Culturally poetic

Extended Family

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Our extended family tree,
holds us beneath its shade,
weeping willow tears,
upon the roots of generations.

Our hybrid parity,
finds shelter within its glade,
yeilding fruit year to year,
from the seeds of diverse creations,

The rivers that rush and retreat,
wash us within its waves,
The Nile flows down my cheeks,
The Jordan crosses my inclination.

Many waters invade my memories,
overflowing my memory banks,
of kinship’s lost at sea,
memories unleashed like inundations.

Your blush hints hues of gypsy,
while brother forks Fulani in his fade,
my surrogate Sioux sister,
our cultures span the nations.

Our knitted history,
weaves us within its braid,
like Cairo Egyptian locks,
that survived for the duration.

Our extended family tree,
is by the shore of many rivers,
Gambezi, Zaire, Euphrates,
wetting our roots like survival stations

My sisters are like these,
a quench of thirst that delivers,
refreshing water to its source,
a joyous reunion of our relations!

Umoja (Unity)

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Umoja (United) written 1992 revised.

Could it be you’ve heard of me,
though we’ve never chanced to meet?
or maybe, we shared a common ancestor,
amid the Saharan heat.
My ancestors were Fulani,
Yoruba and Oyo,
Our cousins were Ashanti,
Hausa and Sokoto,
I am the Mansa’s daughter,
the griot from Segu,
Could it be we’ve met before,
somewhere in Timbuctoo?
My mother? An Angolan warrior,
who fought the Portuguese,
in Queen Nzingha’s army,
bringing white men to their knees,
My father was a nobleman,
a scholar at Jenne;
before the transatlantic voyage,
departed from Goree.

They churched us with Jesus,
in the belly of ‘the Whale’,
then sold us into slavery,
and  delivered us straight to hell,
Could be that you know me?
think you’ve seen my face before,
because they separated our family,
as soon as we reached the shore,
divided us by dozens,
and auctioned us on the block,
separated us from our cousins,
so we’d forget our talk,
customs, and our mores,
sold my brother to a planter,
sold my mother to a city store,
kept my sister in the  big house,
and forced her to become Massa’s whore.
with no regard to his spouse,
then sold her mixed race children,
prior to the Civil war.

Now I think you know me,
or shall I print another page?
Now you know my history,
and pain, that doesn’t die with age,
I thought slavery ended,
in the year of jubilee,
instead I found my love offended,
tarred  and feathered,
strung from a tree,
even after two Civil Rights bills,
we still ain’t free,
I know now you know me,
but I don’t want your apologies,
sympathy or blame,
this is about my ancestry,
and the need to know my own damn name!
give me back my family,
so my descendancy I can claim,
I know you know me, at least now you do,
Allow  me to introduce myself,
for brother I am you!

Bantu in our Blood

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There be Bantu in our blood,
Inkongo, and Budya,
Bassa-vah, and Swahili,
Ganda, Ga, and Ba-kossi,
if Kikuyu, then Macame,
spring from Kota? then Mahongwe,
all lovers of the song,
all writer’s of the wrong,
from the valley of the  rift,
we carried this thick swift,
language of our mother tongue,
thick as alluvial mud,
‘Cause there be Bantu in our blood.

We come from the Mountains of the Moon,
to the Mount of Cameroon,
from the Bight of Biafra,
to the plight of the diaspora,
we demand, the Bantu that was stole,
give us our words to restore our soul,
but we from Benin, always  winnin’
made a language all our own,
Washita muur,  or Seminole song,
language people, hooked on phonics,
we be talkin’ wit’ ebonics,
the same who created scattin’
are the same one’s created Pig Latin,
it don’t matter we be rappin’
Gullah, Creole, Patois,
!Klick, Kru, Sheetswa,
always quick to ask, “Say what?”
‘Cause there be Bantu in our blood.

We be spittin’ Hottentotten,
jazz, the blues, we’ll spoil you rotten,
we be speakin’ Wolof too,
French or English, parlais vu?
Before us, the King’s language was a dud,
But we injected Bantu in its blood.

~victori  10/2/12

Fed up

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So fed up with the rape and the lies,
my granddad ran away,
but they brought him back twice,
They cut off his foot the last time that he ran,
lt served its purpose made him feel less than a man.

He would’ve been worthless,
had they cut off his hands.
That Sunday they went to church,
and spoke about Christ,
how he healed the sick,
and caused the dead to rise.
If you speak about freedom,
then it comes with a price,
They preached how he made,
the ultimate sacrifice.

So fed up with the rape and the lies.
My grandma was raped,
right before grandaddy’s eyes,
by his own father, and she gave birth twice,
She named one Joe, the other one Ann,
Granddad never touched grandma again,
It served its purpose,
made him feel less than a man.

Massa went to war,
and brought his faithful slave Joe,
Up until then Joe didn’t know,
Until, grandma told, then it all hit the fan,
Massa used Joe as a human sheild,
to uphold the Confederacy was Massa’s will.

Joe had another plan,
he laid down on the field,
so that the bullets struck massa,
and he was killed,
which ended massa’s service,
and the Union did stand,
but it served another purpose,
made Joe feel more like a man!

victori Sep  16, 2012

From the Congo to the Ghetto

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Arising before Congo dawns,
to fresh air and gentle breezes,
the merchants, traders and artisans,
worked until daylight ceased.

They built homes carved from ogbegbe trees,
along tree lined avenues,
and wove silk sails, to sail the seas,
in hand crafted wooden canoes.

Talking drums, and braided hair,
and funerals bedecked in white,
drank palm wine, and played Oware,
our culture at its height.

Congo nights, of waning sun,
and dancing beneath the trees,
before the coming to Alkebulan
of the Portuguese.

Our language lost, we seek in vain,
and endlessly endeavor,
to secure passage rites, and regain,
our culture that was severed.

Although, we were content, whether,
our roots were Bantu, Ilebo, or Bushongo,
seems we can’t remember ever,
living in the Congo.

Arising now, before ghetto noons,
to pollution and an ozone layer,
unemployed December to jobless June,
surviving on a wing and a prayer.

Tenements and slums,
along littered avenues,
drunkards and illiterate bums,
and crack houses to abuse.

Processed hair and ghetto boxes,
blaring on the night,
synthetic drugs and narcotic toxins,
our culture in  its flight,

Ghetto nights of uzi’s exploding,
and brother’s  dying in the street,
a recurring sense of depression aboding,
but difficult to defeat.

Though our vision be blinded,
by our  oppresor’s hand
we seek to be reminded
of another land.

And though,  we are troubled yet,
from Watts to the townships of Soweto,
seems we can’t, ever seem to forget,
living in the ghetto.