Remember Re mem ber ing

Before the beginning
before the rising sun
before the thought of future
before the prayer of separation
world torn from worlds
before sea crept from earth by moon beam
before moon
before desert
when all was a black dot.

Before the beginning
when motion was the only religion
lonely then too
I evoked a cover folded you into a womb and
beckoned beckoned
for you to form me from under an ignited sky
of ocean.
And in the rich exchange of cyclic respiration
and in the deep marbling of spirit
we created the air and spilled our progeny into
the soundless flight of flickering novae.

Before the beginning
before I became aware of myself you were there
my beloved my projection my constant.
You were the light floating a walk across
a montage of darkness.

Before my brain could see
you were the humble mind of space
my betrothed. You are the fourth dimension
time in a feminine envelope the clock of my spirit
my germ dormant is the tick of your memory
theology of heart.

For 66 trillion eons I searched the unseen for you
exiled from my center.
Oh my core, do you not recognize your living ancestor?
I am the broth of your tears.
You look to me through the glazed fever of forget
Alzheimer’s of the soul!
Even when you were sightless you
were yet a bed of vision.
Spiritual amnesia is surely my sorrow.

Almost Majnun


Dedicated to the missing children of war, 911, United Nations Day, 2002. The word majnun means mad or crazy in many languages.

I am almost majnun—majnun
searching for you in the cinders of cement
in the limp of wounded pigeon.

Rat fowl of urban rot
Have you seen my daughter?
Are you pecking her remains from hardened asphalt?
I am lost without her.
Her lungs were my lungs were my throat in my eye.
Have you seen my daughter?
She disintegrated into a sky burial of trade.

I am almost majnun—majnun
detonated propellers spiral into my cabin
exhaust roars raining flesh
gray human paste covers Manhattan.
This puddle is my husband.
He was renamed the falling man.
He has joined the blood river of twisted carcass.
I am almost majnun—majnun

Have you seen my sister?
She was tortured by a regime that looks like you
Lacerated in the spin of piano wire,
she is bleeding oil
a lily pad sinking in the Mediterranean.

Have you seen him?
You did see him, your brother.
You swallowed him in the gasp of television.
He is branded to the inside of your eyelids.
Descending in the blink of horror, he lives in you.
He is a tear gland squatter
a perpetual spiral down a landscape of eye.

The Fallen Man is
falling through the broken smoke of a fireman’s net
falling down the chimney of swine and coriander
falling up my nostrils into the mushroom stench of
Hiroshima and Nagasaki
falling across consciousness spinning
toward the grinding mouth of denial
falling beneath the choke hold of profiling snipers
falling over hallucinations of them falling
over hallucinations of me falling
beyond the debris of ethnic sterilization
I am skinless and blue—almost majnun.

Have you seen my daughter?
I am lost without her.
Her picture hangs from my neck like a stethoscope.
Her eyes are of Christ, jeweled mocha orbs.
I am looking for her in the dusk flake of air,
in the incidental pauses between words.
A morphine drip pats time silent.

I am looking for her in the dehydration of African bush
in the diarrhea of Zanzibar
in a vial of Pedialyte.
She died the death of a sanctioned Iraqi girl
no boundaries in sand dug outs
no penicillin on Acacia trees
no united way for a sickled tarnished penny.
She has joined the blood river of twisted carcass.

My eyelids are screens to
the backdrop of his tumbling tomb.
The fallen man is falling.
Some anonymous cadaver is falling.
He is the rain of descending graves
prostituted bird droppings
falling vertical assembly line
stock falling into a Korean labor of child heap
falling into the noise of majnun
crowd space crashing skulls of shattered mosaics
into the open cave of zero
falling down into the urban scrotum of Harlem
into the closed palate of chocolate slavery
into decapitated Taser breath
into forgotten blankets of small pox
you know those forgotten blankets of small pox
Trail of Tears—Trail of Tears
heart falling heat fixed into the stain of microbes
into an anthrax wail of crows
falling up the vertebrae of post-modernist architecture

Have you seen Mary, Maryam, Malaika, Marta?
Ah, Marta

Her hair is rain forests, each strand a disciple of its own.
She is almost majnun.
The plague of chemical lake pumps her veins.
Her nipples are a leaky dioxin faucet.
Her baby is a dowry traded to the North Star.
It is a unicorn born deformed in the raw sewage
of Guatemala.
I am almost majnun.
a displaced monsoon/scarf poetry blowing in soot
Have you seen?

Black Dandelion

Age four— Witnessed my first mow down

Twinkling ground stars, cut by a murderous lawn mower

Feeling the blade, I fell, curled like a snail in grief


12 full moons folded into Spring — Perennial promises prevailed

Bees celebrated return of dandelions in a skirt of twirling, yellow bliss

Flowering bouffant mirrored my spiky little afro

Jagged edged “lion’s tooth” leaves paid tribute to my snag-a-tooth smile

Me and my freedom fighting flowers frolicked to survive the

scissoring, up-digging, poisoning

Warning Signs hovered like low hanging clouds:

No Blooming Allowed; Blossoms Will be Prosecuted

These brave plants grew just for me

Grew in spite of a society that favored a monochromatic landscape


1965— Mr. Brother Malcolm X was assassinated, big word for a pre-kindergartner.

I was convinced he must have been a dandelion, Reverend King too,

and the Johnson boy who lived one turn down the street, that way.

The Johnson boy was shot by the police for growing in a monochromatic landscape.


Training Wheels Off—Bike riding across insecure cement, I peddled the bumpy path

waving solidarity to each surviving, sunburst noggin,

each fulfilling the promise to ornament lawns and flourish souls with lemon drop hope


Dandelions bare art of

endurance and escape

transforming into pearl puffs

floating with ephemeral intention

carrying the spirit of the weed.


13 Full moons faded into July — “I am a proud weed!”


Yes, I declared that shocking proclamation standing in the pulpit on Youth Sunday

Vernon Chapel A.M.E. Church

I added to my speech on David and Goliath

my impromptu improvisation of Dandelion Dogma:


“We are Black Dandelions who will NEVER be destroyed.

We grow the power of goodness for generations into the future!”


I yet remember the hat framed faces of the pious, amused and mortified.