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Bodies, beautifully dressed, millions of maimed brothers

Fed to supply the prison machine demanding more blood,

More raw fresh flesh for the handlers, more time, more bookings

 
 

 

 

Loud and Long Through the Valley

                                      By Andrea Barnwell

Loud and long in the darkness

Of early mourning I hear

Hoots, horns from train whistles announcing a warning:

Passing Through the valley!

Passing through with heavy containers

From the crop fields to county and city jails

They carry the hearts and souls of our boys

Through the Switch Yard, changing

Dreams, erasing education, moving young

Brown bodies along busy tracks

In the early A.M. mourning of “Oh-Dark-Thirty”

Carrying the produce of mothers, the hope of fathers

The family growers planting love lose out to 

The labor of the hand-pickers,

The juvenile justice takes criminal pleasure in

Sweet fruit and harvests lives like vegetables grown too thick,

Too healthy, too threatening, so full of life,

The meat slayers and haymakers bind and bundle,

Raise up, slaughter, drain, ice pack and head-crack kids

Like food headed for the institutions prepped and prepared

For delivery they carry them away all across our county,

Our Promise, our Fortune, our forgotten children

Hauled in the “Gut Truck” reeling the stench of half-alive

Bodies, beautifully dressed, millions of maimed brothers

Fed to supply the prison machine demanding more blood,

More raw fresh flesh for the handlers, more time, more bookings

Loud and long I hear our sons cry and moan through the valley

In the darkness of early mourning sounds of trains roll

Over hot tracks make it feel like progress is backward,

Payment is overdue from the meat packers

Nothing compensates for spirits killed, failures to thrive

Fortunes and futures aborted for centuries.

This rare new taste for enslavement renders us endangered

Would that a stick of dynamite could dismantle the route,

Deter the journey; blow up the whole scheme,

Stomp ‘em in their tracks, just move them to reason

Perhaps then we would build schools in the Valley,

Perhaps then logic would lead the nation to fill trains with true garbage,

Landfill the wasted bitter years with equity, sweet songs long and loud

Sing forgiveness, pack up providers, and replenish the earth

Sown with love seeds for all humanity.

11/20/08 by Abena © Andrea Barnwell

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Andrea Barnwell

“Words must speak passion and paint pictures of life as it is, or as it should become.  My intent is to share a written history of hope and renewal for my readers, my friends, and specially my children and grandchildren.”  She began writing at the age of nine in San Diego, California. She was educated at UC Berkeley and UCSD, raising her kids in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Syracuse New York was her temporary home for the past eight years.  Her body of work as a faith-based organizer, grant-writer, and mentor for community-based organizations with numerous awards and commendations is her legacy. “It gives me great joy to see the Hand of God working in my life for others. That’s why I am here. To share light and love.” She happily left the Snow Belt and returned to her growing family in warm California. Andrea Barnwell also writes under her Ghanaian name, Abena, and has contributed to journals and anthologies. She plans to write and publish more.  “I believe poetry, prose, and fiction should have function, structure, and relevance to be true art.

posted 25 November 2008

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Go, Tell Michelle
African American Women Write to the New First Lady

Edited Barbara A. Seals Nevergold and Peggy Brooks-Bertram

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

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#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

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Non-fiction

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#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
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#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
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#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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Life on Mars

By Tracy K. Smith

Tracy K. Smith, author of Life on Mars has been selected as the winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. In its review of the book, Publishers Weekly noted the collection's "lyric brilliance" and "political impulses [that] never falter." A New York Times review stated, "Smith is quick to suggest that the important thing is not to discover whether or not we're alone in the universe; it's to accept—or at least endure—the universe's mystery. . . . Religion, science, art: we turn to them for answers, but the questions persist, especially in times of grief. Smith's pairing of the philosophically minded poems in the book’s first section with the long elegy for her father in the second is brilliant." Life on Mars follows Smith's 2007 collection, Duende, which won the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, the only award for poetry in the United States given to support a poet's second book, and the first Essence Literary Award for poetry, which recognizes the literary achievements of African Americans.

The Body’s Question (2003) was her first published collection. Smith said Life on Mars, published by small Minnesota press Graywolf, was inspired in part by her father, who was an engineer on the Hubble space telescope and died in 2008.

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Allah, Liberty, and Love

The Courage to Reconcile Faith and Freedom

By Irshad Manji

In Allah, Liberty and Love, Irshad Manji paves a path for Muslims and non-Muslims to transcend the fears that stop so many of us from living with honest-to-God integrity: the fear of offending others in a multicultural world as well as the fear of questioning our own communities. Since publishing her international bestseller, The Trouble with Islam Today, Manji has moved from anger to aspiration. She shows how any of us can reconcile faith with freedom and thus discover the Allah of liberty and love—the universal God that loves us enough to give us choices and the capacity to make them. Among the most visible Muslim reformers of our era, Manji draws on her experience in the trenches to share stories that are deeply poignant, frequently funny and always revealing about these morally confused times. What prevents young Muslims, even in the West, from expressing their need for religious reinterpretation?

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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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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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update 25 May 2012

 

 

 

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Related file:   Loud and Long Through the Valley  Pink Ribbon   Poems  by Andrea Barnwell