Friday, November 23, 2007

jazz requiem for revolutionary poets

Been thinking poetically a lot lately, which is one reason I haven't been blogging much around here. This is poem I have been working on for the last few days. Check out my recitation of the piece as well. I strongly believe that poems are meant to be read and heard. I think poets should give just as much attention to the written form as the spoken or performed form. Eventhough I say that this poem short on form, that is to say I didn't spend a whole of time on form, but then again this poem is about 90% done, I still have some fine tuning to do. I am hope to workshop this piece and have it rigorously critiqued. If you can help I am open to criticism, email me.

jazz requiem for revolutionary poets

For Amiri Baraka and Yeshua ben Yosef
there is no finer art
than revolution.
sublime, syncopated turning
liberated riff
radical act motivated by
thought liberated
from hegemony
thinking collective
not digging on nobody's exploitation

art is banal,
light repellent
burning on the surface only
without revolutionary goals;
in mind and regime changing mellifluously
like chords in a coltrane solo.
hear the beautiful struggle

as siren
as transcendent and elegant
marrow piercing
as poetry as
words are to me,
i'd rather write
the constitution
rewrite it rather
give it
arms legs hands
teeth feet mouth
a whole, black man
living improvising
incarnate dialectic
incapable of shutting down dialogue
open to inquiry
for who the question
is almost always the answer

a variation on a theme
of an aristotelian standard
this man is a revolutionary animal
positively bureaucratic.
but reluctant to govern
as less is more is the motto
matter is neither created
nor destroyed
only changes form is the constant
and the mantra

well-acquainted with suffering
not-opposed to death
As comfortable with chaos
as this poem is intimate
with the imperceptible power
infinitesimally smaller than a quantum
larger than the universe
forever expanding
like the piano bass and drums
in the spirit
of prophesy
ezekiel bebop
a little crazy
and just credulous enough
to preach in cemeteries-
this is why you write poetry:
to cry onto the four winds
to give breathe to the revolution
baba zu zat zu zat zu zat. Amen

© 2007 michael penman. All rights reserved.

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