Today, July 16, 2009, is Mother Assata Shakur's Birthday. For those of you who do not know this brilliant, beautiful, warrior, sister, New Yorker, is a Black Panther who was unjustly arrested for allegedly killing a New Jersey State trooper, along with several other alleged crimes. While in prison she became pregnant and before giving birth she escaped prison and has had political asylum in Cuba since 1984. If you want to know more about her early life and about her involvement in the Panther Party and the Black Liberation Movement, her autobiography is a good place to start.Several years ago, I was invited to a private screening of her documentary entitled, "Eyes of the Rainbow", the film really moved me and inspired me to write a poem. I have been wanting to give her this poem for the longest while, but her location is top secret because the United States has a million dollar bounty on her head... Anyway, I just wanted to wish the 62 years old warrior a Happy Born Day and I hope that wherever she is, she is happy, blessed, at peace, and allowed to be a mother to her children... The process for writing this poem was a direct inspiration from Assata's words and wisdom... I love and thank you you Assata for your bravery in sharing your life and your story. Here is a poem for you:
"For Assata Shakur After Watching Eyes of the Rainbow"
I have learned to inhale the earth's hemp. Make knots in-between spaces of rope Gym class never taught me to climb.
Progressives and public schools who keep our hands tied. So, we aim for stars shaped like netted hoops, or Shoot for heaven via veins.
I remember, when I slept walked In and out periods of ringing bells: Liberty's death
Funerals of heritage Considered hobbies Regents testing our assimilation
Piecing history into a shapeless puzzle Never taken out of the box, so We stay stuck on the block
Trying to untie morning lies and mental detectors Swearing our hearts to a hanging flag, with No allegiance to life.
Those awake Still snuggle in blankets of torn stripes, Stitching up wounds of almost revolutionaries
Few seem to live through the ghost of the Sun's continent But there are traces of light in capoeira, shoutin' in church, Rebel armies gathering for prose/ tired of loosing just to gain humanity
Textbooks try to kill us all In some ways they have
Made black as good as gold Traded and molded Seasoned over fires Melted into pawns.
They dared us never to look back Towards the abyss of Atlantic water Flowing waves of salty tears
Of gods who cry over themselves Ashamed and proud
Because they know the majesty Behind the veil of water To the East.
**** All Rights Reserved to the author Judith Angeles***
Be Well in Writing,
Also, a snippet of the documentary brought to you via youtube ;) ... I want my to make my ancestors proud!