Monday, September 22, 2008

Plato on the Poetic Victory

The poetic victory is simply this: when the people come to the poet to praise him because his work has transformed their lives. The poet has no other mission than to inspire the people to be their better selves. Thus, we were honored and praised a few days ago when two hip hop youth passed the poet on the street, then, upon recognizing who he was, returned to shake his hand to thank him for changing their lives. They claimed they found a half of his book Wish I Could Tell You the Truth, essays, 2005, on the bus and they were transformed into conscious activist poets, who presented to the master poet their latest CD on the anti-violence theme.

People called the master poet mad when he decided to give out free copies of his books at the crossroads of Oakland, 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland. He gave out $3,000 to $5,000 worth of books. He said God told him to do so. After hearing from the youth, he knew he had done the right thing. Surely we will give away $3,000 or $4,000 to save a youth!

But the glory is in the reaction rather than the action. He is duty bound to spread the truth.
“Will you hide the truth while you know?” says Qur’an. But from the response of the young men the poet felt vindicated. And other youth have told similar things: not so long ago a youth just released from the Santa Rita County Jail told the poet he had read his book How to Recover from the Addiction of White Supremacy, and he was changed. He vowed to never again deal dope to our people, based of the testimony of Dr. M. He was searching for a job when he ran into the poet at 14th and Broadway.

And so we call these happenings the poetic victory, for we see the power of words to transform and raise us from the dead, Nommo, the sacred word made real and breathing, water for the weary traveler.


This is not about making money
selling books
ego or fame
women or children
Old age and sex
sin or some preacher
Some holy book or how one prays
a simple thing
tears in eyes
working last nerve
standing when feet tired
Talking when silence is desire
showing love when hatred is behind smile
feeding poor when they ask
Like listening to an old woman homeless
story of a mad negro and a mad African one after another
street children with grills in their mouths
telling stories of spirit world
the daily round
work unfinished
truth no matter
a circle coming
round and round and round

This is not the personal
A lover lost in traffic
about the teacher
but the student who learns to stand
to teach
what he is taught
About comrades who will gather on the corner
to save themselves
about the black the white the mixed or the mad
coming together to realize
life is a moment to seize
or be lost in eternity.
action and reaction
Passing the tone test in the presence of the beast.
getting through the day so one can fight tomorrow.
seeking knowledge above food, rent and pleasure.
Knowledge powers
universe into ball
We throw into space
and time
until it explodes
a new world
to see
and wonder.

--Dr. M

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