February 5, 2008

--a White man's appreciation--
(dedicated to Charles Mingus)

"the keystone of the wandering continents"

Africa that great Black mother of us All that we have bleached from our souls & now bring back to our skins with vats of oil squeezed from rocks, from nuts, from the flesh of fish & cows

Africa the Mother to my White mother's mothers

Africa the Mother we are no longer worthy of

Africa the Mother of those stolen from her & left to toil in the sun

Africa before Mohammed, before Christ, before Abraham & Moses, before even gods crafted in wood or gold or mud

The Africa of David, of Jacob, the sons now further from Her than in the days of Paul

Africa where we shuddered in dread at lightening or gasped in the dust of summer before the blessings & horrors of rain

Africa who feeds and starves her millions while raped by the wanderers

The Africa of great sculptured hair like frosted cake or the drippings inside moist caves

Africa of the blossoming bushes of Afros, of cornrows and braids and beads and smooth pates shining like breadfruit in the sun

Africa, where I've never been, where I will never go, though Africa is nestled in my poems

Africa who sits still & we continue to wander even further from Her