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Two Poems by Immani B.

Remnants of the Trade
Sweet Black - A Poem for Apryl

San Diego, California

Immani B is a poet and freelance writer. She lives in San Diego, California.

 Immani B.
Remnants of the Trade

I'm walking down a backstreet called Injustice
and I'm wondering what Martin Luther King would
have said or what
Malcolm X would have done or DuBois or

I have been in a thirty year labor
and I still can't get over the plight
of the dispersed ones
and its not just in my town
and its not just in the nation's capital
and its not just in Queens or
Brooklyn, Port A Prince
Havana or

And I can hear the voices of the dispersed ones
crying in unison
all over the world
and I can feel the tension of their voices
quaking the earth and breaking with waves
and 400 years of the same hi-tech
oppression repeated in every trading
and I know the past will never be forgotten

There will never be a forgotten past
and that past is really the present
they're all calling for a breaking point now
|not a new book on race relations
written by those who have removed themselves
from our communities
and they're praying for a breaking point still
and I wonder what Haile Selassie would have
done or
what type of song Marley would
|have sung

They say,
Who feels it, knows it,
and Peter Tosh and
Colin Powell may not have been on the
same page, but
what can Ebony and Jet do
to satisfy the voices of the dispersed ones?

Copyright 1998 by Immani B.

Sweet Black - A Poem for Apryl

I've got my hand in the corporate pie
and its not like I don't have it
on the trigger
in the middle of this jungle
in any city
in any state
within these great united states

but I'm trying to forget the past and
black bodies dumped into the Atlantic
and dispersed all over the place
and then blamed
because they can't get their act -

and their memories of Benin
are gone
and I'm kinda shocked
that we've survived this long
maybe we wouldn't have
if it hadn't been for those east indian pipes
filled with herb
that never really hurt anybody and
three strikes and you're out
if you get caught
but there is a double standard

because you didn't know how to eat
apple pie
and you never really liked
baseball or hot dogs
and nobody in that literature class looked like you
or knew anything about your heritage,
including you

and you sat there by yourself pretending
you weren't really there
and your black face was really invisible,
and it was, to them,
and you prayed the day would come when they
wouldn't say your ancestors loved being slaves

and if it hadn't been for a white hand
you would have lived a savage
and despicable life
just like your red brothers

but now you've read a few books
and decided that
although you know all about making lemonade
I mean
what's the difference between making lemonade
and chopping down cane or
picking cotton and walking barefoot
in a deep trench of dried ancestoral blood
killing for your Nikes and gold
and unable to see beyond those
unfulfilled promises

and my grandmother worked as a missionary in
and tried to convince them
that they were wrong
when they practiced their ancient religions

I guess she thought her ancestors were
merely cotton pickers, too,
or maybe they were just really good at making

Copyright 1998 by Immani B.

Published in In Motion Magazine April 19, 1998