Amiri Baraka Dies at 79

It saddened me to learn that poet, playwright, and black activist, Amiri Baraka died today at the age of 79.  He was an amazing (and controversial) poet and was also the founder and key contributor to the Black Arts Movement in the mid 1960s  to 1970s. In honor of Baraka, I would like to share with you the first poem I ever read of his. I’ll be completely honest with you. The first time I read this poem, it scared the shit out of me!

Amiri Baraka – Black Art

Poems are bullshit unless they are

teeth or trees or lemons piled

on a step. Or black ladies dying

of men leaving nickel hearts

beating them down. Fuck poems

and they are useful, wd the shoot

come at you, love what you are,

breathe like wrestlers, or shudder

strangely after pissing. We want live

words of the hip world live flesh &

coursing blood. Hearts Brains

Souls splintering fire. We want poems

like fists beating niggers out of Jocks

or dagger poems in the slimy bellies

of the owner-jews. Black poems to

smear on girdlemamma mulatto bitches

whose brains are red jelly stuck

between ‘lizabeth taylor’s toes. Stinking

Whores! We want “poems that kill.”

Assassin poems, Poems that shoot

guns. Poems that wrestle cops into alleys

and take their weapons leaving them dead

with tongues pulled out and sent to Ireland. Knockoff

poems for dope selling wops or slick halfwhite

politicians Airplane poems, rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

rrrrrrrrrrrrrrr . . . tuhtuhtuhtuhtuhtuhtuhtuhtuh

. . . rrrrrrrrrrrrrrr . . . Setting fire and death to

whities ass. Look at the Liberal

Spokesman for the jews clutch his throat

& puke himself into eternity . . . rrrrrrrr

There’s a negroleader pinned to

a bar stool in Sardi’s eyeballs melting

in hot flame Another negroleader

on the steps of the white house one

kneeling between the sheriff’s thighs

negotiating coolly for his people.

Agggh . . . stumbles across the room . . .

Put it on him, poem. Strip him naked

to the world! Another bad poem cracking

steel knuckles in a jewlady’s mouth

Poem scream poison gas on beasts in green berets

Clean out the world for virtue and love,

Let there be no love poems written

until love can exist freely and

cleanly. Let Black People understand

that they are the lovers and the sons

of lovers and warriors and sons

of warriors Are poems & poets &

all the loveliness here in the world

 

We want a black poem. And a

Black World.

Let the world be a Black Poem

And Let All Black People Speak This Poem

Silently

or LOUD

Source: The Vintage Book of African American Poetry

RIP Amiri Baraka

T437487_05

Advertisements

One thought on “Amiri Baraka Dies at 79

  1. We lost a great man. His verbal word is legendary. I wished I found his writing before his death. It is sad great men and woman are listen too after they leave us. Up to young writers to keep his words and thoughts alive. Thank you for remembering this man who held so many talents.

    Like

Don't Keep It to Yourself. Write It Down!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s