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:XPERlENCt 
rACHUSETTS 




V'^^w 




1st New England Regional 

Black Poetry & Photography 

Anthology 1975 



STAFF 

Editor Eugene Niles 

Literary Editor Clyde Santana 

Art Editor Clement Roach 

Asst. Co-Editor Denise Wallace 

Administrative Secretary . . . David Thaxton 

Fiscal Roy Tiller 

Reporters Carol Boiling 

Sandra Jackson 
Rick Thompson 

Photography Staff Robert Miles 

Juan Durruthy 
Ken Robinson 

Office Staff Mazie Hughes 

Dawn Bates 
Angie Smalls 



DEDICATION 



This issue of the DRUM I dedicate to the 1960's and the 
1970's where a new word displaced an old mind; where a new 
mind begot a new identity; where a new identity prophesied a 
new history. 

This issue of the DRUM I dedicate to the martyrs of the 
struggle stilled by bullets and slander; to the exhorting poets; to 
the musicians of our awakening; to the Mujeddid, his 
trumpeting voice calling us to evolve to the highest state of 
morality and knowledge. 

I dedicate this issue to the 1960's: the outward struggle 
between the forces of good and evil; to the 1970's: the inner 
struggle, the struggle between Concepts and misconception, 
between subliminal seduction and divine introduction: An era of 
purification. 

I dedicate this issue to a certified vision, a certified destiny 
for those of righteousness; a destiny conferred by the knowledge 
of self and others, the knowledge of nature, the knowledge of the 
world and the prophesy of history. 

This issue of the DRUM I dedicate to a time when the veils 
of individuality no longer distract us; when we move as a 
collective body— mind with one vision, with one mission to build 
an incollapsible civilization; when we shall be exalted as Masters 
of Good and teach all the sanctity of life. 

Sister Sonia Sanchez 
May, 1975 



EDITORIAL 



The DRUM magazine expresses its extreme appreciation 
for the use of the following individual's photographic and 
literary materials. We consider their efforts to be of an 
outstanding quality during a time when re-organization, 
evaluation and selection of proficiently executed work is of a dire 
necessity. It must be the total collective goal of educating and re- 
orienting our people in attempting to elevate their sensitivities 
towards re-discovering and appreciating the exellence so 
prevalent in the origins of our rich and vibrant cultural 
traditions. 

Also, we sincerely hope that other organizations including 
those whose programs receive assistance from the Bicentennial 
Funds, take the initiative to commence and perpetuate positive 
documentation that will assist an underexposed public to arrive 
at the realization that "Yes there is a Black literary aesthetic in 
New England." It is only appropriate that I dedicate the ensuing 
lines to all those poets and photographers who made this 
endeavor possible for without their considerations and efforts, 
this edition could not have materialized. Therefore .... 



We are the Black Aesthetic 

We are the Black Aesthetic 

The Sounds and memories 

of eons of spiritual harmony 

comprised as a unity. 
An entity within the realms of 

a phenomenal light source 
As you acknowledge our substance 

Use us-to guide your strengths, 

And disperse of our weaknesses 

We are the Black Aesthetic 

The growing voices of the yearlings 

eager to add to the memories of 
Spiritual harmony. 

Our already ever growing energies 

Are the spices of "Blueness" itself 
As the sun does not shine we become 
the proud bearers of a noble 
absence of light 
And our images become visual pictures of reality, 

on the soul- less shadows of an alien humanity 
Look to us for direction and comfort 

For our voices and melodies will always- 
Be Heard 

Clyde Santana 




Photoby WILSON BEN 

R. I. School of Design 

Providence. R.I. 




motion of dark loves 



I have sucked 

the wind 

and that 

phase of my being 

which grieves the elegance 
of its own pure heat/ the proud pain 
of mighty spirits force filling 

the soft meat's mind. 

love you as I am. 
and feel 

and wish the ravenous 
fires of stars melt us 



in the fertile heat 



of our beginning 



McKinley Moore 
Amherst, Ma. 



BICENTENNIAL HYMN FOR THREE VOICES 



And am I black enough? 

"Slavery had stretched its dark wings of death 

Over the land 

The church stood silently by 

The priests prophesied falsely 

And the people loved to have it so. 

Its throne is established." 

Select from all dark history 

As we prepare the bicentennial year 

Brief sparks of light 

That in their flickering brightness 

Deny the gloom that has defined our lives. 

We know no one at Canaan who could see 

The terror on young Garnet's face 

Work through him to some deeper place 

Where terror is transformed. 

Omit the words of Grumwell who was there 

Who saw the farmers and their oxen 

Who heard the curses honed on yankee twang 

And felt the flames that ate the inoffensive wood. 

Such memory could only make us groan 

It does not gild New England's high esteem. 

Someone must die in this cause 

In Boston, Walker summed it so 

Who would not flee to Canada and to life. 

"I may be doomed to the stake 

The fire or to the scaffold tree 

But it is not in me 

To falter if I can promote 

The work of emancipation." He 

Wrote in four articles his Appeal 

To give the world development of facts. 



10 



This fire-filled footnote to our story 

Where did he die in Boston? 

better where in Boston did he stand? 

His monument? 

His name? 

His name disastrous vacancy 

Slow pulsing ache 

Which like a rotting tooth 

We must inlay with gold. 

Charles Lennox Redmond, Massachusetts bred 

Was he so gently rocked by Yankee hands 

So softly cradled in the lap of liberty 

That he was soothed into a cooing milk-fed calm? 

By his own mention 

No peacemaker he, but 

Irritable, excitable, quarrelsome 

He who prayed 

That he may never cease his irritation 

Or hush and corner his excitement 

That quarrelsome words would mark him till 

Free men and freedom walked both wide and known. 

And am I black enough? 

Begin the celebration of the holy myth 

That moved Columbus' sanctimonious hand 

To leaf through scripture, mark Isaiah 

And then hew down the natives of those isles 

Most noble captain, half insane 

Commander of the ocean sea 

To bear so lofty and debased a light. 



Times passes but 
We lay gently together 
Stopping time as 
the world goes busily 
by. 

Reflecting on the 

Global situation. 

Past, present and 

Future. 

Ours is a continuous 

Struggle. 

Recession, inflation 

Depression? 

We have always been 

depressed and suppressed 

As a people. 

Waiting, hoping, praying 
For a better tomorrow. 
No new thing to us. 
So, deal with it 
white America — for 
Only the strong 
Survive. 



Cynthia Dixon 
Stamford, Conn. 



11 



sometimes i think of maryland . 



big old houses have passed away 
like summer's dust 

green apples/polk salad/the A.M.E. Church 

blue sky and Rev. Baddy's sermon 

the safety of grandma's rocker 

a lullaby from her knee/her sweet voice 

her hands so clean and praying/ or scolding 

she tends her mother's grave 

her father was a slave 

"go to sleepy little baby 

go to sleepy little baby 

when you wake patty patty cake 

ride a big white pony" 

a brown flood breaks the banks 

down at the branch/ where i wrote my first poem 

and flowers bloom in a vacant yard 

where there was once a house/with a porch 

and six low steps with carpet painted on 

i place my head next to earth 
and listen deep for voices 
recognition/ memory 
song 

close my hand over empty soil 
where once grew corn and collards 
and tomatoes 2 lbs. big 

close my eyes to see the patchwork quilt 

of time and impossibility 

that covers me like kente cloth 

and i close my eyes to see 

no longer growing up but older 

a woman who bleeds with the moon 

and waits for a child 

to burden with this heritage. 



— Jodi Braxton 
New Haven, Conn. 



12 



i am invisible 



i am invisible 

no where is my birth recorded 

nor my name mentioned 

my image has not yet been captured 

on screen or canvas 
in fact, i can't find it on the 

mirror's surface 
and yet i l<now that as i say what i have, 
to remember i can remember my thoughts 
and recall vividly the pain inflicted from 

within and cut 
i am and must have been 

yet i remain invisible 



I, me, not seen. 

not seen when I was bathed in the color of my mother's mother 
working the land that had spawned 

kings/queens/warrior gods/and 
maidens' dreams made real and of 
men and children 
not seen at the dusk of dawn praying 
chanting happily the song of the earth/the crops/ 

those before us and those to follow 
not seen swimming/dancing/laughing/and/crying at the 
course of events which marked a life of one interwoven 
in a family/clan/village/in Africa. 



I, me. not seen 

when i was betrayed and bartered for the bullet that 
found its way to my father 

that forced my mother to claim the passions of the MAN. 

to wander along the roads of the interior to the exterior 
chanting in the tongue of the barren the songs of hell 
that ended the possible extension of my father's and 
mother's dream of giving me more brothers and sisters 



13 



me. not seen. 

when I assumed my most famous role on the block of auction 
as an immoral darkie prancing naked impatiently awaiting 
to be bought 
undressed by hands whose color was nowhere close to mine and 
forced by a whip to stand in the market 
defiled and descrated 
under the banner like, liberty and the pursued 



me . . . not seen 
not seen emancipated after the war 
I was still here chains, lashed back, and all 
waiting for 40 acres and a mule 
waiting all the time waiting 

for what? a house burned? to be called nigger? 
THE GREAT Af^/IERICAN DREAM? 



I me . . . not seen 

not seen when I entered the promised land of the north 
didn't know i was here 'till i overheard some whiteman 
say nigger the way northern people do 
you know nigga/and/nigger 

no promises fulfilled up north. not for us at least 
no jobs and plenty of name calling 
in the north niggers ain't lazy they are irresponsible 
and their women ain't bitches they is whores 
no Grace saved us 

no nothing .... the north ain't nothing 
I, me wasn't seen 
when i marched and sang on the right key 
WE SHALL OVERCOME 
WE SHALL OVERCOME 
when i sang 
when i stood in front of the lincoln monument 
when i cried when johnny got shot . . . i cried especially 
hard when they played back his 

REMEM BER NOT what america can do for you 
but ask what you can do for 
who who johnny who 
who can do what for who 



14 



I me wasn't seen 

when i shouted BLACK POWER 
started hoping my sons would be Nkrumahs and Malcolms 

not little john-johns, 
when i stopped speaking english 
and started wearing no clothes clothes 
when i stopped ultra-pressing and started afro-sheening 
I me . . . wasn't seen 

when I became superfly's woman 
and took a lead role in sounder 
when i became a super woman, a super shoe a super intellectual 
a super black, a black super black 

I ain't no agent!!!!! 



I me . . . wasn't seen 
when I was here 
and moved there 
when I did this and that 
when i was 
Me . . . wasn't seen 
is not seen 
won't be seen for awhile 
I am invisible 

nowhere is my birth recorded 
nor may name mentioned 

my image has not yet been captured 
on canvass or screen 
infact i can't find it on the mirror's surface 
and yet I know that as I say what I have said 
and recall vividly the pain inflicted from with in and 
out 
I AM and MUST HAVE BEEN 



Janet Lorrayne Cormier 

Mt. Holyoke College, 

South Hadley, Ma. 



15 



Untitled . . . 



The pain of being here . . . 

late and lonely 

The walls heavy with stillness 

passing cars dent my consciousness 

Answerless questions badger my soul 

I am still warm in places where you touched me 

The fragrance of our togetherness is still fresh 
though I keep it carefully locked away 

Your name floats and intermingles throughout my reminiscing 
. . . and I catch myself smiling 

Miss you? . . . yes . . . and all you bring to mind 
This is my debt 

The night after . . . 



T J Williams 

R.I. School of Design 

Providence, R.i. 



16 



1 hear the sound of a newly made drum 
Beating a rhythm well known to my ears 
Where the land is loved by the people 
And my beautiful dark skin will shine and 

smile as if satisfied 
Or it's thirst quenched by being wrapped 

in the blanket of the sun 
And washed with the clear clean waters of the 

clouds 
Let me oil my skin with oil of ambrosia 
And wash my face with the sponges of the sea 
Cleanse my mind 
Surrounded by the purity 
The purity of truth and love 
Let me bathe in this paradise that I dream of 
And I will smile to spread love 
And laugh because of my fulfilled happiness 



Hope Morgan '77 

Smith College 

Northampton, Ma. 



17 



Transition 



We come and we go 
but we leave behind 
growing fragments 
of our minds 

We come and we go 

Implanting seeds of thought 

in an adverse terrain 
in hope that the fruit of our dreams 

might be the gain 
of those that follow 

Instilling the will to survive 

in those who have been denied 
the right to be 

self-identified 

in their lives as they grow 

So we come and we go 
but we leave behind 

those growing fragments 
of our minds 

We come and we go 



A. Wayne Ledbetter 
Brown University 



Africa in a Vision 



As I slept I saw rich black soil 

that truely deserved to be called IVIotherland 
for it gave birth to an abundance of greenery 

As my mind wandered I saw beautiful ebony people 

gracefully moving to unique rhythms 

this IS my begin/ning 



Clara McKnight 
Providence College 



18 




■■•••.\vv\< / 

m 



Photo by RUFUS NICKENS 
New Haven, Conn. 



19 



Your question, my answer. 
VIBRATIONS BLACK MAMA 



Black mama, Cold and hot heat rushes up and down my spine 
your fresh waves forever on my mind. 
I want to be a queen, can I Black Mama? 
Remember the last time we rode the troubled tune 
pushing past peace, change, the man poppon' his games. 

Black Mama, I want to be a junkie, a priest . . . 
Poverty games, games called pull us down 
I want to taste the lips of my own 

Then rythmic vibrations taking over our minds, 
next stop the immortal galaxy of no time 

Feel the rain clean on my naked flesh! 

Uh, la la la la, uh la la la, uh 

Black Mama, I want to hold the sun in my hand and feel 
my skin burn in pain 

And I want to be heard loud and clear, coming down around 
my mourners I shall not hear 

Black Mama, I want to inject death into my soul 
So don't cry because you fail to understand why 
I need to feel the solitude of sleeping an endless 
dream 

Then Black Mama, guiding universe, light in my 
darkness, nector for my thirst . . . Ahh lady sweetness . . . 
I want to live 



Patricia Johnson and 

Kathleen Richardson 

Boston, Ma. 



20 



UNDER YOUR SMILE 

As I walk into the building 
And my body brushes yours 
You jump with "O excuse me" 
Still pushing for the doors 
With LIBERATION on your face 
Knowing all the while 
The terror in your heart 
And the hatred 
Under your smile 

As you wickedly manipulate 
All my ups and downs 
You're telling me we're equal 
Still . . . injustices are found 
"We're sisters, friends, comrads" 
Knowing all the while 
The terror in your heart 
And the hatred 
Under your smile 

I see feelings in you 

Your mother showed to mine 

I see the lies, the evils 

And the trickery that shines 

You watch your empire crumble 

knowing all the while 

The terror in your heart 

And the hatred 

Under your smile 

Your cry is "Sisters Unite, 

As women we shall be free." 

But you question my true beauty 

My loves, my dignity 

Then you say my mind's not open 

Knowing all the while 

The terror in your heart 

And the hatred 

Under your smile 

"Women's Liberation" 

Is a line I can't defend 

Until I feed my children 

Until I free my men. 

So . . . you watch, you laugh, you listen 

Knowing all the while 

the terror in your heart 

And the hatred 

Under My smile. 



TJ Williams 
R. I. School of Design 21 

Providence, R.I. 



Momma 



She always said 

y'all miss me when 
I'm gone 
and we'd laugh and crack jokes 

but I guess 
It's not very funny-really 

because it's hard to conceive 
of such a loneliness/ 
void now 

To she who has passed 
life/love to me 

A song 
As long as the winds play their song to 
the trees 

and the sound of children's laughter echoes 
through the mountains 

And the ocean's waters rush to Quench the 
tempered sandy shores 
May You Know Peace 
and 

Contentment, Momma 



William Foster 
Amherst, Ma. 



Haiku 



Eyes trembling in fear 
painfully seal themselves 
to rest till morning. 



Tommy Jones 
Amherst, Ma. 



22 



worryin' about what's gonna happen don't do noone no good, so 
just do it n don't worry 



ahhh ba-by 

thinkin' about lovin' nne 

ain't gonna get u 

noooooo-where 

all u gotta do 

is get it onnnnn 

n not worry a-bout 

next year 

i ain't assskin' 

forever 

all i want is uuuuu 

now 

n I'll worry a-bout 

tomorrow 

tomorrow 



cathy tunick 

written anytime a brother 

starts talkin' about any 

kind of bullshit to get out 

of doing the do 

Willimantic, Conn. 



Yesterday 



Yesterday, 

I saw you! 
You smiled at me 

and 
In that single moment 

memories 

of us 
flashed through my mind. 

Then, 

your lady returned 
and took your hand. 

My lips returned your smile 

while 
my eyes held back the tears. 



VioletteO. Haldane 
Hartford Conn. 



23 



Notes from a Summer Day 



and on warm days 

i remember 

crusty brown fingers 

dipping into stale barrels 

lifting acrid sour scents 

that floated in their own time. 

i remember 

green rubbery cucumbers 

pickled for months 

waiting for some child to buy. 

and there are moments 

of skinny kids playing 

while sucking puckering pickles 

stabbed with peppermint sticks. 

i remember on warm days 
baking cookies 
with brown dough 
crawling underneath my nails 
finding its way to my mouth 
and finally the oven, 
there are times of my sister 
burning cakes and pies 
and the sing song quality 
of lingering cookie rhymes. 

and with it all 

there are hours 

of watching mama scrub 

dirty floors, 

her ashy knees 

making dents 

where she knelt; 

soapy rubbery sponges 

diving into a rusty gray bucket 

and ammonia fumes rising 

to her dark face 

bringing tears 

she's needed for a long time. 



24 



i remember dark nights 

when the rain beat 

against my skin 

while watching buildings 

dim their lights 

then huddle together 

like prisoners in cramped cells; 

of sirens screaming 

& blinking in the streets. 

at those times 

i saw the eyes 

of Shango flash 

from some ancient picture 

and saw myself rise 

with painted body 

to dance with my people. 

i remember smells 

of unemptied garbage pails, 

heavy like the vomit aftersmell 

of some drunk uncle's mouth, 

their sour stuffy fumes 

mixing with the sound 

of maggots flying 

as they feasted on the carcass 

of dead chickens. 

and i remember 

softer moments 

of hot humid nights 

when you cradled my body 

and we flowed like black oil 

to the liquid motion 

of Keith Jarrets's keyboard. 



Irma McClaurin 
Amherst, Ma. 



25 



I Smile Stevie 



I smile like 

You want me to 

But my heart isn't in it. 

I watch you 
Interact. I 
analyze and 
Compare. You are a 
Strange people 
Indeed! 

The price of your 

Past sins is being 

Paid needless to 

say-everyday. 

And now 

You 

Weep 

So I'll smile 
with satisfaction, 
In knowing that 
What goes around, 
Comes around and 
Karma's got your number. 



Cynthia Dixon 
Stanford, Conn. 



26 



LEGACY 



Oh Mama 
Forgotten Mama 
The one who never held 
her child 

had him ripped, torn from her 

arms 

yanked from her aching breast 

taken from the shelter of her 

love 

by that peculiar institution 

Mama 

Long gone forgotten Mama 

who cried, begged 

pleaded 

on bleeding knees 

to the God in the sky 

for her lost child 

Dear Mama 

who had the strength 

to go on living 

and giving us your never 

held child 

who gave us Malcolm, Martin, and Medgar 

Oh Mama long gone forgotten Mama 
whose roots are as deep as the 
tallest oldest tree 
you're not so long gone 
how could you be 
with all you've given 
Mama mine 
Mama us 



Keryl Thompson 
Amherst, Ma. 



27 



Purpose 



Hang out 

in 
your heart 
letting 

the 
fluids 
soothe 

feel the flow, 
blood pulses 
pushes rushes 
cleanses 

the 
transcendental 

soul 

washes 
whirls of strength regained 

as 
echoing mists 
of 
a 
quietsoftness 
are 
heard 
with 
herbal movements 

of 
red clover 

aaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh 



om 


oooooommm 






i 
reach 








in 








touch 








myself 












Raama Amer 


1 Ra 






Springfield, 


Ma. 



28 



My Past 



I, like all 
mankind, ana 
born pregnant 
with a past, 
existing like a 
second child, 
destined to be 
larger than the 
first/me. 

I am the only 
parent/ nurse/ 
responsible, my 
past, an outgrowth of 
my life/ womb/side, 
he feeds from a 
similac breast/life, with 
me in control of milk. 

i live as the 

food of my past, 

feeding him all 

love / hate / failure / success 

as i LEAD my life; 

he is my only hope. 

i live downhill as he 
learns to break away, to 
run up to meet the critic/world, 
to show himself/me, to bid for 
memories .... 

epilogue : when 
i lay on my 
last bed, he will 
bare himself 
to show me 
what i have created, 
a happy man in 
death has made a 
strong valued 
past/self, and 
smiles in joy of 
his/self/twin's 
independence, a 
sad man has created 
death, dying twice as 
hard from the 
shock/sad. i. 
live/long for my 
last thoughts to 

smile Sterling L Rex, Jr. 29 

Amherst, Ma. 



NO SIGNS 



I don't see any signs. 

Which mountain shall I climb? 

There is an abyss that separates me 

From the vast and rugged land of opportunity. 

Should I roam forever in the endless flat lands 

And discover the deserts and tundras that surround me. 

No, I will seek a new land 

Where people are treated kindly and not ignored. 

I will continue to struggle 

For to give up a struggle that lasts 

Is a mistake, for time will inevitably pass. 

How easy would it be if one could realize 

And steady the ever vibrating needle of fate. 

Gone would be your obsessions. 

Never again would you travel the road of aimlessness. 

The last time I felt the force 

I felt pressured all over and thought even worse. 

1 have had enough of this system. 

It is choking my ambition. 

But here again today I feel preoccupied 

There is something in me that cannot be digested 

I tried to make up my mind again 

But found myself right where I had been. 



El Malo Stone (Wayne D. Gusman) 
New London, Connecticut 



30 



"From where I live" 



From where i live 

the world seems cold 

as I stare at the endless gray 

in the expanse of sky i must look upon 

at the beginning of a meaningless day. 

for where i live 

young men grow old 

as the tears agonizingly pass by 

with kodak pictures turned and cracked by tears 

from tired but ageless eyes. 

now where i live 

it can be said 

that men have paid the cost 

our minds and bodies systematically bled 

our sanity regained and lost. 

Die where i live 

in an environment 

of concrete mortar and steel 

clubs gases and guns 
plus the sharp prongs of barbed wire 

my body now numb 
No longer can feel. 



M. Zur Hathim (a.k.a. ralph c hamm) 

Walpole, Ma. 



31 



4?Vs:: 



Photo by KENNETH HALE 
Amherst, Ma. 



Soul Food 



Son, she said, 
on days 

when the ice box 
is empty 

prayer 

is knee bone 

soup. 



Everett Hoagland 
New Bedford, Ma. 



i usta wanna . . . 



i usta wanna write like her 

but then i know that i ain't her — never can be. 

i usta wanna sing like her 

but then i know that i ain't her — never can be. 

i usta wanna dance like her 

but then i know that i ain't her — never can be. 

i usta wanna 

wanna 

wanna 
i usta wanna — but then i know that i ain't them — 

never can be. 

Now is my time to rise and shout 

and let it be known that i shall be. 

Now is my time to love and shout 

and let it be known that i am me. 

Now is my time — through work and more work 
if need be. 

But, it's my time 
my life 
ME! 



Lynette Rene Yager 

Emerson College 

Boston, Ma. 



33 



ONLY FOR THE MOMENT 



Emerging from a pool of climatic sounds 
Silently I listen to your song of wonder 
Days and nights of plenty 

My man cover me with your arms and I shall 
absorb your pain 

Speak softly, caress me with words, seduce me 
with sounds of your soul and I shall be that 

fulfillment 
I feel you when you are not here, your scent 
infinitely lingers on 

Dance with me, let this moment overtake us, 
as our minds merge in the joyous song of love 

Walking through the rain, the night, we'll fear 
no man we are protected by our love 
And if it's only for the moment, I'll understand one 
second of fulfillment 



Patricia Johnson 
Boston, Ma. 



34 



CRISPUSATTUCKS 



Tall, knock-kneed Crispus won't stay put another year 

Weighed down by that jive New England monument 

I hear the stirring underground that marks his turning 

And as the golden hymns and speeches are prepared 

I hear the sound of Crispus laughing long 

Who on the sea knew freedom when they needed strong black arms 

But Crispus never walked that freedom too far from the docks. 

He had his drinks 

Checked out the 'hos 

And finding nothing doing, started back 

But then he heard a rumble making in the streets 

And Crispus like all brothers loved a fight. 

"I died for liberty? 

For justice? 

Gave my all? 

You must be sick to think that I'd come on that lame. 

I couldn't get my ashes hauled 

So I just took it to the streets." 

"What is that jive they've talking anyhow? 
I died for lack of sweet black meat." 



William Cook 
Hanover, N.H. 



35 



A TIME FOR MEDITATION: 



Thought, thought, 
so many thoughts . 
Wonderful skies of a crystal blue. 
Affectionate glances, stimulating eyes. 
The long journey, whose dreams 
produced unexpected solitude. 
He was naive perhaps, but he had a future 
of hopes and dreams. 

So much so — that he defied the odds of oppression 
an injustice prescribed by the multitude. 

In time the iniquities of the overseers 
became imprinted in his mind. 
They took root there. 
In their haste and hatred they scorned 
and ridiculed him. 

As he looked to the skies, once again, 
he knew that they hadn't blemished 
all his black pride and dominance. 
Even though they had stripped him 
of his powers to reminisce. 
He is always searching for 
a justification for his incarceration. 
As slumber sets in he visualizes 
his kind of liberation. 

Then he thinks -- thinks 

thinks. 



Clarence Altamont Little 
Springfield, Ma. 



36 



Sitting-ln 



Melville's pew. 

The three harpooners were non-white. 

Significant. 

The bow shaped pulpit. 
Manhood telegraphing S.O.S. 
cannot make its home harbor. 

White marble plaque memorials 

to the dead. 

Lost. Lost on the dead 

sea 

brothers in New Bedford 

chase their blondes. Bay buzzards. 

Harpoons. Spume. Moby Dick. 

"White!" wails 

the scorned blaci< sweetbacl<. 

Melville. 

t\Aermen are 

niggers are scrimshaw: 

a uniquely american art form, 

etched in black, 

on the white 

bone 

of a thigh. 

Scrimshaw. 

I pray to The Bone Maker. 



Everett Hoagland 
New Bedford, Ma. 



37 



I say your name . 



and you hear with a smile 

as we watched 

little children 

playing 

thinking about times 

not too long ago 

when we played 

like them 

spring flowers 

free together 

free in love 

free 

brave and beautiful 

tall and strong 

as the wind carried 

our joy across the land. 



Fred Houn 
Amherst, Ma. 



GRANDFATHER'S POLITICS 



When we are the responsible citizens, 
the government agencies, 
when we are the people; 
When we who have been lied to 

have overcome the liars, 

by means revolutionary or other, 

and are our own means to life, liberty, 

and the pursuit of happiness; 
When those who have lied to us 

have been dealt with and 

are the residents of our senior citizens homes; 
Will we the responsible citizens, 

the government agencies, 
the people. 
Lie to the grandchildren of those who have lied to us? 



Bruce Pope 
Amherst, Ma. 



38 



to the lady of the house 



the only place for you is your backyard 

where the grass refuses to kneel to the rain 

and your flowers send kisses 

to the sun. 

in the mornings 

your house seals away 

the questioning echoes 

of loneliness and grief 

while rainbows of solitude paste themselves across your ceilings. 

we come to your house with the seasons 

snow and sun 

and the thunder of our offspring. 

and there in your backyard 

we find you 

scolding the dust that 

refuses to settle 

evenly. 

Jaki Shelton 
Loomis School 
Windsor, Conn. 



untitled 



all a/lone 

we heard 
hard truth sounds in pain 

didn't listen 
its music, occupies the same 
sky a move withdraw thru it 
rhythm, unmusical 

we heard 

didn't listen, back again. 

this time 
listen hard can we 
hear? we are 

the new music occupies the same 
sky. 



Melvin E. Reeves 
Boston, Ma. 



39 



For Princess U-dwi Sudanese 



Hip little mama w/yo bad braids/ 

Transferred from the heart/ Africa 

To watch the western world crumble 

N.Y.C. trembles as we breathe yet 

wonder as yr child like eyes/eye Attica 

By the dawns early light 

Like the 4th of July teargas & gunfire 

is here today for/real 

For real staccato bullets flying 

Hostages & freedom fighters slump 

Into the bitter planet/the bitter bloodied earth 

The prison yard/times square top billing is really killing 

Justice/ just/us 

"Just us law & order hired killers/suburbia 

& not them nigger beast africana/ defenseless bros 

G Jackson got his head blowed off/a bloody pulp 

No blood paved the streets 

We watched in silent protest/a mockery justice of the peace 

42 humans slaughtered 

For justice / Just us 

O say can't u see little mama? 



Emikan Sudan 

©Apr. 30, 1974 

Amherst, Ma. 



40 




Photo byGJ McCREA 
Providence. R. I. 



Children Are Poems 

"Ah, you can't catch!" 

"I can too! Betcha 1 can catch even better than you!" 

Play little children. 

This is your time. 

Your life, a steady rhythm. 

Your soul, a rambling rhyme. 

"Think you can run? Can't catch me!" 
"Oh yeah, I can run just as fast as can be!" 

Run little Mr. 
Run little Mam 
Paint in the wind 
Your sweet lam . . . 

"I wanna stop. I hurt my leg!" 
"Last one home is a rotten egg!" 

Grow strong, young poem. 
Help guide your sister — 

"You talkin' to me, man. You better shut up. Mister!" 



Larry Darby 



41 



when I was small 

smaller than I am now 

I used to wonder 

why my momma 

was always hollering at me 

beating on me 

punishing me 
and i still don't know the answer 
But i think it was cause she wanted for me 
what she never had for herself 
clothes food a father 

but she just wasn't able to provide them for me 

for us 
me my sisters my brothers 

but i love my momma cause through all the 
hollering 

the beating 

the punishing 
she made a young lady 

some people call me a 

beautiful black sister 
some even a 

woman 



Lenita Jackson 
Boston U. 



© Copyright 1 975. All rights reserved. 



42 



GET BY . . . 



what do you say to a brother strung out on 

DOPE? 
what do you say to a 1 2yroldsister PREGNANT 

yet not knowing who is the FATHER 
of herMANchild? 
i get by without any help from my friends 
what do you say to a man w/no job and 1 2 kids? 
what do you say to a woman w/1 2 kids and a man w/no job? 
I get by without any help from my friends 
what do you say to your baby when he knows it is 
CHRISTmas 

but there's no tree 
or gifts 

or food 

or heat 
or 



SANTA GLAUS? 
what do you say to a college graduate w/a PHD in 
"PSYGHOLOGY OF THE HUMAN ORGANISM" 

but can't find a job? 
do we need anybody 

only somebody to 
LOVE 
us 



Lenita Jackson 

Boston Univ. 

©Gopyright 1975. All rights reserved. 



43 





Photo by SHERMAN SHELTON 
Hartford. Ct. 



FATHERHOOD 



just wondering why so many 

ain't wanted 

and some foil<s 

don't ever even see theirs — 

why do black men leave they l<ids 

to wonder and to die 

never knowing 

just who he was or why 

he had to leave 

or drink so much 

maybe it had to do with pride 

— or the shame of not being 

proud of themselves 

of their lives 

or what they had to be 

something I think eats at a man 

when he can't look his 

kids in the face and say 

see this is what I have 

this is what I leave to you 

follow me 

follow me 

most black men can't say 

follow me 

for there is nothing to follow 

nothing to see of their lives 

their work 

how can a black man say anything 

when roaches and hunger 

and heatless winter nights 

are all to look around to 

the eyes of those children 

those eyes are too much to bear 

when they look around to nothing 

nothing 

follow me to nothing child 

— is that what any man wants to say 

to his own? 

say nothing at all 

don't even be there 

when those eyes open 

onto the empty world 

that that black man can't fill 

so black men leave or drink too much 

when there ain't nothing 

for them to say 

when they can't say follow me. 



Kalima Amatur Rahim 

Hampshire College 45 

Hadley, Ma. 



GITTIN HIGH 
(Dedicated to the CIA agent on my case) 



smoke 

yeah 
I smoke 
Yeah I smoke! 
I smoke 

dried collards greens & 
black-eyed peas 
in a 

South Carolina 
mud pipe 
with a 

sugar-cane stem 
Yeah I smoke 
Yeah i smoke 
Yeah I smoke! 

but mostly 
when my "jones" come down 
& I need "a little something 
for the head" 
I roll up my sleeves & 
crawl in bed 
& 

listen 
to 
Aretha . . . 



Richard Fewell 
Bridgeport, Conn. 



47 



Sun Patterns 



Because in a sun time 

Full of warm promise 

Ripe fruit and heavy scents 

You came to me 

Offered your smile and your sun 

Also shade from it — 

Because I needed sun 

And shade 

And like your smile 

I accepted. 

Because you offered 

And I accepted 

We traced a pattern 

Wove threads around and through it 

Truly a beautiful tapestry 

We made. 

Lois A. Coleman 
Stamford, Conn. 



Infinite Beauty 



Your sweetness inspires my soul 

Your Black brightness gives peace to my mind 

Your sun rippened warmth, blends with my Body 

Your content deep eyes speak of a nation 

Your face brightens the blue black sky 

You're queen, your life 

You're queen, your life 



Richard E. Griffin 
Springfield, Ma. 



48 



If I were you 
and you were me 
and you needed assurance 
on a matter of mutual importance 
(Love 

Truth 

& 
Confidence) 

I would do 

on you . . . like Sunshine and lite away 

all doubt 

If I were you 

which would enable me to draw a flower 

as the sun rose up 

and place it near your favorite cup 

for you to find when you got up 

I'd compliment your every deed 

for in this life that's what we need 



L. Cabral 
Providence, R.I. 



OPPRESSION MUST BE FUNNY 



cause when i told 
the brothers how 
you had to 
back down in front 
of that white cop 
they all rolled. 



e. I. coleman 

Brown Univ. 

Providence, R.I. 



49 



After Re-reading Invisible Man 
for Ralph Ellison 



Oh, Ellison 

I owe you something: my 
words given meaning 

in your flight 

and I ask this 
at my most 

temperate hour: 

how, when the mule 
crosses beyond 

the hill and the axe 
breaks all that we call folk: 

(I love Trueblood; he, like 
the swift 
shadows and foolery 

that make 
this hell: give us the blues, 
oh, give us the blues 

and the wind 

small moment; and the stars 
pottash, fine, distant; 
and the mind 

lazily, shedding its skin 
and brainless destinies: Oh, the defecation 

we have taken as sense 
without stink (James Baldwin, we hear you) 

it is painful 
to follow the evening 
of summer bloods 
precious bloods (BLACK, BLACK, BLACK); and 
we must say precious because 
they are precious 
and all movements 
and all folklore, syllable to anguish, 

heaven to purgatorio, night (I must dwell) 



50 



in the yule tide; falter at the sun; but the falls 
and rises: Unity is strong like cork 

and filthy as wine (there is dirt and 
gruff to it) 

WHEN I WAS A CHILD, 1 SPOKE 
AS A CHILD 

and the demons are all around; the road 
chunked with 

stones and brattle: will we (I've seemed to query) 
this before: will we 

jazz quest: will we take the awesome 
risk of our humanity 

Like Br'er Rabbit find our pillage 

in the briar reach where 
ruination is everywhere and 

we, through the safe vault of ourselves, 
honor the past, consecrate 

the future and hollow those 
roots and strayings that we turned inward: Outward 

I see the hills, moon possum, fiery forest 

smote me thought 

smote me thought: the air rife with hoodo 

today, we are fucking imposition; running the hell 
out of woods, herons, city pubs (I've been in 

waterville, maine, excuse me) But we must try 

like all music (I speak of all music which 
is pure and funky) I speak of Beethoven, Bach, 
Gary Bartz 

and Ron Carter putting the jive in the bass, it is 
the bass, it is marvelopus, the bass (BASE), it is 
the exhortation, plaint and prophet: Listen: 



51 



I've got good friends, some 

live down the road 
a stone's throw. One, a poet — a great poet, and friend, 

talks of "Strangers and unwelcoming forms." Today, and maybe 
only today, I am not interested in this: 

I am swollen, mindful, teething, and scary — yes, it is not easy 
running nature in full force 

if we were ponying rapids 

we'd take our boat 
avoiding the shifts and rocks but let's 
go upstream, cross current 

We'd a stopped a long time ago but I'm runnin') 

blues people, I've seen sorrow 

and the sun tottle 
when she should have been right 
up there big and strong 

oh, veins, thanks for carrying 

me this far: I've been needing 
and uttering; uplands seems a long 
pace. 



I am Ken McClane, blue-blooded, Black, guliable 
and poet-type. I like sunsets 

watch hills and mites; follow baseball 
and testify to the sermons of mosquitoes 

it has taken a long time 
to say everything. 



Kenneth McClane 

Colby College 

Waterbury, Maine 



52 




Photo by A. TIMOTHY DORCAS 

Providence. R.1.53 



54 



MOVING TO A BETTER THANG 

(for S.S. and all my other literary predecessors) 



i have come 

to know the map 

of your face 

with its lines 

stretching 

across 

the ecru surface, 

with its crossroads 

always intersecting 

at the same places: 

love black woman pain. 

and because you spoke 

of your forty years baptism 

with hope and wonder 

telling us of the ones 

drowned or lost 

in the pull 

of a different current, 

because you spoke 

of revolutionary obituaries 

with reverance, 

spoke of prophets dying: 

poets stretched too tightly 

across the frame 

of the american dream; 

poets dead of bullets 

from trigger happy priests 

of the church Our Lady of America, 

poets with dead visions riding 

white horses on merry-go-rounds of pain, 

poets slitting their wrists 

watching the final blood verses 

refusing to coagulate 

into something other than none sense 

beating against the white pages 

of this world. 

because of these things 

1 now know 

that when your eyes sparkle: 

twin coal pieces, 

they are diamonds 

waiting to cut 

through the hard core shit 

of our disillusionment. 

Irma McClaurin 
Amherst, Ma. 



America i love U 



Almighty and Everlasting 
America .... 
I love You. 

You Democratize and Industrialize 
Liquidate to Liberate 
Castrate to Create 
in the name of . . . 

You have shown us 
equality only exists 
in the minds of 
the unequal 

Your dream has become 
our nightmare 
Capitalizing and Pulverizing 
that which was once hope 

After-all 

the world must be 

made safe from . . . U 

And all the other 

U's that Urinate 

Using Us 

abusing Us 

So that U may live 

i love U 

i love U 

for U have shown Us 

How to hate and Kill 

forU. 

For me. 
For we. 

For U.S. 

U.S. being me 

and they 

and them 

and all the others 

that have protected U. 

Thinking that what we did 

was in the interest of us. 

Finding out that us did not exist 

And than only U ate the bread and water. 



The Land. The Gold. 



Kim Woods 55 

Amherst, Ma. 



WHAT NOW? 



What now .... 

When I have seen the sun and 

must shiver in the shade? 

What now 

When I have tasted wine 
and water must suffice? 

What now 

When my fruit is tender and ripe 
and no one hungers for me? 



Marion Timm (Metivier) 
Pomfret Center, Conn. 



Quilt Woman 



His history 

Left her at the 
Window 

Mending 

Spinning 

Weaving sunlight 

In the patches of 

Her 

Being 

And now he asks you 

And I do 

We 

Remember 

Her. 



Sherman Shelton 
Windsor, Conn. 



56 



Interrogation 



How do you know about winos? 

My uncle was. 

My grandpa was. 
How do you know about junkies? 

My cousin was. 

My sister too. 
How do you know about husslers? 

My brother was. 

My cousin too. 
How do you know about domestics? 

My grandma was. 

My auntie was. 
How do you know about labor? 

My mama did. 

My daddy too. 
What do you know about the future? 

I am. 



Mungu Kimya Abudu 

©1975 

Amherst, Ma. 



I rose from the earth with dust in my face, 

the stinging imprint of your boot still burning my 

black ass. 
No more, pig! The days of "you master, me slave", the 

days of ass kickin' and bull-whippin' are in the 

past. 
You made your first mistake by settin' me free. 

your second by lettin' me be, 

and your third by hurtin' me. 
Now I'm going to get me a gun and demand equality. 



Bruce Pope 
Amherst, Ma. 



57 



that day you said 

we 

can make de/moc/ra/cy 

work 



i looked into yr eyes 

saw 

heatless homes 
hungry children 
menless women 
womenless men 
powerless people/saw 
rats 

roaches 
drugs 
atticas 
me lais 
namibias 
zimbabwes 

georges 



johnathans 

malcolms 

martins 

bobbys (huttons) 

matts 

garveys 

dying dreams 
fading hopes 
genocide 
GENOCIDE 



& may allah forgive me 
for what i did next. 



Insan/ 
Walpole, Ma. 



58 



We moved from an is 

to a was 

to a has been 
Since there was no room for a might have been. 

Proceeding 

Voiding what the is was 

and the was . . . could have been 

and the could have been . . . might have been. 

Continuity 

Like ripples on a pond within the rays of the early morning sun, 
Molding us forward 
into the 

should be and shall be 

and the new being of is. 

With always 'half-a-glance' backwards, 
Just enough to look at 

what once was an is . . . was . . . 

and now is ... a might have been . . . 

IF! 



'Nalu', V. M. Morrison 

©1975 

Amherst, Ma. 



59 




I 



They said that He was the savior of men 
but no word was given 
as to who would save the women 
who would die for our sins 
and ask for our forgiveness 

for us 
they proclaimed him the son of man 
but what of woman 

of the woman within whom hurt echos 
whose sighs are not to be noticed 
whose minds are not heard 

who will be our savior 

and say what it is that is on our minds. 



Photo by WILSON BEN 

R. I. School of Design 

Providence, R. I. 



60 



nina, nma, nina 

i wish i could put your voice on paper 
and make a prayer-poem 
about us tlie shadows 

who you call out of the corner 
cooing and coaxing 
promising us 
a brighter tomorrow 

oh yes 
a brighter tomorow 

oh yes 
ooh child things are gonna get better 

someday when the world is much brighter 

nina, nina, nina 

i wish i could create as you do 

the life that forces notes from bars to pierce the void 
that has captured us, 
making us wordless 
wish i could keep your spirit within me always 
locked away for safe keeping 

for those hours that i have yet to face 
wish, pray that i could know how you found us and knew 
we were voiceless and made our voices heard 



II 



they said that He was the savior of men 
but no word was given as to 
who would save the women 
who would die for our sins 
and ask for our forgiveness 
they proclaimed him the son of man 
but what of the woman 

of the woman within whom hurt echoes 
whose sighs are not to be heard 
whose mind waits to be seen 

who will be our savior 

and say what it is that is on our minds 



Janet Lorrayne Cormier 
Mt. Holyoke College 
South Hadley, Ma. 



61 



good 

intelligent 

sunshine, superfine 

Let your love/life/light shine 

on 

me 

on 

my brothers and sisters 

be 

lieving in you 

depending on you 

we 

be 

taking your love/life/light shine 

for granted 

You've been our inspiration 

and 

we've shown little appreciation 

with a love/life/light so strong/intense 

it's easy to accept you, warm and beautiful 

to say I love you 

to hurt you 

with truth rays so strong/intense 

it's easier to ignore you 

to turn our eyes/souls away 

'cause truth rays are sometimes, blinding 

filled with a purpose 
knowing your/our direction 
black/ 
culture/ 
conscious/ ness 

although we may not all take note 
now 

educate 
inspirate 
'cause we need 
the sun 

keep on keeping on 
life giver 
life bearer 

do what you do naturally — 
shine 
shine 

Let your love/life/light shine 
on 
me 

on pat bowen 

my brothers and sisters. emerson college 

62 Boston, Ma. 



Poem No. 13 



brother — as Salaam-Alaikum 
sister — Wa-Alaikum-Salaam 

brother — and how moves my queen today? 
sister — my happiness creases the ground 
as i walk my king. 

brother — i have not seen you in days; and i 

miss your face, 
sister — i have carried your picture in my eyes my brother. 

brother — in life one searches for his twin; you are mine, 
sister — since birth, i have not moved 

waiting for you to sift these waves 

until they flaked like diamonds 

over me. 

brother — i have become the sun 
sister — i feel your heat 

brother — it is hard for the sun to keep all the 

light and not have a moon to give it to. 
sister — it is hard for a moon to deal 

without her sun. 

brother — shall i be the sun for your darkness? 
sister — black man shine upon me. i am 

a moon for your light and christened 

by your sun, will make 

nite become day and the morning 

shall cradle our Blackness. 



*Sonia Sanchez, LOVE POEMS 
(New York: The Third Press, 1 973) 



I 



63 



Transferred to Concord 
Trial and Error 



Help me, Sister, for I am your past . . . 
Help me, sister, for I am a part of your 

present . . . 
Help me, because I may be your 

future . . . 
Eyes see, 
Ears hear, 
And footsteps always run away. 

As your past 
I was what you are now — so-called 

Free. 
As your present, 
I am what you might be or are . . 
As your future 

I say 
Who will be the victim of circumstances? 



Emanuel Smith 



Your fragrant grace/west Indian sun 

Whenever you breathe or smile 

Seven soft silk rainbows 

Run through my heart for miles 

Lighting the way to sky/never asking why 

Past brick cold buildings 

Past soaring eagles 
Caribbean onyx silver black/nearer to the sun to kiss 

& be burnt & kiss again 

& be borne & kiss again 
Never asking why/lighting the way to the sky. 



Emikan Sudan 
Sept 30, 1974 
Amherst, Ma. 



64 



this morning the storm broke 
and we tried not to sink 
using our bodies for a raft 
we clung 
not knowing that 
we 

were the eye of that storm 
and the waves tossing could only be 
you/me 
merge/break 
rush/lightning 
falling 
tired breakers hitting shore. 



Deborah Esther Johnson 
Amherst, Ma. 



prison genocide 

skin books at mid/nite 
find 

bik men in erotic embrace 
with they selves 
gasping 

forgetting they bikness 
moaning 

forgetting the bars 
rushing/groaning 
there is tension 
a quiet sigh 
emptiness 

skin books at mid/nite 
leave 

in they wake 
cheap bliss 
counterfeit relief/& 
could-be malcolms 
flushed 
down 

prison commodes. 



Insan/ 
Walpole, Ma. 



65 



Pianissimo 



Three slender, cone-shaped legs support 
hundreds of pounds of 
Raw Soul. 

Sensation 

vibrates 

through spiraled, skinny little wires. 

The base, 

the Substance, 

is that of a golden harp. 
Tiny, red felt hammers caress and sustain 
each perfect decimal. 

The ivory key is stroked. 
A hand lovingly pressures the wedge, 
and glides nimbly 

through moonlight 
and shadow. 

Sound Soars. 
The heart takes Wings. 
The air waves capture and transmit 
each particle of 

Me. 
Transcending Barriers 

of Light, Time, Color and Life 
I am resurrected; 
renewed 
while sitting 

in one lone room. 



W.B. 



66 



I have nothing here. 
This is the land of plenty. 
Still, I've nothing here. 

We will soon be free. 

Locked in white, blackness the key. 

Yes, we will be free. 

Talk behind my back. 

Why must my brothers do this? 

I am not their foe. 

I am not perfect 1 know. 

But still, "I" am not their foe. 

Eyes like amber moons. 
Your hair is the home of stars. 
Before you suns fade. 
Planets dance to your heartbeat. 
For you are one with heaven. 

We live and love together as one. 

We know time is short. 

We know it will end for us. 

And knowing, we prepare for it's end. 

Not with war, but instead with our love. 

My hope is ever centered on your love. 
Though you don't see me. 
Though your heart is blind to me. 
I have always seen us together. 
Though your actions say this cannot be. 



Sandy Mclean 



67 




Photo by A. TIMOTHY DORCAS 
Providence, R.I. 



68 



I Just Want 

To Sit Beside You 



I just want to 

Sit beside you 

In a dark room 

And feel your heat 

Not all wrapped 

Up in funky 

Love positions 

But sitting next 

To you with my 

Eyes closed 

Listening listening 

To what you're thinking. 



Ted Thomas, Jr. 
Mattapan, Ma. 



69 



Haiku 



Sun scorched memories 
pricks the flowing vein of life 
spilling drops of time. 



Tommy Jones 
Amherst, Ma. 



At Peace (finally) 



This is going to be my year, 

I plan to be as sweet as ever. 

I'm changing the whole format 

of me. 

I'm going to live off of LOVE, 

LIFE AND SPIRITUALITY. 

I'll give off rays of pure 

mellowness to everyone I meet. 

I'm going to turn myself inside 

out, put the good in and erase 

evilness from my system. 

I'll go to bed and wake up every 

day, with an everlasting smile on 

my face. 

I'll always hold my head up, so 

I can feel the Sun giving warmth 

and purity to my mind. 

I'm going to live my life to its 

fullest extent. 

I plan to walk tall among the 

giants of the Universe. 

I'llbeastruttin' ANGEL. 



Merita Chandler 
Boston, Ma. 



70 



Remembrances of Pop Swain 



Down by the borderline, 
there's this fella call'd 
Pop Swain who's best known 
for releavn' pain. Folks 
sometimes call hem the 
two-headed doctor 'cause 
he's got mo' knowledge than 
the A.M. A. He's a funny kinda 
fella 'cause he keeps his work 
quiet, and if you possum huntn' 
you might see hem diggn' roots 
in the moonlight. Now Pop aint 
a marr'd man but he finds other 
delights; he may nip a little 
white to get hemself through the 
nights. His shack aint the best 
but it's his place of rest, and 
on his front porch his blue tick 
hound will tangle anybody to 
their ground. Blue bottles 
dangle in his trees trappn' evil 
spirits and the like. If you got 
a problem or a queer situation. 
Pop will make it right: Coon skull 
liniment for rheumatism. Blood root 
for the heart, and Sunk-hole water 
for the jealous wife. So friend, 
if you needn' help, come on down 
and make yo' 'pointment early, Pop 
Swain will sho'ly relieve your pain. 



Sherman shelton, jr. 
Windsor, conn. 



71 



The Slave Speaks (1) 



I hate you; 

Yes, 

I hate you, 

Yet not out of malice or contempt, 

But out of defiance. 

For it is my right. 

You owned me and my father 

And his father before him. 

But for three generations, 

Maybe more, 

You have not been able to totally subjugate my mind, 

Our minds. 

Not necessarily for the physical misuse, 

But for the mental abuse that inevitably accompanies it 

Do I hate you. 

You bruised my body and stifled my thoughts. 

But never has and never will 

My mind be called yours. 

I forgive you, 

Not because you deserve. 

But because it is right. 

Ah, but still I hate you. 

And I shall always hate you! 

Not that it is my nature, 

But because it is my God-given, self-possessed right. 

The result of my free decision. 



Stephen Pope 
Weslyan University, Conn. 



72 



freedom fighter 



young mother 

with rifle in one arm/ 

baby 
in another 
there is no other choice/ 

but to fight for freedom. 
They burned your home/ 

your village 
until it blew away in/ 

dark ashes 
while you watched them kill/ 

him 
slowly. 
They poured the rice 

into the river as 
their metal tanks blasted the land 

into gaping craters/ 

alitor what? 

Then they wanted 
you 

wanted to see if the 
stories were true 
that oriental women 

had more than just 
slanted/eyes 
as you endured 
fighting back 

until 
you were caked with their 
filthy blood. 

And now/ 

as the rain comes/ 
eyes finally breaking/ 

your little baby 
reaches 

with his small fat hands 
for your 

warm breast. 



Fred Houn 
Amherst, Ma. 



73 




74 



Photo by WILSON BEN 

R. I. School of Design 

Providence, R. I. 



A Black Woman is Something Else 



She'll come and stand 
To tempt your hand. 
She'll turn her back 
To see you crack. 

A black woman is something else. 

She'll do for you 

What you ask her to. 

Move mountains if she can — 

Trying to make her man a man. 

A black woman is something else. 

Wide-eyed with pretty smile 
Being fine; watch her style 

A black woman is something else. 

High yella with big fros 

Or nice and black with wide nose 

A black woman is something else. 

Tall and thin, decked out in hat 
in blue jeans shorts and pants 

A black woman is something else. 

Being sweet or talking loud 
Standing out in the crowd 

A black woman is something else. 

Search around trying X brands, 

And there's nothing you'll find in all the lands 

Like a sister who loves a brother. 

She's unique; there is no other. 

You see, for years she's kept us whole. 

And loving her black man is in her soul. 

So she's the woman of my dreams — 

The spoils of my plots and schemes, 

'cause 
A black woman is something else . . . something else . . . something else. 

And I love her. 

A. Wayne Ledbetter 
Brown University 
Providence, R.I. '^ 



Medicine Men 

(To Max, Archie, Sulieman, Reggie and all our 
jazz geniuses; Keep right on doing that stuff) 



Saxophone high sliding 
smooth on silver streams 
of sound 

A slinky black cat 
movin' sexy down main 
street proud 
evil smirk on your lips 

doin' things to me painting 

sunset sounds 

piano tinkling glass 

clear and clean 

strings of mellow tangerine twang 

sweetsour in my mouth 

magic man 

pounding voodoo rhythms 

a spirit songs than 

gets inside 

and stirs 

soul cookin' 

Flying high 

on y'alls rhythms riding 

on rhyme 

striding on time 

Black music for me 
Making me 
music 



Sandra Jackson 
Amherst, Ma. 



76 



Falling Teardrop 

Yesterday 
i 
almost 
cried, 
a teardrop fell 

and i traced its 
path 

down my cheek to 
the ground. 

saw that teardrop 

being sucked up 
by the ground, 
the 
same way 
you 
did my 
love, 
it was 

then 

that 
i 
realized 
that 
i 
almost 

cried. 



Denise Wallace 

Univ. of Ma. 

Amherst, Ma. 



Haiku 



Rippled waters are 
the wrinkled beginnings 
of imperfect tears. 



Tommy Jones 
Amherst, Ma. 



77 



It is the perfume of a woman 

that moves me yet again 

though there is no woman here 

and there is no perfume upon the air. 

It is merely the sight of a very young sistuh 

that gently carries me back 

and places me in the aura 

of a woman I once knew. 

It is simple reverie, that's all, nothing more 

(I have forgotten her name) 

and a reminder I suppose 

reminding me how long the time has been 

since I have known what it is 

to be moved by a woman 

who moved as gently and deftly 

as did the air about her; 

Who moved with a purpose 

that is not manifest in material things. 

It has been a very long time . . . 

so long as to cause me to doubt 

my refusal to recognize 

that life feeds upon what I can not 

or do not wish to be . . . 

The sistuh is gone now 

leaving me in the shade of quiet reflection. 

It is simple reverie, that's all, nothing more. 



John Williams 
Amherst College 



78 



Living Death 



Up 

and 

d 
o 

w 

n till you're lost in a haze of confusion 

not knowing which way to 

go. 
R u n n i n g, Run nin ( 

till 

you're o-u-t of breath 
c 



I 

I a 

P 
s i 
n 

g on the cold pavement 

CONVULSING with PAIN! 

and DAMNING the p usher, 

yet all the time yearning for a Fl 

X. 
screaming, crying, twisting with PAIN. 

PAIN thats so acute it cuts the bones with a 

WHACK ! 
tears apart at the brain till there's nothing 

left, 
but a dead stalk of celery, withered dried up 
molded 

with out a heart or leaves to 
bring forth new life. 



Denise Wallace 

Univ. of Mass. 

Amherst, Ma. 



79 



A Letter to A Man 



My young black man, I as a young black sister have a message 

for you. 

We all as people search for an identity for many life 

situations 

We as people keep in mind what we are and what others see 

us as 

Let me lay a little message on you: 

I as a woman have found my identity and have realized 

what I seek to make me feel like a legitimate 

woman I really am. 

I want to tell you brother what I'll never ask you for; 

You won't find me asking for your money 

Baby I don't want your title or your name 

I won't even be selfish enough to partake of your soul 
No brother I truely value these things little 
My young black man, I as a young black woman want 
Something far better than money or ego-trippin' or depth. 

Beautiful Black Prince I want only for you to 

RESPECT your beautiful black Princess. Open your 

eyes and see her to a very dept for what she 

is 
Is it so much to ask for? 

When the money is gone 

Everybody's on my case, and 

all seems lost, my young 

black man, you can give me 

something more precious than 

gold, your respect. 
Give it to me, and with precious understanding and 
appreciation I will welcome and cherish it. 



Stephanie Spencer 
Willimantic, Conn. 



80 



Waiting 



How long/much will 

my love endure? 

Writing doesn't come easy 

yet this feeling flows. 

Bewildered as to why 

this need remains . 

within/without 

WITH me— I cry. 

My survival is contingent 

upon my 

learning to do without 

the feeling/the need/the you 

that exists alone. 

Can/Will I await your decision? 



Linda Williams 

Mt. Holyoke College 

Holyoke, Ma. 



Photo by RUFUS NICKENS 
New Haven, Ct. 



POEM TO A POEM 



A POEM IS 

A WOMAN 

ALIVE, VIBRANT AND BEAUTIFUL 

QUITE INDUCED TO MAKING A MAN WHOLE 

A POEM IS 

WAR 

DEATH, DESTRUCTION AND HELL 

A PROCESS OF POPULATION CONTROL 

A POEM IS 

HISTORY 

ACHIEVEMENT, FAILURE AND INVENTION 

AN EPIC OF MAN'S PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE 

A POEM IS 

REVOLUTION 

DISSATISFACTION, DEFIANCE AND PROVOCATION 

AN UPHEAVAL OF OLD IDEAS AND STANDARDS 

A POEM IS 

A NATION 

PATRIOTISM, HONOR AND HERITAGE 

A BAND OF PEOPLE BOUND TO A CAUSE 

A POEM IS 

A MESSAGE OF 

LOVE, GRIEF AND RELEASE 

AN ECHO OF MAN'S INNER THOUGHT 

A POEM IS 

ART 

RHYTHM, APPRECIATION AND MEANING 

A CONNOTATION OF LIFE'S MYSTERY 

A POEM IS 
A POEM 

GOD'S WHISPER TO US ALL- 
LISTEN, LEARN AND LIVE— 



aljib timothy dorcas 
Providence, R.I. 



82 



CONTENTS 



Page 

5 
6-7 

9 
10 



Dedication Sister Sonia Sanchez 

Editorial Clyde Santana 

Motion of Dark Loves McKinley Moore 

Bicentennial Hymn for Three Voices Cynthia Dixon 

12 Sometimes I Think of Maryland Jodi Braxton 

13 I am Invisible Janet Lorrayne Cormier 

16 Untitled T. J. Williams 

17 Untitled Hope Morgan 

18 Transition A. Wayne Ledbetter 
18 Africa in a Vision Clara McKnight 

20 Vibrations Black Mama Patricia Johnson 

and Kathleen Richardson 

21 Under Your Smile T.J.Williams 

22 Momma William Foster 

22 Haiku Tommy Jones 

23 Untitled Cathy Tunick 

23 Yesterday Violette O. Haldane 

24 Notes from a Summer Day 1^"^^ McClaurin 

25 Untitled Irma McClaurin 

26 I Smile Stevie Cynthia Dixon 

27 Legacy Keryl Thompson 

28 Purpose Raama Amen Ra 

29 My Past Sterling L. Rex, Jr. 

30 No Signs El Malo Stone (Wayne D. Gusman) 

31 From Where I Live M. Zur Hathim A.K.A. (Ralph C. Hamm) 

32 Soul Food Everett Hoagland 

33 I Usta Wanna Lynette Rene Yager 

34 Only for the Moment Patricia Johnson 

35 Crispus Attucks William Cook 

36 A Time for Meditation Clarence Altamont Little 

37 Sitting-In Everett Hoagland 

38 I Say Your Name Fred Houn 

38 Grandfather's Politics Bruce Pope 

39 To the Lady of the House Jaki Shelton 

39 Untitled Melvin E. Reeves 

40 For Princess U-dwi Sudanese Emikan Sudan 

41 Children are Poems Larry Darby 

42 Untitled Lenita Jackson 



84 



Page 

43 
45 
46 
47 
48 
48 
49 
49 
50 
54 
55 
56 
56 
57 
57 
58 
59 
60 
62 
63 
64 
64 
65 
65 
66 
67 
69 
70 
70 
71 
72 
73 
75 
76 
77 
77 
78 
79 
80 
82 



I Get By 

Fatherhood 

Say 

Gittin High 

Sun Patterns 

Infinite Beauty 

Untitled 

Oppression Must Be Funny 

After Re-reading Invisible Man-for Ralph Ellison 

Moving to a Better Thang 

America I Love U 

What Now? 

Quilt Woman 

Interrogation 

Untitled 



Lenita Jackson 

Kalima Amatur Rahim 

Lloyd Corbin (Djangatolum) 

Richard Fewell 

Lois A. Coleman 

Richard E. Griffin 

L. Cabral 

E. L. Coleman 

Kenneth McClane 

Irma McClaurin 

Kim Woods 

Marion Timm (Metivier) 

Sherman Shelton 

Mungu Kimya Abudu 

Bruce Pope 



That Day You Said We Can Make De/moc/ra/cy Work Insan 

Untitled Nalu, V.M. Morrison 

Untitled Janet Lorrayne Cormier 

Untitled Pat Bowen 

Poem No. 13 Sonia Sanchez 

Transferred to Concord Trial and Error Emanuel Smith 

Untitled Emikan Sudan 

Untitled Deborah Esther Johnson 

Prison Genocide Insan 

Pianissimo W.B. 

Untitled Sandy Mclean 

I Just Want to Sit Beside You Ted Thomas, Jr. 

Haiku Tommy Jones 

At Peace (finally) Merita Chandler 

Remembrances of Pop Swain Sherman Shelton, Jr. 



The Slave Speaks (1) 

Freedom Fighter 

A Black Woman is Something Else 

Medicine Men 

Falling Teardrops 

Haiku 

Untitled 

Living Death 

A Letter to a Man 

Poem to a Poem 



Stephen Pope 

Fred Houn 

A. Wayne Ledbetter 

Sandra Jackson 

Denise Wallace 

Tommy Jones 

John Williams 

Denise Wallace 

Stephanie Spencer 

Aljib Timothy Dorcas 



85 



Acknowledgements 



The DRUM magazine would like to 
acknowledge the literary staff of Sonia San- 
chez, Denise Wallace and Dawn Bates for 
selecting the material published in this 
anthology. 

Also, the DRUM would like to thank 
Clyde Santana and Clement Roach for selecting 
the photography and organizing this en- 
deavor. 

And finally the Afro American Studies 
Dept. for their suggestions and assistance. 



86 





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