ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


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Selected Poems from

Nia: Haiku, Sonnets, Sun Songs

By neo-griot Kalamu ya Salaam




Books by Kalamu ya Salaam


The Magic of JuJu: An Appreciation of the Black Arts Movement  /   360: A Revolution of Black Poets

Everywhere Is Someplace Else: A Literary Anthology  /  From A Bend in the River: 100 New Orleans Poets

Our Music Is No Accident   /  What Is Life: Reclaiming the Black Blues Self

My Story My Song (CD)


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The Screamers

What The Revolutionary Poets Volunteers All, Are Supposed To Do

                            (For Amiri Baraka 7 Oct. 1994)

 By Kalamu ya Salaam


who else to elevate the souls of blk folk into the future,

who bold enough to chronicle the death daring of maroon guerillas

& the daily milk & hammer break resistance tactics

of all the rufuses & earthas of our race,

who better to capture the cooing to lull fat cheeked brown babies

to sleep & the incantations to propagate the oral histories

of how we became who we be?



articulating the african speech sensibilities of tonal languages,

the syntax, structures & ironic uses of vocabularies

orated as dialectical song, like how one word, e.g. "shit,"

depending on context & inflection, can mean so much more

than excrement as in "the shit was happening!" or could mean

very precisely doo-doo & nothing more as in "that ain't shit,"

such wondrous word wizardly

a philosophically dynamic world view


revolutionary poet/musician

speaking the people's tongue

let the congregation say "ashe" (Ah-Shay)


poetry, the emotional essentialism of symbolic language,

is so important to us that all our best musicians in their

terribleness be sounding like they talking, giving

state of the race addresses with every solo, taking horns

& strings & making them sing but modeled on the yodel

of the black voice shouted at full throttle or hummed

with subtle sensitivity, the murmured moan of a west african choir

chanting felicitous greetings to the dawn or carthartic mourning

decoring an elders's last go round, the ecstatic stutter of lovers

chortling in the throes of orgasm, the war whoop going over the side

of the slave ship or hitting the overseer upside the head

with his own damn whip, that bad black voice, the cookers

smoking the tops of their horns screeching into the sacred

falsetto of upfull feelings & the shibboleths of speaking in tongues

as bad as our music be, the truth is the musicians all want to be poets

really, really that is why the holy ones with the beards

& wild hair have ancient horns which bellow like millions of negroes

screaming for freedom in the midnight, & why our blessed

sisters throw their heads back, close their dark lidded eyes, open

their black, brown & beige throats and transport

us to another place & time where joy & pain are one & the same

making music so potent it possesses us & commands us

dance in a circle, thrash on the floor, scream

like funkateers jamming to james brown like

church stalwarts getting happy & shouting like

rappers reading the riot act to the masses:

say yo, say ho, disrupt the status quo


revolutionary poet/musician

breaking the silence of submission

with the shout of resistance

let the congregation sat "ashe"


the real deal is not simply mastering the techniques of poetry of poeting, but

indeed advocating the empowerment of the exploited, the oppressed,

every poem an unfurled flag indicating which side the battle our work

falls on in this mad time crisis emergency red full of black folk killing

each other, killing each other dead, on the stoop reach up & pull out

your heart, your guts, put a bullet in your head because of something

with what or whom, & how our color shouldn't matter

or is this a time to scream against the system, don't you think

we need books that tell us how our enemies look, make clear

who our allies are, give us instructions for healing our hurts

& delineate devotional acts of faith which will reinforce our struggle

& make us feel like fighting for freedom as well as feel

like falling in love with our own life affirming selves?



be grander than the western canon

be the sniper shooting out the eyes of enemy colored artillerers

let the congregation say "ashe"


& while we all wait to eat & enjoy modern creature comforts still

comprador corruption via accommodationist versifying is a vileness

that not even phillis wheatly would condone as she used her

18th century poems to help keep the abolitionist movement going

didn't we know as sun ra always sang, it's after the end

of the world, the end of their old world & time now to construct

our new world, revolutionary poets should wake us from the dead,

this dying we do daily in the artificial time

manufactured by capitalism's mutation into obsolescence obsession

& consumer cannibalism, this time that funk prez george clinton

accurately predicted, remember funkadelic standing on the verge

& shouting from the stage "america eats its young,"

an accurate description of our nationstate condition

in every city where our numbers soar to ten thousand or more


revolutionary poets/musicians

are supposed to be dangerous & feared

cover yankers & coat pullers

let the congregation say "ashe"


but who's afraid of clown poets, def jam poets,

somebody else claim you said, drive by & leave lead

& brass castings all in the streets turning our communities

into morgues & cemeteries, children going to school carry

books & guns, knives, this is a mad & murderous time of black

on black crime, brutus bloohounds stabbing our backs

everytime we try to unify all us selves into a togethered oneness

& our enemies employ willing negro cultural assassin gate keepers,

send these suckers gleefully skipping after us while validating

the national agendas of the otherness via the nyc times

& sundry paragons pf pseudo liberal, so-called moral integrity,

can you dig the gall of killers brazenly instructing the victims

on the correct way to act humanly, or else they unleash grouchy

intellectual goons who illtelligently attempt to bludgeon us

into a stoop standing submission on the basis that our people

the creators of america's sole significant contribution to world culture,

that we, the producers of armstrong, duke, bird, diz, monk & trane

not to mention mahalia jackson, marion anderson, paul robeson,

blind tom, robert johnson, jimi hendrix & thousands of others,

that we who produced the most profound artists

of the twentieth century & if you want writers

try to find a peer of william edward burghardt dubois' collected works,

from suppression to reconstruction to crisis to souls dubois enunciates

& elucidates the sweeping arc of our humanity, so to say that we

--about whom dubois wrote, from whom dubois was created--to say

that we must be alienated, made a thing apart in order to create

great art, nigger please, how can you stand stoop so low, such pathetic

self alienation would be a laughable aelf negation were the rich not

giving up genius awards to dark skinned disciples of whiteness

honoring rear garde machinations performance art pieces

which de-evolve racial amnesia to heretofore unfathomed depths

what say you fellow scribes & purveyors of the word,

do you think that this is a time for poets to only be chilling & illing

incessantly talking about what we do or don't in bed


sound & fury poets without one iota of substance poets,

poets who can't write but who give killer interviews?

poets who are jazz poets but are never where the music is?

poets who win awards but have never demonstrated in their life?

poets who can scan & deconstruct text but who can't dance?

poets who write praise poems for their enemies?

poets who never talk bad about the government until

               their grants run out?

poets who are for being down with the people but

               never in black publications?

who's afraid of them kind of poets, no one & nothing

them kind of poets are like sellout griot jester judases who,

               for a few pieces

of silver, will shout any silly song presidents & kings

               pay these poetic prostitutes

to sing wrap their lips around

for awards & rizes or sometimes just simply

a user friendly pat on the behind, ain't they got no shame, naw, none,

they got careers & publishing contracts,

academic chairs & fellowships, but

they ain't got no shame & now comes the performance poet

arriving on the the set mtv-ing verse that sounds like

advertisements for "i'm crazy, you're crazy, america is crazy,

& it's ok to be crazy" & that's really crazy, what do we be saying,

where do we stand, are we supporting our people

               in time of anger & need

or are we looking for movie rights & a hip career?


our people need to be moved by your insights & inspiration, not

encouraged to buy the overpriced products of your patrons

let the congregation say "ashe"


hey, we revolutionary poets are supposed to be social screamers,

spirit summoners, secular shouters & sacred sermonizers,

& not just publicists & cheerleaders mindlessly rah-rahing capital

by chanting at large mo money, mo money, mo money,

hey, we revolutionary poets are supposed to be dangerous

supposed to be enemies of whomever & whatever harms our people

but hey, big time buppie poet blowing up & going pop

you can't be revolutionary while giving head to capitalism, sucking

on the dicks of dead presidents, i know we all got contradictions

but damn sam when you be selling sneakers to kids while adidas banks

big bucks what you become is not a poet

               but a shoe salesman, a counter-

revolutionary shoe salesman, word to be heard my fawley

if revolution is really your goal

then drop kick your 12's verbally & literally up the asses

of those who profit on our poverty &

impoverish our pockets through the legalized thievry

of conspicuous consumption, who use the cosigning

of celebrities to create a false consciousness that values

brands on our behinds & nothing on our minds so the mega

merchants can steal us blind



saying yo, saying ho, revolution

disrupting the status quo

let the congregation say "ashe"


revolution is what we need even when we don't need it, even

when we are too afraid, too underdeveloped to face our hard realities,

revolution is what we need even after neocolonialism &

the malignant cancer of negro politicians have diarrhea run amok

               on our body politic,

revolution is what we need even beneath a fall in the face

               of friendly fire

& especially when put down by the ire of paddy roller critics

               in white face

come to push us back in place into the line of enemy fire by decrying

the wit & wordplay of our work as unartistic political propaganda

as if there is something wrong with talking bad about our enemy 

& they mammy--raise your glass, sip a brew, here's a toast

to the slave master crew fuck you & the ship you floated in on, fuck

the pledge allegiance & that spangled banner song &

fuck your flunkies & their tired doo-doo,

in fact fuck your mammy & your whole cave crew--

revolution is what we really need & no matter

how difficult it is to dream & do, to envision & engage

systemic change, revolution, change, revolution & conscious change

is  the eternal & deep seated inner ethos of our people,

revolution, some of us was always, always, & always for 

overturning the system, & change, like we as a people never,

never fully accepted the neat european way our tormentors

said stuff had to be done which is why we eats fried fish and

chicken today only fried instead of in palm oil, fried in vegetable oil

& lard, lawdy lard, the lard really the thing so physically & mentally

unhealthy, if jesus ever does make it back

it will have to be as a liberation theologist

macking the rhetoric of change,

a revolutionary poet ciphering

about healing the sick, housing the homeless,

feeding the hungry, & reciting poems called scriptures,

imagine god is here writing poetry,

do you think her words would be in iambic pentameter

or even in english for that matter, it is a euro-centric conceit to think

that god is male, white, & english speaking when no greta religious

come from the minds & caves of europe



we are part of the whole, the cosmos & universe

life is our god, creation our destiny, & being beautiful

& nurturing is the only nation totally worthy of our citizenship

let the congregation say "ashe"


revolutionary poets/musicians

tomorrow belongs to those who create it, who

struggle for future & seize opportunities, who

love people & respect earth, who write poems loud & so hard

we shutter & smile the first time we hear the words uttered, conceive

verse so soft & encouraging we recite whole stanzas over and over

to loved ones, to friends, family & kin, odes so humane, healthy &

mentally rejuvenating the rimes become new birth anthems,

powerful kick images smashing mainstream negativity,

healthy heart embracing forward motion exhortations,

therapeutic cauterizing critiques which staunch backward flow,

uprising vivid invocations of engaged imaginations

               visioning alternate irations

superhonest limitation revelations tempered by

               judicious rectification,

bold self investigations of breath & inhalations,

precision audit takings of social health & waste elimination,

environmental surveying of gender & generation liberation,

cartograph ing & documentation of social transformation,

wordsmiths, moral messengers & ethical explorers, we've work to do

& must be audacious in our doing & unapologetic

 in bringing the noise, the bluesy sounding

of our deepest creed, today tonight yesterday & tomorrow,

wherever we find our people in sorrow

revolution is what we really need



how you sound is how you are &

for now, for the escalating upliftment of the downpressed

for the ancients & ancestors,

                 the ways they resisted & the legacies they leave

for today's fist upside the head of our own backwardness

for moving on up ever pushing to the next level & the next

for revolutionary poetry hugged & welcomed by conscious

& progressive forces no matter how small (six in somebody's

basement plotting subversion or

thousands in the street singing at a rally

chanting the party line: say yo, say ho, disrupt the status quo)

forever, for always, for the love of life &each other


let the congregation say "ashe"

*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

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

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter


#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#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
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#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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Greenback Planet: How the Dollar Conquered

the World and Threatened Civilization as We Know It

By H. W. Brands

In Greenback Planet, acclaimed historian H. W. Brands charts the dollar's astonishing rise to become the world's principal currency. Telling the story with the verve of a novelist, he recounts key episodes in U.S. monetary history, from the Civil War debate over fiat money (greenbacks) to the recent worldwide financial crisis. Brands explores the dollar's changing relations to gold and silver and to other currencies and cogently explains how America's economic might made the dollar the fundamental standard of value in world finance. He vividly describes the 1869 Black Friday attempt to corner the gold market, banker J. P. Morgan's bailout of the U.S. treasury, the creation of the Federal Reserve, and President Franklin Roosevelt's handling of the bank panic of 1933. Brands shows how lessons learned (and not learned) in the Great Depression have influenced subsequent U.S. monetary policy, and how the dollar's dominance helped transform economies in countries ranging from Germany and Japan after World War II to Russia and China today. He concludes with a sobering dissection of the 2008 world financial debacle, which exposed the power--and the enormous risks--of the dollar's worldwide reign.  The Economy

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Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. "Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality."—Lisa Adkins, University of London

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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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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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update 1 March 2012




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