We sang this for Shekem


I am the diamond black
like sweet-soft-night loving himself,
the countless stars of my presence
illuminating the spiral of history’s journey,
I am the jewel formed
of ancient myth and holy need,
my mother’s sweat-burned laughter
my father’s bloody seed.
Love me, and Wisdom will
claim you solely for her own.
Hate me, and Justice
all your Beauty shall disown.
Enigmatic, sensuous, and loving of God,
I am the diamond black,
a hotly-troubled ebony Sphinx–
perched like a timeless vision
in the crown of these golden beginnings.

(from I Made My Boy Out of Poetry)
(c) Aberjhani


I know blackness as taught by my father:
“You are my joy and my genius,” he often said.
I know blackness as taught by my mother:
“Your smile is my robe of honor, your peace my earned grace.”

Once a year we were pilgrims driving from Atlanta
to Waycross where my brother and sister and I
would walk with our parents’ memories through the fields
where they and their parents bled through Georgia summers,
just barely better off than slaves who died there.
“They took everything but the best thing,” my father moaned.

I know divinity as wept by my mother: “Your eyes
are the windows through which He watches over us.”
I know divinity as wept by my father: “Your veins
are the halls of glory where He meditates our fate.”

There in the fields of ignominies past, our hands
would link and weld like burning rings of truth.
Passing over ground now fruitless and cracked
my father’s foot crushed the skull of an albino serpent’s evil,
and my mother’s heel the sting of a dark scorpion’s ignorance.
“They killed everything but one good thing,” my mother said.

I know power as sung by my father’s soul: “Every single one
cut down left you a legacy of strength on top of strength.”
I know power as spun by my mother’s faith: “Don’t matter if
both arms break, your spirit can still lift a whole nation.”

We stop at the gray stone -bigger than I, then- marking the place
where my father saw his father fall in the fire of a merciless hour.
We gather round him. His tears storm silent.  Each drop splashes
my head with pictures: Black Souls cryin’ all together; Black Souls
laughin’ all together; Black Souls shining bright all as one.

“They ruined everything but the sacred thing,” said my father.
“We brought the Love with us and we keepin’ it still,” said my mother.
“Every hour henceforth we are delivered unto blessed triumph.”
“We brought the Love with us and we keepin’ it still.”

(from Visions of a Skylark Dressed in Black)
(c) Aberjhani

blackman sitting on a rock

madness like a sugarcoated bruise
paints your face the same
color as frozen lava.

affection is a dead angel
adding up history’s betrayals
in the center of your soul’s ponderings.

your smile a poem
sung in languages
you have never understood.

(from I Made My Boy Out of Poetry)
(c) Aberjhani


By the golden light of my blackness
I see a woman dead
and reborn many centuries over,
her belly rolls fat
with a soft round infinity
and her breasts stand beautiful
with the secret milk of joy and pain.

Beside her walks a man
with a chest like two thrones
and an ebonwood staff
covered with the stories
of days gone & days to come,
his sex hangs heavy
with the hurricane songs
of creation and destruction.

“I think this child
is going to be a trickster,”
speaks the woman
placing her hand made of lilies
over her belly throbbing with infinity.
“I think this child
is going to be black & white & yellow
and very fond of wars
but very much afraid of Love.”

The man pressed his lips
upon the woman’s belly
until it glowed like a cloud
filled with diamonds:
“I hope this child is born part angel
with wings made from the grace of God,”
spoke the man,
“I hope this child is a humanspirit
with legs of great wisdom
and arms of  true prosperity.”

As the woman and man walked
and talked beside each other
the woman painted a dream
upon the sleeping face of a full moon
and they saw inside this vision
all those things they had feared:
the greedy mouths of men overflowing
like canals with the blood of other men,
the serpent tongues of women spitting fire
like bullets of envy and hatred for other women.
They looked upon these things
until tears grew the woman’s belly larger
and with a kiss in one hand
and a song in the other, the man released
the goldenblack infinity glowing inside the woman.

I want to tell them: mine is the color
of things unknown and mine
is the dance of a-new-day-rising-fast.
When I open my mouth to speak these words
they hear the sound of one river crying
and another river laughing.  Through their eyes
I see myself squirming brightness in my
father’s hands and I shine to let them know:
I am not born to become less than what
I/ALREADY/AM.  I am born to establish more.

(from Visions of a Skylark Dressed in Black)
(c) Aberjhani


Inside this world of your lips burning mine
we have already fallen to our knees
and watched our previous lives dissolve
like a wing full of snow-covered feathers.

Here inside the light of this kiss
you surf naked down a river of mysteries,
I glide joyfully through the ocean of your soul,
our lips pull flame like candy from each others tongue.

What is this beauty that sings us back to life?
We make brand new flesh out of poems and desire,
my blood running like stallions through your heart,
your mind glowing like summer inside my veins.

Your life shaping my life.
My life loving yours.

Inside the hidden universe of this kiss
no one ever talks about breathing.
We wake up and go to bed drowning
in dreams of the world inside this kiss.

(from Visions of a Skylark Dressed in Black)
(c) Aberjhani

Aberjhani is the author of three books – THE WISDOM OF W. E. B. DU BOIS; I MADE MY BOY OUT OF POETRY and ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE HARLEM .



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