Thursday, 9 January 2014

RIP Amiri Baraka

My friend Maggie posted a link to Amiri Baraka's Sometbody Blew Up America.  It made me realize I'd seen him perform this.  Can't remember where - when - NY - LA - SF, but I was moved to write a response.  I'm guessing this was back in 2002 or 2003.

I didn't always agree with him, but I always had a sense of his incredibly importance in our evolution as people, as artists, writers, poets.  From the first time I picked up Dutchman and read it.

His presence and art taught three things very well:  to be necessary, to be urgent, and to be fearless.

Response To Amiri Baraka’s “Somebody Blew up America”

“who" is greed
"who" is racism
"who" is sexism
"who" is age-ism
"who" is rabid nationalism and xenophobia run rampant

"who" is homophobia
"who" is untamed desire overweening need
untempered passion lust for power

"who" is ignorance abetted by the state
"who" is what happens when too many i's form ill-fitting we's
"who" is misery loving company
"who" is confusing survival with much more than ample thriving

"who" is willful blindness

"who" is absence of compassion
"who" is mistaken principles
        followed by mistaken logic
        followed by mistaken actions

"who" is giving in to the fear of a world that might exclude you
"who" is confusing opinions with well-drawn conclusions
"who" is substituting profitability for growth or well-being
"who" is capitalism unfettered by humanity

"who" is embracing any -ism without accounting
        for inherent human contradictions

“who” is giving over to worst selves temporarily,
        for extended periods,
        or permanently
        if the rewards are great enough

"who" always takes the first and largest slice of the pie
"who" is reading too much --or not enough -- between lines
"who" forms judgements without first-hand experience, yes
"who" is tricky slippery and ubiquitous

"who" militantly guards the status quo generation to generation
"who" is love buried under piles and piles of burning anger and  hatred
"who" is taking power only to make your own existence better
"who" is forgoing a life to have an agenda

"who" is the identification of more than well-matched enemies requiring constant vigilance

"who” has developed quite a super-hero complex
in fact, “who” might be more than a little neurotic even borderline psychotic

"who" is a force to be reckoned with
defeated only by great courage
"who" is outside of us only as a mirror
the reflection of absolute fear

"who" is walking away from bliss
“who” is no in the face of life saying yes

i've seen god, and i've seen the devil
they co-exist in every being
live on different floors of the same building
each moment i must choose which to go a-visiting

"who" is in all of us
"who" is in each.

e. amato

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