skin is enduring
Elastic to no end
You can age me, tear me, and abuse me
And it stays strong
In fact, the pain that you bring
Gives it a newer hue
Called Wisdom
Thru adversity
Rising to my very best
I learn the lesson
I shall not be moved


Days were long
With the sun on my nape
Knowing soon would come the escape
From my captor
Who held me for some 400 year
A people can only take so much
Especially since we never asked to come here
But now,I am here
I shall not be moved

No announced recession
Can make me lose my rock
We have always known how to make a little into a lot
No depression could ever stunt the path
You tried your best to break us
But, it couldn’t last
The solidity of the family
Stands so tall
Even if we lost it all
We’d count our blessings
And know who to call
We shall not be moved


The foundation was laid
Many debts went unpaid
Senseless bodies were laid
Because of the color of skin
To day there is no real win
Unless we accept this
And change our real ways
And accept they we all are kin
A nation of sisters, & brothers
Uncles & cousins
Mothers & Fathers
Grandmothers & Grandfathers
Aunties and Friends
It can only end
When we all make a move towards the end
Ending Racism, that is
We all shall not be moved

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Loss of Love, by Countee Cullen

All through an empty place I go,
And find her not in any room;
The candles and the lamps I light
Go down before a wind of gloom.

Thick-spraddled lies the dust about,
A fit, sad place to write her name
Or draw her face the way she looked
That legendary night she came.


The old house crumbles bit by bit;
Each day I hear the ominous thud
That says another rent is there
For winds to pierce and storms to flood.


My orchards groan and sag with fruit;
Where, Indian-wise, the bees go round;
I let it rot upon the bough;
I eat what falls upon the ground.


The heavy cows go laboring
In agony with clotted teats;
My hands are slack; my blood is cold;
I marvel that my heart still beats.


I have no will to weep or sing,
No least desire to pray or curse;
The loss of love is a terrible thing;
They lie who say that death is worse.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

200 Rand

The Afrikaners like to be apart
The British like a human mart
The Zulu spears were shot down
The Xhosa impuphu, grounded out
Indians served tea and curry
Without cardamom
To flavor the dulled countenances
Of the coloured
The Rainbow nation rose
Out of apartheid rubble
ZA's future rests on many shoulders
Along with billions of dreams
The World Cup of 2010
Begins the REM stage
As 2010 continues the reality
Of a land glowing
With velds, mountains, and springboks
Oceans, rivers, and huts
Weathered by knives, abuse, epithets
Ignorance, avarice, and indigence
That the Big Five alone can't make alive

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Her Lips Are Copper Wire, by Jean Toomer

whisper of yellow globes
gleaming on lamp-posts that sway
like bootleg licker drinkers in the fog

and let your breath be moist against me
like bright beads on yellow globes


telephone the power-house
that the main wires are insulate


(her words play softly up and down
dewy corridors of billboards)


then with your tongue remove the tape
and press your lips to mine
till they are incandescent

Friday, February 12, 2010

These Yet to be United States, by Maya Angelou

Tremors of your network
cause kings to disappear.
Your open mouth in anger
makes nations bow in fear.

Your bombs can change the seasons,
obliterate the spring.
What more do you long for?
Why are you suffering?


You control the human lives
in Rome and Timbuktu.
Lonely nomads wandering
owe Telstar to you.


Seas shift at your bidding,
your mushrooms fill the sky.
Why are you unhappy?
Why do your children cry?


They kneel alone in terror
with dread in every glance.
Their rights are threatened daily
by a grim inheritance.


You dwell in whitened castles
with deep and poisoned moats
and cannot hear the curses
which fill your children's throats.

The Eagles Never Land In The San Fernando Valley

A sharp moon glow
Dusty pebble trails
Wispy magnolia trees
Heavy cotton thorns
Pointy ones poking at thumbs
Thuds from bold foot strides
Shudder at first
Later stamp with pride
Balding like eagles
Trampling tulips from Tupelo
After forty days of lashings
The conscious mind soiled
The unconscious mind haunted
From sodomy mixed with rape
Soaked with teeth spit
Malnourished blue veins
A right cheek slit
Owls mimic watchtowers
Harriet Tubman climbed through much uraniums
Sprouting Canadian trilliums
The distance from thence is clear and a past danger
The journey to later is nebulous and a lottery winner

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Liberty Needs Glasses, by Tupac Shakur

Liberty Needs Glasses
excuse me but lady liberty needs glasses
and so does mrs justice by her side
both the broads r blind as bats
stumbling thru the system
justice bumbed into mutulu and
trippin on geronimo pratt
but stepped right over oliver
and his crooked partner ronnie

justice stubbed her big toe on mandela
and liberty was misquoted by the indians
slavery was a learning phase
forgotten with out a verdict
while justice is on a rampage
4 endangered surviving black males
i mean really if anyone really valued life
and cared about the masses
theyd take em both 2 pen optical
and get 2 pair of glasses

Monday, February 8, 2010

We Real Cool, by Gwendolyn Brooks

THE POOL PLAYERS.
SEVEN AT THE GOLDEN SHOVEL.


We real cool.
We Left school.


We Lurk late.
We Strike straight.


We Sing sin.
We Thin gin.


We Jazz June.
We Die soon.

Timeline of the Elements

Matter cannot be created
Nor destroyed
Isis developed commandments
Misconstrued by pagans
But a structure for citizens beyond
Imhotep diagnosed the human anatomy
Hippocrates received warm fraternity
Ashanti kings and Egyptian pharaohs
Laid down the bricks for Mexican Olmecs
Columbus and Cort├ęs pretend to destroy this fact
Mr. Washington Carver created a peanut empire
Mr. Carter nearly bankrupt this country
Pierre L'Enfant started to draw the angles and diagonals of the District
Benjamin Banneker finished the plan, but the Library of Congress won't tell
Charley Patton pulverized moonshine and his acoustic
Elvis Presley forgot to give him a little more conversation
Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry weaved the pop standard
John Lennon and Mick Jagger shook their hands
Without greased palms
Cleopatra IV maintained the Ptolemic dynasty
Until the zealousness of Caesar cut close
Babe Ruth hit majestic shots, spawning tall tales
His broad nose and full lips destroyed that myth for Ty Cobb
W created his own word craze
Barack Obama destroyed the fraction with endless number ones

Friday, February 5, 2010

Cultural Exchange, by Langston Hughes

In the Quarter of the Negroes
Where the doors are doors of paper
Dust of dingy atoms
Blows a scratchy sound.
Amorphous jack-o'-Lanterns caper
And the wind won't wait for midnight
For fun to blow doors down.


By the river and the railroad
With fluid far-off going
Boundaries bind unbinding
A whirl of whistles blowing.
No trains or steamboats going--
Yet Leontyne's unpacking.


In the Quarter of the Negroes
Where the doorknob lets in Lieder
More than German ever bore,
Her yesterday past grandpa--
Not of her own doing--
In a pot of collard greens
Is gently stewing.


Pushcarts fold and unfold
In a supermarket sea.
And we better find out, mama,
Where is the colored laundromat
Since we moved up to Mount Vernon.


In the pot behind the paper doors
on the old iron stove what's cooking?
What's smelling, Leontyne?
Lieder, lovely Lieder
And a leaf of collard green.
Lovely Lieder, Leontyne.


You know, right at Christmas
They asked me if my blackness,
Would it rub off?
I said, Ask your mama.


Dreams and nightmares!
Nightmares, dreams, oh!
Dreaming that the Negroes
Of the South have taken over--
Voted all the Dixiecrats
Right out of power--


Comes the COLORED HOUR:
Martin Luther King is Governor of Georgia,
Dr. Rufus Clement his Chief Adviser,
A. Philip Randolph the High Grand Worthy.
In white pillared mansions
Sitting on their wide verandas,
Wealthy Negroes have white servants,
White sharecroppers work the black plantations,
And colored children have white mammies:
Mammy Faubus
Mammy Eastland
Mammy Wallace
Dear, dear darling old white mammies--
Sometimes even buried with our family.
Dear old
Mammy Faubus!


Culture, they say, is a two-way street:
Hand me my mint julep, mammy.
Hurry up!
Make haste!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The House on Moscow Street, by Marilyn Nelson

It's the ragged source of memory,
a tarpaper-shingled bungalow
whose floors tilt toward the porch,
whose back yard ends abruptly
in a weedy ravine. Nothing special:
a chain of three bedrooms
and a long side porch turned parlor
where my great-grandfather, Pomp, smoked
every evening over the news,
a long sunny kitchen
where Annie, his wife,
measured cornmeal,
dreaming through the window
across the ravine and up to Shelby Hill
where she had borne their spirited,
high-yellow brood.


In the middle bedroom's hard,
high antique double bed,
the ghost of Aunt Jane,
the laundress
who bought the house in 1872,
though I call with all my voices,
does not appear.
Nor does Pomp's ghost,
with whom one of my cousins believes
she once had a long and intimate
unspoken midnight talk.
He told her, though they'd never met,
that he loved her; promised
her raw widowhood would heal
without leaving a scar.


The conveniences in an enclosed corner
of the slant-floored back side porch
were the first indoor plumbing in town.
Aunt Jane put them in,
incurring the wrath of the woman
who lived in the big house next door.
Aunt Jane left the house
to Annie, whose mother she had known
as a slave on the plantation,
so Annie and Pomp could move their children
into town, down off Shelby Hill.
My grandmother, her brother, and five sisters
watched their faces change slowly
in the oval mirror on the wall outside the door
into teachers' faces, golden with respect.
Here Geneva, the randy sister,
damned their colleges,
daubing her quicksilver breasts
with gifts of perfume.


As much as love,
as much as a visit
to the grave of a known ancestor,
the homeplace moves me not to silence
but the righteous, praise Jesus song:


Oh, catfish and turnip greens,
hot-water cornbread and grits.
Oh, musty, much-underlined Bibles;
generations lost to be found,
to be found.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Act Seven

Sometimes we are good
Other times we feel bad
Often we talk
To crack jokes
To make fun of tourists
Or idiots unworthy of our village
Created through kinship
Islands that form into a land
Returning history before
Magellan, Vespucci, and De Gama
Beating Columbus even
They call it Pangaea
Pangaea loved to sing, talk, dance, and eat
We all do the same thing
Many moons later
When we feel like Kafka's aliens
When we feel enlightened
When we just don't care
But watch out
Our boxing gloves are strapped
If necessary
Our love for one another
Beats through our shirts and blouses

87 Rafts from Lungi

It's been a while
Longer than that magnificent Chicago mile
We met after a date with Amsterdam
Followed by a lam with Casablanca
Then Sam played it again
At the Lungi airport
With female robes called lapa
Merchants of clothing
Palm Oil
Peanuts
Cassava Leaves
Bunga Fish
Yuca becoming fufu
Spinning faster than a Spiderman web
Despite the old Victorian squalor
Laying on Bent Street
Forgetting Kissy Road
Daring not to muss
Your silky white beaches
Your crystal waters
I de ask mesef
How for do
I ge'fo go to toun
When I finish me study
Aha

Ka' Ba, by Imamu Amiri Baraka (former Leroi Jones)

A closed window looks down
on a dirty courtyard, and black people
call across or scream or walk across
defying physics in the stream of their will

Our world is full of sound
Our world is more lovely than anyone's
tho we suffer, and kill each other
and sometimes fail to walk the air

We are beautiful people
with african imaginations
full of masks and dances and swelling chants

with african eyes, and noses, and arms,
though we sprawl in grey chains in a place
full of winters, when what we want is sun.

We have been captured,
brothers. And we labor
to make our getaway, into
the ancient image, into a new

correspondence with ourselves
and our black family. We read magic
now we need the spells, to rise up
return, destroy, and create. What will be

the sacred words?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Technical Difficulties

According to you, I'm fuckin' up
According to you, I forgot thangs
According to you, I'm not down
According to you, I should fry
My hair, my food, and my serotonin
And break my English
But ain't no reason for that
Not only does North America place the welcome mat
At my feet
My ol' pa invented it
Not only is my destiny claimed
The world is my oyster
Not only do I remember five hundred years
I have walked them, and am still moving
With power steps and stealthy verbal spits
But you think the pigs wouldn't do a cavity search
Cause of my Ferragamoes
You think because I can't dance
I'm not here and living a lie
You think because I'm with Bai, Indira, Rosa, and Carmela
I don't want Lena H.
Please
If you woke up in my pores
In this cocoa epidermis
You would be in a Huggies box
On the mutated Hudson shore
Acting hella nervous
So what you talkin' bout, Willis?

Before you knew you owned it, by Alice Walker

Expect nothing. Live frugally
On surprise.
become a stranger
To need of pity
Or, if compassion be freely
Given out
Take only enough
Stop short of urge to plead
Then purge away the need.

Wish for nothing larger
Than your own small heart
Or greater than a star;
Tame wild disappointment
With caress unmoved and cold
Make of it a parka
For your soul.

Discover the reason why
So tiny human midget
Exists at all
So scared unwise
But expect nothing. Live frugally
On surprise.