ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


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  native blood, falling / singing its death chant, running in woods that never was



I Choose Us: The African

By Rudolph Lewis


Wherever we may be, when nightriders

thundering in the fog, shaking the village


I choose us


Corralled at the sea fort for the king’s pleasure

we sang our royal song of betrayal & defiance


I choose us


We many bodies, many tongues, many histories

in the dark feces-filled belly of far-reaching ships


I choose us


When we ignite the flames of the One, when heaven

revolts in wind & wave, we collapse in shipwreck


I choose us


We count the living & the dead on a captured isle

of mountains, marooned, we raid plantations to live


I choose us


Learning the Christian language & way, from slaves

in backwater Charleston, remembering warriors dead


I choose us


Speaking Chic-ca-saw & Cherokee—native blood, falling

singing its death chant, running in woods that never was


I choose us


Exodusters & Assembly on Liberty Island, ain’t yet free

we work, we be—strong arms decide who eats & lives


I choose us


From Southampton to the Superdome, they own us

drown us in blood, they do what they want with us


I choose us


Scattered like the grain in the winter air, blowing

I sing songs of war, dirges too, and love lost love


I choose us


When a people is dispossessed, eternally awol

corralled onto tiny urban islets of gloom & woe


I choose us


With dreams beyond sparkling jewels & gleaming

mansions, & block stretch limousines, righteous

I choose us



What a beautiful, painful poem that captures all of our history, our misery, in succinct couplets and a three-word coda.  Miriam 

Love it powerful and validating. claire

Searching, Powerful, Rudy, an imaginative/historical/authentic/collective biographical thrust of a reconfigured Africanity crossing the grid of "life through death upon these shores" (Hayden) . . . easy, eugene

Dear Rudy, Very Nice Poem.  Can I share It with A publishing group? A local newspaper in West Philadelphia?  Sheila B.

Rudy, I am sending you some information via snail-mail. By the way, what a powerful poem: "I Choose Us: The African."  It may well become your signature poem. As ever, Herbert

"I Choose Us: The African" would be a great submission for   I've Known Rivers: The MoAD Stories Project -- Cheo Tyehimba

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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If you like this page consider making a donation

online through PayPal

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Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues

1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        


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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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posted 27 November 2005  / updated 24 February 2008



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