Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Preview of Poetry Issue, Journal of Pan African Studies

Poetry Issue of Journal of Pan African Studies Dedicated to Dingane (Jose Goncalves)

We are humbled to dedicate the poetry issue of the Journal of Pan African Studies to the Honorable Jose Goncalves, publisher and editor of the Journal of Black Poetry, the poetic Bible of the 60s Black Liberation/Black Arts Movement. No other journal in the history of American literature published so many poets. No other journal was more eclectic and democratic in its editorial policy. We thank Rudolph Lewis (a virtual reincarnation of Goncalves in his dedication to black literature in the electronic age) for compiling this summary of the work of Dingane and the Journal of Black Poetry. One day soon we plan to honor Dingane with a Journal of Black Poetry Festival.

FYI, some years before she made her transition to the ancestors, I gave poet-critic Sherley A. Williams a collection of the Journal of Black Poetry and asked her to do an anthology. I did not hear from my childhood friend on the anthology, but Dingane informed me that she completed it and submitted it to him, everything except an introduction, so he is working on publishing Sherley’s anthology (peace be upon her).

Finally, we honor Dingane because of his hard work, almost single handedly publishing and editing the JBP. It is the testament of what one person can do to ignite a prairie fire.

Yes, five hundred poets were heard through the journal, but just know one man often struggled alone through the night, sometimes neglecting family to get the word out, to advance the cultural revolution. Let the JBP be the model for today’s generation of cultural workers. Let our work be democratic, not subject to culture police who would silence some voices they consider not politically correct. In the tradition of Vudun, let all the gods represent, let us all dance to the rhythms of the drum.

The poets in this edition of the Journal of Pan African Studies represent BAM poets down to the Hip Hop generation with Bruce George, co-founder of Def Poetry Jam.

By the December publication date, we hope to have intergenerational representation from coast to coast. We hope you are included.

--Marvin X, Guest Editor

To date, the following poets have submitted material or have been invited to do so:

Askia Toure

Louis Reyes Rivera

Al Young

Paradise Jah Love

Ptah Allah El

Ayodele Nzingha

Devorah Major

Amiri Baraka

Kalamu Ya Salaam

Opal Palmer Adisa

Phavia Kujichagulia

Jeannette Drake

Bruce George

Itibari Zulu

Rudolph Lewis

Nandi Comer

Renaldo Manuel Ricketts

Anthony Mays

Dr. Tracey Owens Patton

Dike Okoro

J. Vern Cromartie

Hettie V. Williams

Neal E. Hall, MD

Kola Boof

Ishmael Reed

Ras Baraka

Ghasem Batamuntu

Sonia Sanchez

Nikki Giovanni

Marvin X

Selected Poems from Poetry Issue of Journal of Pan African Studies

I’m in a world

Bruce George

I’m in a world

of concrete and steel

of mace and riots

of endless talk

of endless plots

of prison politics

of taking orders

of giving orders

of recycled dreams

of letters gone unanswered

of funerals unattended

of lock-downs

of beat-downs

of testosterone

of claustrophobia

of anger

of no love

of no hope

of no peace!

I’m in a world

where you look through and not at

where you cry on the inside

where you die on the inside

where you take no prisoners

where you are taken prisoner

where time stands still

where time passes by

where you are forgotten

where you are not forgiven

where you lose your mind

where you lose your soul

yet I’m still a man

yet I’m still human

yet I’m a child of God

yet I’m free!

--Bruce George

Co-founder of Def Poetry Jam.

Again the Kora

My heart strings before me
no blockage
music is detox
unplugging centuries
failed reconstruction
terror of KKK
betrayal of all parties to conflict
jim crow

post black negro
neo jim crow
Obama drama

oh, kora
you take me out of here
another land, time, space,

trillion years ago
a thousand million nights

on the Senegal, Congo, Nile
I am the king, I farmer, builder, iron worker, goldsmith


I am that I am

Oh, Kora

soul of my soul
plucker of heart
dance holy dance of a thousand years
leap into the forest
hold the lion above head
dancers of the perfect mask
terror of manhood training
blood of womanhood
see and smell womanhood
men smell blood of the lion.

I am your love slave, oh Kora
in spite of myself
I submit willingly
to the voice of Allah

no getting out of this
no crawling, no slither
snake like

Oh, Kora

a light and love.
so it is.
--Marvin X


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photo by Alex Lear



(to nia, thanx for making me better)

to say

"i am touched

by you"

is to be



a person neither of us

was before

entering the other

more open, a sun of sensitivity

emotionally nude, erupting joy

& willing to kiss life open mouthed

emoting the vibrancy of glow

endemic to souls in the flow

in fact, it's even unscientific

not to evol

ve/not to love, not to

grow & give back

the only humans who actually evolve

are lovers

all others

just simply fuck and reproduce

the transformation

of touch

that's all

love is

—kalamu ya salaam

Kalamu ya salaam is one of the founders of the Southern Black Arts Movement.

Esther Rolle
(a poem in memory of the pioneering
black actress)

When you die...come back to life
So we can laugh and cry and curse the living!
O! I want to curse anything.

Drab concrete sky leaving me with too many songs.

Sadness leaves, because I forget the words.
The words are so many, I just wrinkle
up and laugh and squeeze my hurting hands.

I remember being young and frisky.
I remember being a creamy hot thing.
I remember the lemony days and hasty dreamy nights
that snuck away with the words.
Stole away.

The one song I remember, the one I loved
"when you die...come back to life."

--Kola Boof

I care about whichever word

by Louis Reyes Rivera

I care about whichever word

is used like grass

or turned to twist

& make a victim look like killer

or heard to sing like daybreak


An octorose of warmth





a dance of waves

the sun weaves in

an intricate of light

of gentle ripples

warmly dancing

weaving waves

of shadelit haze

like the sea ebbing into shore.

Even in the repetition

a word

means just as much to me

as morning's mist to dawn

the ease with which




for daylight rays

like the quick shot from a gun

or loosely lipping attitude

that can just as easily




or smile right back

in hard soft sounds

like a kitten's tender touch

a curious tiny paw wanting

but to be believed.

I like the word, determination,

a Black child learning how to read

the wonder of a family intact,

a puertorrican

grasping & digging

into our own past... becoming Borinqueño

studying Betances


Pachin Marin

listening to Malcolm



& full of care


in a loving nudge of words


deep inside the heart of thought

with Yes! Of course!

We got no choice

but grow!

& Be!

& Stand Up, Child...

Come & Change this world

with strength & perseverance

Come & Grace this Earth

with your own sense longing

like the octorose of warmth










winglike petals unto dawn

to soar, Yes, flying!

I like to hear Rashidah speak

I like to watch Zizwe's walk

the happenstance of Sekou's song

the lilting lyric in Safiya's sway

(& in case you do not know,

have never heard or watched them work:

Rashidah is an Ismaili,

a misspelled word

from the ink of census takers

conquering her land;

Zizwe, a child returned

from whence once stole,

Ngafua now an African at war;

Sekou but a blue lake

reclaiming lineage to Sundiata

undercoat guerilla born;

Safiya, black pearl caught

in the devil's hand

way back when Hendersons,

cut loose from prison cells,

sailed across atlantic gates

to rape the earth into a world

where poets have no chance.)

Despite it all, they sing & work,

they write & read,

they care,

get drunk

or pray,

while few will publish them their due,

fewer still will plant their books

into your hands,

your own calluses of soil





gripping all their pages,

holding them as dearly as you would

an octorose of warmth.

& yes

I like the word of action true

the sound of gunfire busting through

the doors

that hold back freedom blue



our own young Blackfolk

get cornered into hating what to do like Larry Davis

cracking through

the wall of crack

that would diffuse

whatever life a child could cling to/


in a vacuum of tenements jammed in despair

surrounded by a dozen cops

a dozen watchful dogs

hunting those who break

the must

& misty stink of deprivation

surrounded by a dozen cops


except for rifle



automatic in his hand

bursting through the door

this five foot four

Davis, Larry

hurls across a rooftop



striking out against

this hateful passion

cold city bred

escaping into freedom's scent

like the octorose of warmth










w i d e its span of wings

& soaring, Yes,

soaring high & bleeding from the heart

of nothing



in the anywake

of every word

struggling for the worth of hope that comes at dawn.

--Louis Reyes Rivera


I got reasons
reasons for war
reasons for inner peace
for my reasoning
it ain't random
you can put it on the margin
call it fringe
it’s a matter of the matter
ya condition is in
or the paradigm ya
lens is in
if its crazy to be sane
you know
how a double
consciousness go
walking and wounded
wounded still walking
behind the veil
I got my reasons
why I flaunt my nappy hair
still think in Ebonics
fluent in my overstanding of
the lens in ya literacy
and i still be me
got my reasons
why I don't care bout
ya reasons
season after season
it looks the same
it ain't geography that's
easy to see
its beyond the lie of race
it’s not nuanced in class
(I pray ya the last of a dying
breed) cuz I
can't explain the greed
what kind of fear
prompts that kind of need
but I see it
and I reason
I don't matter
so I stay brave
enough to smell rain coming
get my news from the dead
eat well
sleep on clean sheets
and wear oils of lavender and frankincense
while I can
I reason time belongs to God
and you are
you got ya reasons
I guess to be confused
manipulating thangs
the way you do
what's a lie told
over and over
it’s the truth
broadcast it and
make it divine
but season
after season
I resist the
change necessary
to see through your
I got my reasons
with this target
on my back
I lack the motivation
to see how you reason
your rationales
decide ya bottom lines
devise ya acceptable collateral
damage tolerance
I got little tolerance
for ignorance
and reasons
not to trust you
done studied you thru Tuskegee
and the subways
don't trust you on the airways
seen you thru the haze
covering the high ways
as you follow the oil pipe ways
seen you
my eyes were open
(heard you plotting death
and everyone's destruction)
my ears were open
(God don't forgive em
they don't care what
dem do)
feel you wining
when I’m quiet
so I got reasons
to scream
I got reasons
to sleep eyes open
I got reasons
not to forget you
jailer keys jangling from the
belt below your fat belly
I remember them dumb
(its true you eat your young)
big ass eco foot prints
yes and ships
weapons of mass destruction
and doctrine
manifesting ya reasons
to suit ya actions
I got reasons to
fear your secret thoughts
and your out loud lies
got reasons
to hit ya with the stank eye
while keeping my good eye on you
got reasons
to say ju ju when you pass
spit in the road and burn herbs
where are the souls that
should show though the eyes
I fear the reality
behind your disguise
I got reasons
to pray to old Gods
got reasons to
read more than the gospel
(yeah though I live in
in Babylon where idiots do
get they babble on)
got reasons to
teach my young to
beware merry go rounds
and lies about shiny things
that you pay for with ya soul
teaching em’ to remember
no matter how it hurts
to know the truth
instructing them to
ward off evil
by working
hex the devil
by dreaming
saying to them
write poems
don't kill one another
even lyrically
love the old
protect the young
sharpen intellects
to sword points
to make my point
got reasons
to keep reasoning
with the tone deaf choir
(more fire aya)
until its
too late
for reason
reasoning or


Ayodele “WordSlanger” Nzinga

Nada mas para ahora!

--Marvin X

The Journal of Pan African Studies is an online journal.

Senior Editor,

Itibari Zulu

send submissions to

Guest Editor:


MS Word document, include brief bio

Deadline extended to

October 15, 2010

December publication date

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