Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Guest Blog- Raymond Nat Turner Presents a Poem

I am very happy to present a poem from Raymond Nat Turner. I first became aware of Raymond's art from the pages of Struggle Magazine. I find his work poignant, thought provoking and moving. Above all I appreciate the call of righteousness when so many others conveniently look away in complacent silence.

Defense wins championships,
War profiteering bleeds budgets & People

by Raymond Nat Turner

Enough ale the color of
Leaded water in Flint to
Flood the Lower Ninth Ward
Enough Bud brewed to drown
Governments in bathtubs
Enough melted cheese to sink
Manhattan multiple times
Enough pizzas to feed every
Occupy, springing up 2011, for a week
Enough chips to stretch from
Earth to Uranus and back again
Enough heartburn to backlog
Every emergency room still open
Enough gas to forget about fracking;
and power an armada of nuclear subs
Enough bullshit to flow Brooklyn Bridge
to Golden Gate Bridge and back again,
Pausing “Send In The Clowns—“
$election 2016—2/4 Dance where a dime’s
Difference resides in war dancers,
Bailout engineers, extraordinary renderers,
Enhanced interrogators, collateral damagers,
Drone devotees—Guantanamo groupies!
thickness of a Trump card separates
Warheads of a Cruz missile from those of a
Golda-plated Iron Lady plundering Haiti
Grieving families still feel the Bern of Boeing’s
Products and learn Northrup-Grummond’s another
Name for death…

Grandiose spectacle of declining empire, the
Warfare state, causes chickens to tremble in terror
This time of the year
thinking of their wings, breasts, other body parts
stuffing the Colonel’s buckets; chickens shudder
at being stuffed in pepperoni holes of cops, klan,
militia and poor black, brown, and white
Working-class men in Couch Potato Pose
for four hours…

A week deep into African-
American History Month—shortest
Month of the year, and another
Newton leads Panthers on Ohlone Land,
Golden State, world stage, this Sunday—
Not the 9.0 earthquake, 1960s…

He entertains endless babbling about
Arms, “arm-strength—“ armed self-defense
Stuffed behind class war’s line of scrimmage
like a failed fourth and one run; he addresses
chatter of “moving the chains—“ Removing the
Chains is out of bounds, like a receiver failing to tap
dance before the white line…
Pigskin pursuits like opponents clipping, chopping
Black Lives down on streets, are out of bounds—so is
Tackling land, bread, housing and other 10-Points
Panthers played Sudden Death overtime for…

Before Broncos or Panthers wake up,
Before buses caravan from hotels—before
Coin toss—heads 1% wins, tails 99% loses:
Playing field ain’t level, dice are loaded—
Game’s rigged, fix is in:
Fat Cats, too big to fail, stuffed Single Payer, strip-
Sacked schools, jobs, pensions, 4o1Ks, blocked
Housing, threw drinking water, air we breathe for
Losses; bailed-out bull-rushing banksters on quick-
Counts—ran endless, no huddle wars… And 64 people
Own more wealth than all eyes viewing Super Bowl L!

Voting is like talking12th Man, Terrible Towel, Cheese-
head claptrap, rant, rodomontade—until Colts become
Broncos; Jaguars, Panthers; Raiders, Patriots— or some
Slave Phone app is invented for saving the planet,
Saving the working-class masses—February 31st…

We claim we want another world—say it’s
Possible, we can hear it on a clear day, and
can’t wait, and other incredibly beautiful things…
Yet, classmates succumb to cancer and we talk
“transitions,” “home-goings,” avoiding the
hermeneutics of suspicion, not outliving our
parents—our children not outliving us…
We claim, “all lives matter” knowing some
Have never mattered—and never will…
We say, “Save the children,” watching fifty-four
Schools closed, twenty-three prisons built—
celebrating life, slicing 60% of the pie for death
We say, “organic,” instead of calling out war-
Poisoned Frankenfood; we say, “mainstream media,”
knowing it’s minority, multibillionaire, big-lie
We say, “becoming a police state,” like $4.99
Becomes $5.00— because bald-headed buffoons and
lil’ fellas with funny mustaches are MIA—though 25%
of all humans caged are under stars and stripes; some
are gunned down daily!

We speak truth to power. Yet, power creeps like
Weeds into our lexicon:
“boots on the ground” isn’t a Barney’s blowout
sidewalk sale; “enhanced interrogation” ain’t discourse
on Douglass intersecting Du Bois, in Robeson’s
Cultural Work, or King’s ‘67 Riverside Church speech;
“signature strikes” aren’t ILWU refusals to
Unload South African and Israeli apartheid cargo
“high value targets” ain’t good department store deals

Game planning from the Peoples’ Playbook—
Marching holes in soles, walking out, sitting-in,
Striking, boycotting—meeting more than four corners;
Nurturing the new—paying attention to children in
Chitown, babies in Baltimore, front-liners in Flint and
Ferguson—remembering Occupy, drawing lessons—
putting forehead to history, theory getting us to the
Red Zone—struggle for socialism’s our Super Bowl!

Raymond Nat Turner © 2016 All Rights Reserved

Raymond Nat Turner is a NYC poet privileged to have read at the Harriet Tubman Centennial Symposium. He is Artistic Director of the stalwart JazzPoetry Ensemble UpSurge and has appeared at numerous festivals and venues including the Monterey Jazz Festival and Panafest in Ghana West Africa. He currently is Poet-in-Residence at Black Agenda Report. Turner has opened for such people as James Baldwin, People’s Advocate Cynthia McKinney, radical sportswriter Dave Zirin and CA Congresswoman Barbara Lee following her lone vote against attacking Afghanistan. Read otherarticles by Raymond Nat, or visit Raymond Nat's website.

“…one of the most prolific, consistently beautiful and unabashedly radical voices writing today - Raymond Nat Turner. If you ever have an opportunity to see him perform, just do it."
—Writer, activist, organizer, Makani Themba    

“The cadence is rocking; the rhythm, haunting; the message riveting; the urgency for righteousness, profoundly compelling!”
—Writer, Georgia Webb
Upsurge! is another entity that brings politically radical words to the stage, albeit woven into an amazing fabric of jazz…. more akin to modern theatre than anything else. This is the kind of theatre that I would pay Broadway prices for. And we got to enjoy it as a part of this Festival. Thank you all for something so special.
—John Pietaro, Founder/Director Dissident Arts Festival, NYC   

No comments:

Post a Comment