Dr. Mutulu Shakur is Welcome Here
The programs opened with a film and slide presentation followed by poetry and music. It was quite festive and uplifting, certainly change and transformation were in the air. We hope the energy shifted for those who think they control outcomes just because they happen to have a few keys dangling from belts. Write Dr. Shakur. For more information: http://mutuluiswelcomehere.com/
I shared this prose poem:
by Wanda Sabir
Etched in survival spaces with prism colors, Black men hover between worlds
They sit between sky and earth signing their names with chromosome markers – XY
There is nowhere where black means safety, especially for those who have taken off from here and live in regions beyond imagination. Hidden in historic patterns fractals reveal, more stable than limbo, one such man wore his robes proudly as he sat on a shopping cart on a busy Oakland street
I wanted to ask him: What happened, but didn’t feel I had the right to request a song, ask him to tell his story—certainly not require him to self-publish. With civility creating a thin layer between us, did I disrupt this superficial veneer with chatter? Was the space between us big enough to hold funeral rites if he disappeared into previous occupations?
I decided to not disturb the peace and remained silent as:
Ancestors walked between us while Angels flew around us sprinkling libations and anointing what was sacred. As people walked by him and then walked by us, I wondered why this elder sat naked on a shopping cart at 2 p.m. between a Good Friday and a scheduled Resurrection
I was stunned. I walk away and call a friend to ask what should I do, who could I call – he suggests I go to the Salvation Army store and buy the black god shoes and clothes—
Cloth for the shrine, a bowl for the altar . . . a salute to his Black wonder, I go into the store and make my purchase. It takes longer than I anticipate and I hope he hasn’t left the spot he claimed.
Perhaps this gesture will provide an opening, a way to articulate or put words to my awkwardness – a Black bewilderment which occupies my soul as I gaze at a black god without robes.
The wandering dervish has limited freedom given the descriptive prison black bodies’ represent here in a landscape of whiteness where blackness is criminalized
Later, I see another black man scurrying long as if his carriage is about to turn into a spaghetti squash, the coachmen police or prison guards, a Grimm tale, we all know—day laborers, cinder mattresses . . . levees breached . . . floating bodies
The emperor’s feet are black, his sole callous, hardened . . . yet he whispers “thank you ma’am”
He asks for nothing
Sits on his red shopping cart
Treasures hidden within
Smoking a cigar
With shaven head, this blackened Buddha or enlightened one, sits boldly in Black beingness – his is a silent, yet eloquent expressive blackness, a black fractal billions of lightyears old; he marks a global landscape, a system of racism (or white supremacy) which wishes us gone . . . back to Africa, out of America, off the planet
Blackness is all things to all things . . . it is where life began.
Displaced in a transatlantic journey still making us sick, we pitch vomit into bags thrown overboard . . . then without thinking drink the water.
Hidden from view
Boldly occupying or disrupting viewpoints which would erase him
The emperor sits naked upon a throne at Eighth and Webster Streets in Oakland’s Chinatown
Papa Legba, smokes his pipe undisturbed
Oblivious to all, who do not recognize his greatness – distracting forces disappear while his presence becomes more tangible
The creator gave Papa Legba the Ashay or life force – Esu/Legba alone awakens the potential lying dormant in all beings; therefore:
We are, because I am
He will, because we do