rough seas ahead

heard quite the interesting report yesterday. as to how at a recent reading, a group of poets were to be introduced individually at the beginning of the reading. everything went smoothly except that one poets name was left out from that opening intro- yusef komunyakaa.

then i hear about another reading where poets where invited to share work from two other poets as the image of the poets being honored is proudly displayed. now, take a guess who is the only poet that comes out and has no images displayed behind her?
is it sonia sanchez who chose to honor audre lourde and lucille clifton?

now i am going back to a recent reading where i was asked about strategies towards getting “those people” to show up for a reading since i might be more in touch with the needs of “your people” and what “my people” may want to hear.

flash back further to the dinner where i was asked “what kind of poet” i am.

the waters ahead are choppy like a mofo and show no signs of getting better. smooth seas feels more like the doldrums and all i can ask for is the occasional port to rest

with all that in mind, here is today’s mantra poem

Poem 34 from "C Train (Dream Boy's Story) and Thirteen Mexicans: Poems" by Jimmy Santiago Baca

No matter how many poems you tear up,
no matter how you use all your power and money
   to quiet the voices of freedom,
   to diminish their poetry, to discredit them,
   to exclude them from your reviews,
   to burn their videos, to trash their audio tapes,
   to use language as a weapon to destroy their integrity,
   to label them, stereotype them as vulgar or obscene,
   no matter how many academics you pay
to parrot your politics in book reviews and scholarly papers,
your fear and hysteria and accusations
will not silence their voices,
will not stop their words from reaching the people,
their free minds and golden spirits will always triumph,
will always be discovered
   by people struggling to live with honor,
   by dancers and singers seeking vigorous expression,
   by painters enchanted with color and metaphor,
   philosophers dazzled by original insight,
   and teachers who want to instruct without compromise.

© Jimmy Santiago Baca

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1 Comment

  1. Incredible.

    Both the context and the poem-response.

    We must never, ever believe that we have ‘arrived’ lest we be lulled into a false sense of security. The veil grows thick without watchfulness.

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