A Song Out of Harlem by Antar S. K. Mberi

By Antar S. K. Mberi

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I dream of secret stones passed preciously between friends of unbroken heads on school buses. What do you dream of! I dream of soldiers going home for good bread baking in love's opulent oven children safe asleep in bed a woman undressing in the light of her man's eyes; I dream of an incessant trip to the stars. What do you dream of! R1 A red bird taking flight from the egg-ftlled nest of night from the summits I take flight feeling your sunlit hands upon my trembling breast, wings burning my pulse of thunder chants in the dawn chants your name, old and arcane as the black jeweler god of the Aztecs ancient and bright as burning feathers a rainbow dropping gems of light, beside me as I plummet seeking the worm, the fish of your love Daily I lift this land in my hands, daily crumble and fondle its dirt and know our future: My country: A river dancing naked in the day's sweet laughter, coming out of the night of lynch ropes, tar and feathers, gasoline on flesh reservations of small pox and sterilizations liquor and cavalry massacres helmets, hammers, swords, missles, and crying, out of my flesh stretched over the tom-tom o-ver the conga and work song over the snare drum over the mountains of bones over the oceans of blood: COUlYTRY A SOI'fO our 01" 1fAIUDf/45 COlJtmfY You, dressed now in stones, crown skirt, and wines coming.

I, too, at an early age, before my first baby grew like a nation in my belly learned the language and heel of oppression A so/yo Oln Ol'IIARlDf/ I, too, know well the ground's unwelcome hardness have tasted my blood in my mouth, in the mud have felt the police batons and strangers raping me in the name of this monopoly or that monopoly and you ask why I cry sometimes? I join my people in the mountains in the factories, in the classrooms of my country, so singing will never be a foreigner or laughter a political prisoner I huddle in the damp mud of the swamps gun in hand, and have died a thousand times in some nameless trap, my beauty scarred and broken open for the indigenous flies to feed on and you ask why I cry sometimes?

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