Amiri Imamu Baraka
Poet Laureate, Playwright, Speaker, Activist
STICK OF DYNAMITE (FREEDOM)
I took a stick of dynamite and through that bitch into my life
Family Blown up
D words like cuss words up in here
What makes somebody do something so dramatic?
Wings clipped head dipped
Shackles around my feet
I can’t fly I can’t breathe
Head towards the sky
Feet cemented to the ground I have to fly
Sticks of dynamite thrown into my life
So that I can fly I can breathe
I can do I can be
I haven’t been me
Deep inside I feel the essence of
What used to be me
I have become but a shell
You might not understand
You might not understand taking such
I could not breathe
I could not fly
Dynamite was all that I could cling to
Dynamite was my friend
I’ve got to blow this shit up and start again
I can’t do this
I think that I am soaring
Chains heavier than heavy can be
Weightier than weight can be
Have been pulling on me
And I’m supposed to just be
I’m supposed to just settle
Being the way it will be
But, fuck that, I need to be free
I need to breathe
I need to fly
I need to soar
I need to dip
I need to dive
Like a phoenix from the ashes
I shall rise
I must be me
I don’t know who I have been
But what I do know is that
There was there was little reciprocity.
Why must all responsibilities be on me?
My shoulders like a 400-pound gorilla Has been just sitting on me
Shitting on me I can’t do this anymore I must be free so
Dynamite became my best friend
Threw that bitch right
Into my life
So that freedom
I could be
AmberMarie ~La Femme Créole~ is a poet, spoken word artist, writer, author, inspirational speaker, dancer, singer, actor, painter…she is an artist. Her loves are those blissful things that tantalize the mind and senses. AmberMarie is the founder/creator of The LA Showcase, a Los Angeles based open mic established in 2008. She’s also a member of the eclectic band Stanky Gumbo, La Famille Creole.
AmberMarie is Creole (Black, French, Spanish, Cherokee and Blackfoot Indian). Her mother’s side of the family is from Shreveport, Louisiana and her father’s side of the family is from Houston, Texas. She was born and raised in Santa Maria, California. AmberMarie has lived in Palo Alto, California; San Diego, California; Honolulu, Hawaii; and currently resides in Los Angeles, California.
AmberMarie is divorced and has a beautiful, intelligent 16-year-old daughter, Ava Marie; a talented and brilliant 8-year-old son, Marvin “Tre Boogie,” and a smart and precocious 3-year-old son, Malachi. She also has two bonus babies, gorgeous Shaquay, 28, and talented Jaleel, 26, and two grandsons by way of Shaquay, Kameron, 9, and King, 4, with another little grandbaby on the way due in August 2019. AmberMarie is an ordained Kemetic-centered reverend who unashamedly and fiercely loves Mother/Father God and her family.
I was introduced to Nikki Giovanni through the poem, “Ego Tripping”
“I am so perfect so divine so ethereal so surreal
I cannot be comprehended
except by my permission”
“I sowed diamonds in my back yard
My bowels deliver uranium
the filings from my fingernails are
I was maybe a senior in high school when I found Giovanni through this poem at my local library. And I remember the embarrassed feeling I got after I read the poem. I thought…”who is this woman bragging on herself?” “who does she think she is to be referencing herself a Queen and being the mother to Hannibal and Noah?” I remember it felt great but it was also foreign. I almost didn’t want to be caught reading it.
What I realize now is that may have been my first time being introduced to an African American feminine narrative.
The poem wasn’t about doors or boats from Robert Frost.
The poem wasn’t about hope and feathers from Emily Dickinson.
It wasn’t the blues from Langston Hughes.
It wasn’t Walt Whitman or Anne Sexton or Paul Lawrence Dunbar…
or my beloved Maya Angelou and her Caged Bird…
Nikki Giovanni was the first time I read an African American woman refer to herself as beautiful and being directly connected to all things beautiful in the art world of poetry.
I remembering sitting on the floor in the middle of the aisle at the library and reading the poems in her book and imagining a Tennessee cloud looking like cotton candy… women being judged for the length of their Sunday school dresses… summer love… and even to this day when someone mentions her name… it makes me smile and remember meeting her in the library that afternoon.
When I walked across the Pettus Bridge in Selma for the 50th anniversary earlier this year, Rev. Al Sharpton said something in a sermon that struck a cord with me. He said, “We praise our dead and condemn the living.” It made me want to acknowledge everyone that has served as inspiration to me before they left this planet!
So today, I acknowledge Nikki Giovanni! I speak her name for inspiring me and making me feel so embarrassingly, wonderful and warm about myself one afternoon at the library 🙂 The audacity of learning from poetry!
“In an unfamiliar culture, it is wise to offer no innovations, no suggestions, or lessons. The epitome of sophistication is utter simplicity.” Maya Angelou
“My soul should always look back and wonder at the mountains I had climbed and the rivers I had forged and the challenges which still await down the road. I am strengthened by that knowledge.” Maya Angelou
When she was once being “timidly attacked” by a Hollywood producer who was interested in developing one of her short stories into a television show: “I promise you, you do not want me as your adversary because, once I feel myself under threat, I fight to win, and in that case I will forget that I am thirty years older than you, with a reputation for being passionate.” Maya Angelou
she continued in this chapter:
“I am never proud to participate in violence, yet, I know that each of us must care enough for ourselves, that we can be ready and able to come to our own defense when and wherever needed.” Maya Angelou
“Racism still rages behind many smiling faces, and women are still spoken of in some circles, as conveniently pretty vessels. Macon, Georgia is down south, New York City is up south. Blithering ignorance can be found wherever you choose to live.” Maya Angelou
“Southern themes will range from generous and luscious love to cruel and bitter hate, but no one can ever claim that the South is petty or indifferent. [In the south] black people walk with an air which implies “when I walk in, they may like me or dislike me, but everybody knows I’m here.” Maya Angelou
Jolivette: Art must be functional. Artist must be critical thinkers who observe, analyze, interrogate, and offer solutions to the problems within their (our) communities. As a poet, Dr. Mother Angelou observed the pain of her people.
She analyzed the conditions of her people. She interrogated herself to see how she could best contribute to the ongoing work, begun before she was born, to help heal the hurt and pain of her people. It is obvious that her answers came in the form of ‘be positive’ and ‘uplift’ your people with your work and words and your work-in-words. There is nothing more genuine than seeing ones own humanity and the humanity of others and being positive in the face of treacherous negativity.
How would you characterize Angelou’s style—her language, her tone, her choice of metaphors, and so on?
Continue reading Gifts for Mother Maya by Jolivette Anderson
April 4th =
The bornday of Dr. Maya Angelou
The assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Here’s one of her many messages, “Love Liberates”
1) Although Angelou writes almost exclusively for African Americans, she has a huge following from other races. Why do you think this is?
The Honorable Mother Maya writes from her experience as a human being first. Yes, I know that sounds cliche’-ish… “same-ing”, if you will, the initiation of a struggling explanation, but if one listened to ‘Mother-Sister’, you can sense what was an insistent appetency to set right and at the same time comfort in her addressing us… all of us. Although her literary gifts to us were addressed from a woman’s eyes, simply because she was one, she was the glowing and towering, vibrant, flowing seductive and insistent, yet sweetly confident member of this human race first and wanted us all to feel that same sublime rendering of naked and free’d expression of self.
Little girls, givers of life- [where her story and destiny begins] come in all colors and influences and each deserves love and encouraging and protecting. If the opposite is present, the difference dissipates and only the commonality of pain and tragedy, joy and ascending, remain- none of which is specific to any particular race, opinion, or culture. Her living is / was certainly on common ground with the human spirit set in each of us regardless of our location or station or not; as well as her truths. That kind of naked, bold, unencumbered, raw, vivid, biting and sometimes seducing caressing, and loving truth in her writing, sets us all on common playing ground.
How would you characterize Angelou’s style – her language, her tone, her choice of metaphors, and so on?
Continue reading Gifts for Mother Maya by Reverdia da’ River Woman