Thursday, September 16, 2010

Poetic Notes from MOP

These poems will resound as long and as deeply as any love poem ever written by anyone: Shakespeare, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sonja Sanchez, Maya et al.
--Fahizah Alim

Poetic Notes from MOP

Testimony, a Love Song


I remember when I met you, woman

The feeling has never left me

What is the magic of you, what is the mystery

Every day, you are there,

In my hair

In my skin

I hear you blowing in the wind


I remember when I first me you, man

You were strong then

Your hair was neat

Your fingernails were clean and cut

Your skin was glowing

Your ears were clean

You were confident, secure

Your voice was strong and commanding

I was proud to meet you

Had heard of you, heard your name

Knew you were a man of truth

You know I did everything to please you

Spoiled you, worshipped you above God

That was my sin

If the years have taught me anything

You are very much human

Sometimes less than human

When you beat me

Sometimes more than human

When you made love to me.


I have learned to listen to you, woman

You been right many times

When I was wrong

You knew what to do from the beginning

I didn’t but pretended I did

You begged me for years

Do right, nigguh, do right

What did I say

Shut up, bitch!

And kicked your ass

Only a fool would hurt a flower

Only a fool would destroy a rose.


If you love me so much

Why you treat me like you do

If you love me so much

Why you treat me like you do?


I make no excuses

Word is bond

If you cannot believe my words

We have no bond

I will keep trying til my words are truth

I went blind

No longer saw God

No longer cared for Him

Lost faith in myself, most of all

But look

The Spirit of God is upon me!


You act like the same nigguh to me

You don’t respect me as a woman

You don’t respect me as a human

It’s your way or no way

True, you haven’t beat me lately

But you act like you will

If I oppose you

Who can live like this?

I refuse to live in fear

I refuse

If you can’t make me feel secure

I will find someone else who can

If you cannot make me feel at peace

I will find someone else who can

If you cannot treat me with respect

I will find someone else who can!


I understand

And I submit

To truth

I submit

To God.


I’m going to see, man

You’ve told me millions of words

I will see

I want to believe you, but it’s hard

I want to trust you

But it’s hard

You’ve lied so much

You’ve done such terrible things to me

You’re the worse person I know

What else is wrong with you?

You’re too aggressive

You’re too extreme

You drink too much

You fuck too much

You cuss too much

You shout too much!


Why you let me love you again and again

If I’m so terrible

King Kong

I want to take you serious

But sometimes

You are full of hot air and gibberish!


You’re right

There is some good in you

We have good times together


You’re really a good person

But you always negate the good

With some terrible stuff

Sometimes you make me nervous

Sometimes I can’t relax with you

Sometimes I don’t’ feel safe and secure with you

Get yourself together

Don’t blow up every minute

I’m trying to control myself

I’m not perfect either

I have my faults

You know them better than anyone

I’m working on myself

Work on yourself

Take care of your business

And come at me right!

Where is your faith in Allah

You profess to the world

Keep your word, demonstrate your word

By your actions

And I’ll be your friend forever

I’ll be your very best friend.

--Marvin X

from Selected Poems, 1979, also In the Name of Love, Laney College Theatre production, 1981.

Moment in Paradise

Now that we are in heaven

Will the scars of hell ever heal?

Let’s take a midnight swim

Don’t be afraid, my beloved

The tide will return soon

Let us talk until then

We have not talked in so long

We have not been our true selves

In so long

I don’t even know who you are

Isn’t that strange

To be with a person

To love a person

Yet you do not know their worth

That is why we came to this land

We left the wilderness

To see who we really are

My beloved, look, the tide is in

Come, let’s take that midnight swim.


When the sun comes up, we are up

She is making mind tea with lemon and honey

Raul’s yellow boat still parked in the water

Maybe his nets have caught another shark

If so he will ask me to drive him to town

So he can sell it for 50 pesos

My beloved washing dishes on the shore

A gayle on her head

Just think, I have never told her how beautiful she is to me

Hell put chains on our hearts

Nothing is more painful

Than loving someone

Yet ignorance separates you

My beloved

One day I shall know who you are

And love you a thousand times more

For now, let us enjoy this moment in paradise

Come, massage me

Here in the shade

Rub around my neck and shoulders

Around my waist

Then I’ll massage you.

--Marvin X

from Selected Poems, 1979.

I Will Go into the City

I will go into the city

I will find work

I will find work

I will remember you, country woman

I will not forget you

Your laugh, your arguments

In order to learn

It is your way, let it be

How can I forget your lips

Your enchanting smile

I will not forget

The night we walked in the rain

Because it was free and we were free

For once we agree

The best of life is free

I will go into the city

I will find work

But you will be with me, country woman

When those city women come to devour me

With their sweet perfume

You will be there

Your spirit will protect me

I will never forget

How we sipped $1.00 margaritas

In the Mexican café in Chinatown

Our ride to the lake

Our picnic on the hill

The ranger spotted us with his binoculars

We did not care

We were filled

With the holy spirit of love

How can I forget

Hours in bed

We became children

Of the love spirit

Days, nights, mornings

Became one moment

Man and woman became one

Discovered their missing self

Eternal self

Self of love

Self of joy

Self of happiness realized

I will go into the city

I will find work

I will not forget you, country woman

I will return to claim you

In the name of love

I will claim you

Because you are woman

I will claim you

Because you are feeling and spirit

I will claim you

Because you are mind and beauty

I will claim you

Because you have given yourself to me so totally

I will claim you

In the name of Allah

I will claim you

For the glory of Allah

I will claim you.

--Marvin X

From Selected Poems, 1979.

The above poems are included in the forthcoming Mythology of Pussy and Dick, toward Healthy Psychosocial Sexuality, Black Bird Press, 1222 Dwight Way, Berkeley CA 94702, approximately 400 pages, suggested donation $49.95. Donations support Academy of Da Corner, 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland.

Son of Man, Proverbs by Marvin X, Harlem, 1968, Doug Harris photo

Fly to Allah, 1968, established Marvin X as one of the key poets of the Black Arts Movement and the father of Muslim American literature. See Dr. Mohja Kahf on Muslim American literature.

In the September, 1969, Negro Digest/Black World magazine, Chicago poet Johari Amimi reviewed Fly to Allah: Fly to Allah by Marvin X, is more than poetry--it is singing/song, it is meditation, it is spirit/flowing/flying, it is blackness celebrated, it is prophecy, it is life, is all of these things and more, beyond articulation. Brother Marvin X is flying us/our/selves to Allah.
And his strength is not merely aesthetic

who killed uncle tom
who killed uncle sam
Fly to Him
If you are from Him

Do not beat your woman
Love her!
She will leave you
If you beat her
She will leave you
If you do not beat her
Guard against her
she is weak
by nature
Protect her
Elevate her
Fly with her to Allah
You will be successful
You will dance forever
in the here/after
on earth
behind drummers
who never stop....

but in the many positives we blkpeople need in order to be to build ourselves (which precludes building a nation). Things we really need

For the moon submits
to the morning sun
where are you
in the circle of time
dry your eyes
sweet woman
let me rock your soul
with my Father's hands
I will not be here long.

...We are gods
black and beautiful we are
sailing through space/time
to a higher place
mountains/cities fall
as we march
into another world
much blacker than this....

There is more beauty here than should be spoken of in a review. Fly to Allah should be read & read & read & meditated upon & reread & reread &.... Thank you, Brother Marvin, for your gift to blkpeople....

...Farewell Harlem
Mecca of the west
Though saddened
I am moved
I smile within
I see my children
and I am a child
rising/taking control
and I am moved
to be here
a star
in Allah's heaven
Wa rah-matu-llahi
Wa barakatuh.
--Johari Amini (Jewel C. Latimore)
Negro Digest, September, 1969

During 1968-69, Marvin X lived underground in Harlem, resisting the Vietnam war. He worked at the New Lafayette Theatre in Harlem, serving as associate editor of Black Theatre magazine. His Harlem associates included Amiri Baraka, Larry Neal, Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, Don L. Lee, Sun Ra, Askia Toure, Milford Graves, Mae Jackson, Barbara Ann Teer. Ed Bullins was his host, along with the NLT family. He was also associated with Minister Farakhan and Akbar Muhammad at Mosque #7.

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