Guest Feature – Exerpt from Ntozake Shange

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For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow is Enuf Copyright © 1975, 1976, 1977 by Ntozake Shange

i can’t hear anythin

but maddening screams

& the soft strains of death

& you promised me

you promised me…

somebody/anybody

sing a black girl’s song

bring her out to know herself

to know you

but sing her rhythms

carin/struggle/hard times

sing her song of life

she’s been dead so long

closed in silence so long

she doesn’t know the sound

of her own voice

her infinite beauty

she’s half-notes scattered

without rhythm/no tune

sing her sighs

sing the song of her possibilities

sing a righteous gospel

let her be born

let her be born

and handled warmly.

 

Spoken Words for Silent Wars

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I speak for the people in places where hope

hangs its strings in the crack filled streets of Harlem
where iron style floors and bronze heavens

are polluted with “I told you so’s”
morgues loitered with toy soldiers

who died believing

defending a street corner

was keeping it real

Cousin

black-girl

She walks but she sleeps…
she sleeps her way down 35th street,

Chicago’s State Streets.
The project life booming
lights
camera
action,
whistles blowing the street life calling
undressing her body with its eyes
for she blooms into this new body just as suddenly as the sky rises
she rises
into womanhood…….
since that first flow of blood sent hormones racing against waves she sleeps
with those waves
feelings of pretend love from the streets
swallow that pill of ignorance,
dazed in ecstasy
she sleeps.

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Hennessy bottles, homo sags and Baphomet signs,

he sleeps
getting this paper either on the basketball court or the recording studio he stays true to the streets, so he thinks.
Blind hormones and rap songz creating another generation of sleepers
too bad he doesn’t know
that by the age of 10 he’s already red listed as one of NYPD’s takers.
polished A-k 47’s eagerly await just 8 more years until it’s their turn to accidentally
shoot away what consciousness he’s got left.
But he sleeps
and she sleeps
living dreams to the fullest only to never realize that it was just a dream
living life to the fullest only to die
wake up and not live.
never giving ourselves the opportunity to realize that sleep is just the cousin of death.
Because the almighty never sleeps

and his righteous angels you see they don’t sleep
and the messiah died
dying physically
only to wake up from this sort of temporary sleep because he was ordained to never sleep again.
cause you can only live once…..physically
your body’s life fading away in the distance
rats and insects tearing away at past dreams of disobedience
but will you ever wake up from this past slumber and really live?
or will you sleep,
and sleep,
and sleep…
to become more acquainted
with the cousin of death.