goodnight aime cesaire

April 22, 2008 at 9:50 pm (africa, anti-oppression, anti-racism, democratic republic of congo, poetry)

Aime Cesaire is dead/  His movement: negritude  was the philosophic and poetic expression of black self-love and self-pride.  And he was one of the messenger across continents maintaining our as blacks cultural discourse among the diaspora and Africa.  Cultural workers sucha as Aime throughout the centuries, especially in the post-slavery twentieth century created languages and fed communities throughout.  He was inspired by the Harlem Renaissance, born in the Carribbean-Martinique, and wrote about the Congo and Lumumba.

His writing gave me my first glimpses of Blackness and even though I disagree with some of articulations and interpretations of Black identity, i am grateful for the language the images the voice of a fierce Romanticism of the Black experience.

So goodnight.

check out The Root

and below: the Associate Press

Martinique poet Aime Cesaire dies at 94
From Associated Press

FORT-DE-FRANCE, Martinique (AP) — Aime Cesaire, a poet honored
throughout the French-speaking world and a crusader for West Indian
rights, has died at 94.

Cesaire died Thursday after at a Fort-de-France hospital where he was
being treated for heart problems and other ailments, said government
spokeswoman Marie Michele Darsieres.

He was one of the most celebrated cultural figures in the Caribbean
and was revered in his native Martinique, which sent him to France’s
parliament for nearly half a century and repeatedly elected him mayor
of the capital.

Cesaire helped found the “Black Student” journal in Paris in the
1930s that launched the idea of “negritude,” urging blacks to
cultivate pride in their heritage. His 1950 “Discourse on
Colonialism” became a classic of French political literature.

French Culture Minister Christine Albanel said Cesaire “imbued the
French language with his liberty and his revolt.”

“He made (the French language) beat to the rhythm of his spells, his
cries, his appeals to overcome oppression, invoking the soul of
subjugated peoples to urge the living to raise themselves up,” she

His best known works included the essay “Negro I am, Negro I Will
Remain” and the poem “Notes From a Return to the Native Land.”

Cesaire was born June 26, 1913, in Basse-Pointe, Martinique and moved
to France for high school and university studies. He graduated from
one of the country’s most elite institutes, the Ecole Normale

Cesaire returned to Martinique during World War II and taught at a
high school in Fort-de-France, where he served as mayor from 1945 to
2001, except for a blip in 1983-84.

Even political rivals paid him homage.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy successfully led a campaign last
year to change the name of Martinique’s airport in honor of Cesaire,
despite the poet’s refusal to meet him in the run-up to the 2007
French elections. Cesaire endorsed Sarkozy’s Socialist rival,
Segolene Royal.

Cesaire complained that Sarkozy had endorsed a 2005 French bill
citing the “positive role” of colonialism. Cesaire spoke ardently
against the measure’s language, and it was later removed after
complaints from former French colonies and France’s overseas

“I remain faithful to my beliefs and remain inflexibly
anti-colonialist, ” Cesaire said in a statement at the time.

Sarkozy on Thursday praised Cesaire as “a great poet” and a “great humanist.”

“As a free and independent spirit, throughout his whole life he
embodied the fight for the recognition of his identity and the
richness of his African roots,” Sarkozy said. “Through his universal
call for the respect of human dignity, consciousness and
responsibility, he will remain a symbol of hope for all oppressed

Royal called him “an eminent symbol of a mixed-race France” and urged
that he be buried in the Pantheon, where French heroes from Victor
to Marie and Pierre Curie are interred.

“A great voice has died out, that of a man of conviction, of
creation, of testimony, who awakened consciousness throughout his
life, blasted apart hypocrisies, brought hope to all who were
humiliated, and was a tireless fighter for human dignity,” Royal said.

Cesaire was the honorary president of her support committee during
the presidential campaign.

Cesaire was affiliated with the French Communist Party early in his
career but became disillusioned in the 1950s and founded the
Martinique Progressive Party in 1958. He later allied with the
Socialist Party in France’s National Assembly, where he served from
1946-1956 and 1958-1993.

Associated Press writer Angela Doland in Paris, France, contributed
to this report.

You can compromise on strategy and tactics, but not on principles.” (Barack Obama)

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i wanted to be strong for her

June 11, 2007 at 9:21 am (poetry)

i wanted to be strong for her

dredlocked witch

waxy brown skin

sidewalk palm reader closing down

for the night

she held my palm

said that it was difficult for me

to make committments

and not to go home with that man

across the street

but i wanted to prove

that i could take care of myself

i asked how did she do it

see into someone’s heart

with a glance

she said to worship the orisha

the dead and the everlasting

i needed to have strong faith

you think i should take it as a compliment

his crime of passion

perhaps in another life time

we could have been lovers

but in this lifetime

i am enraged scared

trying not to panic

acrid stairs

all i see are the orisha

nodding their heads

and pointing south

i am a bruja by fire

she is kneeling at her altar

we are chosen

we are not made

you asked me:

was it worth it?

yes it was worth holding onto my life

not the martyr beneath the blade

nor the handle of the knife

i am the tree in the window

swinging against the glass

i am a bird without feathers

flying to the border


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June 11, 2007 at 8:36 am (poetry)

a woman
with joy
to her death
with a hat

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somebody take out the red pen

June 11, 2007 at 8:35 am (anti-oppression, poetry)

Somebody take out the red pen

Somebody take out the red pen
And mark this page up
Set this poem on fire
Make it a love letter to dark alleys
And the neon signs shining
Somebody send out a shout
Let me know you are still there on the other end of this email
That just can’t end
Follow the black noise static
Inkspots on a bleached rocky edge
In my face my death I say
I am a fighter
And refuse to admit defeat
And I am her mother
All of this brown skin cracked lips
Peeling fingernails
And milk stained shirts
And the house the room
In the afternoon is warm
And thick with tree dust
Motherhood is a destination
With our child in one arm
And a machete in the other
Crossing the land of spirits to find our way home

Been burnt before
Fell to my knees
Scratched away from the edge
Refused the cool blade slicing the desert sunset
Like static slicing the alleys between skyscrapers
I have been violated
And I know you have too
Lightening strikes twice
So I carry a thin knife
Between my baby’s heart and mine
Maybe I will never use it
Maybe I wont have the steady hand
The skillful wrist
The flexible arms
But I want a chance to live
Without begging
For somebody

To saveus

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also angry arab translation of musa

June 7, 2007 at 8:34 am (middle east, palestine, poetry)

“O, comrade
My heart is fatigued
and my dreams are dark
My night is cold
and there are only
ashes in my fireplace
Do I sing?
I was singing yesterday
I had a house, and chats
and food
My fields were islands
of goodness, and I was
carrying the crop with
my right hand
and the joy of the folks
were in my left hand
O comrade
Don’t ask about the poems
I did not lose the white poems
They are enamored with my
night, woven with warmth and tales
My lazy beach
is slipping on the morning [like]
I have become, and my night, have
from bullets and shrapnels
and my morning is filling coasts
with the remains of victims
and blood is painting my horizons
with worries and disasters
o blood of children,
you have not left any remains
of love
you weave poetry, not
coals for fireplaces
producing warmth and filling
the womb of warmth with poems
o comrade
`Id has arrived, and my children
are barefoot
covering the sun with thin arms
`Id has arrived, and my children
are unclothed
And their nights with the boogyman
are long…
O comrade
For whom is God?
For whom is God?
For them, the conquerers?
to the women of the conquerers?
For the children of conquerers?
I will not pray for a god who
make the usurpers victorious
His face is in the face of my enemies
and his behind is in my face
His hand is giving my enemies
and I have not worshiped other
than Him
O comrade
My God has been lost
among the conquerers
I will not pray for a God
who is lost among the conquerors”

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for whom do i write

June 7, 2007 at 8:32 am (middle east, palestine, poetry)

angry arab

angry arab translation:

For Whom do I write by Lebanese poet, Musa Shu`ayb (who was assassinated by agents of the Syrian regime in 1980). His family just published a new collection of his poetry, and I thank them for my copy. (He wrote this about the 1967 defeat, in 1967. My translation):
“For whom do I write?
Do I wrote about you,
o my homeland
Do I write my sadness and bitterness
and the hopes of millions
that were buried without coffins?
Do I write about our history
which is mixed with mold
and on a time
when we lived outside of time
For whom do I write?
If I sob, they would
say a mourning poet
And if I act stoic,
they would say:
a lying outbidder
For whom do I write?
My comrades are
sellers on the market
mercenary right-wingers
leftists on paper
For whom do I write?
And rats are around me
biting what I write…
Because living in my country
is without a price
People in my country die
without a price
I heard a song yesterday
I heard a song on the radio
praising the nation of the Arabs
sanctifying the revolt of flames
spilling over with the curse of eras
I was ashamed that I was
my father’s son
I read yesterday about a man
He is named Che Guevara
He was mourned in my homeland
People cried over his death
in my homeland
They told stories about him…
and said poetry about him
Not one, of the revolutionaries
of my homeland
threw away his cup of coffee
abandoned his girlfriend
ignored the hair of his beard
Not one revolutionary,
threw his chair on the floor
walked toward death
distorting the suns of the equator
in order that flags of liberty
fly over these lands…
For whom do I write?
For the generation of dancing
in dark rooms
for the sick of Hamra street
where the revolution is planned
for Guevara who was named
a legend in Lebanon
So that they appear blameless
he became a legend
And the days of legends
have long gone in this East
For whom do I write?
I will write for the refugees…
for those who carry the sins of
for those who wash the shame
of civilizations and the sinners
with hunger, nakedness,
tears, and blood
And no homeland except
wind of illusion
and no shelter except
the humiliation of tents
I will write for those who are tired
Sprinkling on their horizon
my exhausted poetry
and swearing by death…
I will not lie.”

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black dot

November 2, 2006 at 6:23 pm (anti-oppression, middle east, palestine, poetry, west bank)

Black Dot



All they have left

Is their nightmares

Their dreams

Keep me wondering

Is this what a war means

If survival is worth bombs falling


Slumbering weak


Palestine heartache

Prayer to shaheed gods


Make this war end


Its going to take resurrection

Sin no escape

Miracles too late

But clocks haven’t stopped ticking


But medicine is illegal

I’m a witness

Can’t write about war,

A color-blind pigeon


I want justice

India ink dove


I could take the heartache

And run because its too much

Just to march to death beats


But my friends disappear in hell

Drink water and tea

And tell me

‘We’re just looking for something

To believe in

A piece of land

To build and dream in’


Evening call to pray

Drifts into the window

From a million star particles away

Get down on my knees

Smell powder

Lay awake for hours

Scratching out my heart disease



I’m not the only one awake

Only one that’s angry

Only one that thinks

Fighters are dreamers

Who dream

With bodies

On front lines of fear

Eternal black dot on a yin/yang symbol

Fists in the air

Survival is worth whatever war brings


Jesus resurrecting

His friends mourning

His demise

God shaheed

Asks me


If you aren’t outside the green line

Then where are you?


You think that palestinians and israelis

Don’t understand each other


They understand each other


Killing over land and water

Cash and barter


You don’t think you understand


But you do

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butterfly riot

November 2, 2006 at 5:33 pm (anti-oppression, democratic republic of congo, middle east, poetry, women of color)

Butterfly Riot


Not allowed to defend


Throwing rocks

At fenced wells

Watching gold butterfly

Lingering over sand pools

Quickly evaporating

No water

For thirsty

Except in jail

Majority breathes

Air that’s indigo soot

Shit stained back streets

And broken butterfly dreams

Speak history from dominant revisions

Plantation textbooks

Written in masters religion

Encaged in global genocide

Can’t hold us down

Can’t afford to hide

From suffering mama’s corn-rowed mind

We walk down the street

See who’s been left behind

Hearts encased in tanned hide

Protecting lungs

From crack filled highs

From black Jim lies

To gun gang strife

From revolutionary dreams

To jury and judiciaries

Pick us up we’re hurting

Each of us

Only got one heart


Every assumption


Each other grabbing

Crumbs under a table

While mama

Rocking a rich man’s cradle

Telling African

Childhood fables

There is no real difference

Between assimilation and apartheid


Marketing inversions

To destroy middle

Capitalism’s success

We mend a boat

To pick up

The bereft


Reaching for the dessicated

Dehydrated dream

Inside yellow butterflies

Exo-skeletal chest

Don’t offer us

Another way

Of dying died too

Many times before

Demarking conversions

To destroy middle

Passage conquest


The village children

And I throw crumbled newspaper

Off the mountains

To see what happens

‘How come they don’t understand

That they can’t have such large families

And be liberated?’

A moth floats by and blurs

Our vision just one more

For the revolution

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give and take

September 9, 2006 at 12:16 am (lebanon, poetry, west bank)

last night she was alive
tonight she s dead
turn off the television set
close the windows

im feeling lost in the yellow swing
state of tomorrow
borrowed from yesterday
prayed to live forgiven hidden traps
of trees longheld behind this mirror
forest green forgotten begotten ill-gotten
color cream dont be the beautiful child
duitiful on your knees
stand up hands up
high 5 free

throw me a lighter pocket fire pockets
refolded along the tailored seam
tailored dreams
stitches corroded
by gunpowder
cracks louder
by laser red
painting the tree

yesterday i was alive
today i am free

today is a mocking bird
rocking words
i am screaming words
silent like a whisper
between adam and eve

spinning worlds my head is spinning

primitive news battles
bomb shells on carcasses
winning the feed

i feed you bitter leaves teagrass
and sunflower seeds
the mountain recedes
the horizon is coming
grey blue ships on the color

skin matter skin wrap bone
wrap muscle
wrap faster
wrap earth oil
stop the bleeding beautiful children
portrayed on tv as just another
incurable disease

so we pull bandage
frantic bombs screaming
laughing at the obscene

off stage off time
off life off rhythm
since the beginning
of steel lips injection

take earth take fire take
oil take
black take
gold take
this morning i was alive
this evening i am resurrecting

somebody was shot today
unless you knew her
life is still seemless
war can still be looked at objectively
mountains are still mountains
rivers are still rivers

but for me
rivers are splitting mountains
in unequal halves

i will never know her name but
her body her children iconic

charred rubble


silent and breaking

my back

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writing in west bank

September 8, 2006 at 1:25 am (lebanon, palestine, poetry, Uncategorized, west bank)

these are some of my writings this summer in bethlehem. 

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