ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes

   

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N da pimps n hos, u hardly see any no mo / Shoot, Harlem hospital even got a huge donation

N you know nobody wants to be caught dead in dat place! / But it’s all changin now— Yeah!

 

 

We keep coming back and coming back

                                        By Kahlil Koromantee

 

You kill us with your guns

But we keep coming back and coming back

We die slowly and poor

But we keep coming back and coming back

Our will to live

Has more to do with our goal

To return to our original selves

And so we keep coming back and coming back,

Coming back and coming back

 

Makeda tried to show you

Khama trusted you

Yet still,

You murdered Jesus, Toussaint, Martin, and Sean

But we keep coming back and coming back,

Coming back and coming back

Made a god out of the dollar sign

And turned electronic gadgets into love supreme

Yet we keep coming back and coming back,

Coming back and coming back

 

You could have listened to Marvin

I mean, really listened to him

When he was pouring his heart out to you

But instead you seduced him with your drugs

And then exploited his pains

Bukman

Huey

Malcolm

And miles

My father

My homies

My dead cousin in jail

We change faces like the moon

 

Push us aside

While you build your co-ops and condos

Force us into gutters of anger and rage

But we keep coming back and coming back,

Coming back and coming back

 

Zaire

Venezuela

A bad love turned good

 

A leaf

A bird

Your grandmother’s arms

We just keep coming back and coming back

Coming back and coming back

Coming back and coming back

We keep coming back and coming back . . .

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The white people are comin! The white people are comin!

                                                   By Kahlil Koromantee

 

Dey fixin up Harlem real nice n evrythang

Puttin up shops n condos n gushin out ol’ buildins

dey pavin up da streets n sidewalks---- Where u been?

Dey sendin peeple to look at brownstones n write about em

What dey writin, I don’t know

But dey scrapin n paintin

What’s ol n leavin

Dey hookin up subway stations, da traffic lights and stop signs

N dey puttin up new supermarkets, new restoraunts,

Librarees n movie teeaturs!

N da pimps n hos, u hardly see any no mo

Shoot, Harlem hospital even got a huge donation

N you know nobody wants to be caught dead in dat place!

But it’s all changin now— Yeah!

I mean, dey talkin bout finally gettin rid of da dealers,

Da crackheads, da loose dogs n free meals

Dey puttin up cable tomorrow!

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Self-portrait

                                       By Kahlil Koromantee

 

My face is tempered fire

It promises victory in emotional desertion

 

A stained teardrop under my eye,

My scars are my grays

And my grays are my father

A discovery I made during one of the first receding tides

 

My nose tells the story of sugar cane fields

I was not there when Shango slipped through their fingers

But the hairs around my mouth come from a Portuguese slaveship

That colored my skin when it first crossed my forehead

 

The world is full of wonderful faces

If mine does not smile,

It is only my mother preparing her day.

*   *   *   *

Self-portrait

                        By Kahlil Koromantee

 

My face is tempered fire

It promises victory in emotional desertion

 

A stained teardrop under my eye,

My scars are my grays

And my grays are my father

A discovery I made during one of the first receding tides

 

My nose tells the story of sugar cane fields

I was not there when Shango slipped through their fingers

But the hairs around my mouth come from a Portuguese slaveship

That colored my skin when it first crossed my forehead

 

The world is full of wonderful faces

If mine does not smile,

It is only my mother preparing her day.

*   *   *   *

Poetry

                 By Kahlil Koromantee

 

Poetry is spirit trying to get at something

Like staying up way late in the night

Playing tag with sleeplessness

 

Poetry is passion rushing in and out of itself

Like the hurried music of Shange and Baraka

Alive, and soaring through space and back

 

Poetry is pain not having a resting place

You can’t hold it,

Put it down

Or leave it

Because it’s indefinite

And yet, you create it

 

Poetry is dance coming thru

Like Alvin Aiiley never died

Just look at how the brothers

Shoot up to the basket!

 

Poetry,

Poetry is anger raging through your veins!

You can’t hold it,

Put it down

Or leave it

Because it’s much bigger  than you

And yet, you control it

 

Poetry is pleading for resurrection

For love to come in

And this time maybe

To stay

 

Poetry

Is spirit

Trying to get at something…

posted 8 February 2007

*   *   *   *   *

Kahlil Koromantee

Born in Brooklyn, NY; raised in Montreal, Canada and the U.S. Received bachelor’s degree in English/Secondary Education from City College of the City University of New York and master’s degree in Applied Psychology from New York University; first year doctoral student at The Graduate Center/CUNY for research in social/urban psychology.

He is the author of Your Love is What I Want: Collected Poems (1995) and Before You Fly Off (2006)

While he taught writing at the Rikers Island Educational Facility for incarcerated youth in Queens (1992-1995), Kahlil polished his craft in Frank Silvera Workshop poetry series (1994).

He has also been a participant in the Dialogue Among Civilizations Through Poetry in Durham, NC sponsored by Carolina African American Writers Collective (2001) He is working on another volume of poems, The Dredlocks Tree (2007), as well as a follow-up on Before You Fly Off . Currently, Kahlil serves as advisor at the City University of New York, youth organizer, and spiritual healer.

Before You Fly Off is a youth and parent guide from the perspective of a non-traditional African American father whose intention is to inspire and educate Black girls from the hood. The author attempts to encourage young ladies to re-evaluate their notion of beauty by doing hard, critical self-analysis in order for them to move on to a womanhood that is less self-absorbed or superficial, and more introspective and culturally sound. DredLocksTree
 

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1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

By Charles C. Mann

I’m a big fan of Charles Mann’s previous book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, in which he provides a sweeping and provocative examination of North and South America prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus. It’s exhaustively researched but so wonderfully written that it’s anything but exhausting to read. With his follow-up, 1493, Mann has taken it to a new, truly global level. Building on the groundbreaking work of Alfred Crosby (author of The Columbian Exchange and, I’m proud to say, a fellow Nantucketer), Mann has written nothing less than the story of our world: how a planet of what were once several autonomous continents is quickly becoming a single, “globalized” entity.

Mann not only talked to countless scientists and researchers; he visited the places he writes about, and as a consequence, the book has a marvelously wide-ranging yet personal feel as we follow Mann from one far-flung corner of the world to the next. And always, the prose is masterful. In telling the improbable story of how Spanish and Chinese cultures collided in the Philippines in the sixteenth century, he takes us to the island of Mindoro whose “southern coast consists of a number of small bays, one next to another like tooth marks in an apple.” We learn how the spread of malaria, the potato, tobacco, guano, rubber plants, and sugar cane have disrupted and convulsed the planet and will continue to do so until we are finally living on one integrated or at least close-to-integrated Earth. Whether or not the human instigators of all this remarkable change will survive the process they helped to initiate more than five hundred years ago remains, Mann suggests in this monumental and revelatory book, an open question.

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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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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 / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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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 14 February 2012

 

 

 

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