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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Poetry By Mwandishi Mitchell

Commonwealth

Commonwealth, are they serious?
There’s nothing common about the wealth – period!
Meaning: end of sentence; black spooks,
In their uniform, informing the oppressor
On who’s resisting!

Genocidal vampires, certified blood thirsty,
Traitors who continue to inform, while our people
Continue to suffer!

Spoon feeding their brothers and sisters
Inside the bloated stomachs of these SCI’s;
Causing the elderly in our community to wonder why:
There’s no TLC with the young boys?
‘Cause they got blood in their Left Eye

©Mwandishi Mitchell
……

The Father of Bop

Epigram – “(W)e never wished to be restricted to just an American context, for we were creators in an art form
which grew from universal roots and which proved it possessed universal appeal. Damn right! We refused to accept
racism, poverty or economic exploitation, nor would we live out uncreative humdrum lives merely for the sake of
survival. But there was nothing unpatriotic about it. If America wouldn’t honor its Constitution and respect us as men,
we couldn’t give a sh** about the American way. And they made it damn near un-American to appreciate our music.”

The Father of Bop

Many people who listen to my music,
Probably don’t even know my first name is John
Or, that I was born and grew up in the small
Southern town of Cheraw, South Carolina
Pulling funny stunts on the bandstand,
Is how I got my nickname.
Another reason is because Bill Dogget
Thought I couldn’t read music.

One time, Cab Calloway thought I threw
A spitball at him.
I am a small guy, only about one hundred forty-five.
Cab said he was going to mop the floor with me.
Showing off for some dames.

I said, “Mutha*****! You ain’t gonna do sh** to me!”
He grabbed me, then I cut him with the knife I used
To carry around with me in my pocket.
Cab apologized to me when he found out
Jonah Jones was the true culprit.

My comrades and I changed music in our day.
I am a follower of Eldridge, Roy that is.
He, a follower of the great Satchmo.
It hurt me that my idol didn’t like the way
I took pieces of his style and created my own,
Which was totally new and unheard of
And he was very competitive in that aspect.

“Yardbird” and I started a movement.
Harmonically and rhythmically we were so in tune.
And when we played together,
Sometimes it was hard for the listeners to differentiate
Who was playing what notes, because they were exact.
I lost him to Manteca man.
I would’ve liked to die when I got the news.

I am the father of Bop,
Of course, back then we didn’t call it that.
We didn’t really have a name for it ourselves,
We just knew it was new.

Still play my style to this day,
Miles Davis, Lee Morgan, Clifford Brown, “Fats” Navarro, Freddie Hubbard
And even Winton Marsalis.
My style is etched in all your styles,
As Roy’s is to mine,
But I perfected it.

Copyright 2013 Mwandishi Mitchell
……
Color Blind
My ears from a young age
Have been trained with
An eclectic palate.
My first love will always
Be the art form know as Jazz.

An art form that was discovered
And had always been dominated
By Black Americans.
But, suffice to say, there are
More than a handful of White musicians
And vocalists who are and were
Extraordinary in their own right,
And are heroes to me nonetheless,
After mine own heart.

Dave Brubeck meticulously strikes
The ivory and black keys serenading
A “Jitterbug Waltz” to a packed crowd.

While making them rock loosely,
Herbie Mann and his nickel plated
Flute, engages another crowd playing,
“Mushi, Mushi.”

Who could forget, Philadelphia’s own
Stan Getz.
His smooth sounding tenor,
In all it’s splendor!

But to be quite frank, the balladeer
Michael Franks, “Wants to Know the
Reasons” why daddy is just like Coltrane,
And Mama is just like Miles.

My memory never gets worn,
Recalling the alto of David Sanborn
Statuesque and right,
Horning “Casino Lights.”

The aforementioned were all great to me,
But the greatest of the great has to be
Pat Methany.
Driving “Off Ramp” his fingers plucking
Away on his electric guitar.
I listen spellbound, his music painting
A picture in “Water Colors” all the
While asking “Are You Coming Home With Me?”
The “Still Life (talking)” complete,
Pat has conquered another death defying feat.
Certifying his accalim,
In the Jazz Hall of Fame.

Honorable mention: Kurt Elling
His vocals superbly story-telling.
With music there is no color,

Every man (or woman) is a brother,
Just use your ears and you will soon find,
That music, indeed, is color blind.

©Mwandishi Mitchell
……
Sticky Fingaz
It was February, I remember –
Cold as a penguin in Antarctica.
I approached the brown purse stealthily.
Mom was still asleep, she partied hard the night before,
My little hands probed for loose change or dollar bills.
I found what I was looking for,
Abraham Lincoln seemed to be grinning at me
As I put into my pocket.

Again, I believed that I had gotten away Scot-free
Unaware that the ubiquitous eye of the Supreme Being sees all.
Closing the purse quietly,
Although the tiny sound of the clasp closing
Was like a deafening bomb to my ears.
I made my way to Lea Elementary
Not knowing my dastardly deed was highly pernicious.
Popularity engulfed me,
And I was hailed as the conquering hero by the kids
Who I bought candy for from the hot dog cart
In front of school.
Who wouldn’t love to be liked by all?

“How was school today?”
Mom asked when I got home.
“Awright.”
She struck my little brown face with her flat palm.
Tears.
It was only the beginning,
I wouldn’t be able to sit for three days.

I learned a valuable lesson that day,
Don’t ever steal from Mom.
I never did again!

©Mwandishi Mitchell
……


“You have made something
Out of the sea that blew
And rolled you on it’s salt bitter lips.
It nearly swallowed you.
But I hear
You are tough and harder to swallow than…”

Messages in a bottle that have
been thrashed against the sea
Being stranded in this place,
This deserted island, held captive
with little hope of being set free.

It’s been a long time coming,
is a change going to come?
It’s been a long time coming,
is a change going to come?

This message I commit to the sea,
An S.O.S., a plea for hope,
that someone of a greater understanding
will come across that message,
and interpret, then conclude, that it’s
TRUTH

How many nights, I’ve lost count,
Have I awakened in the middle of one,
To find myself balling in tears behind
A locked steel door?

It’s been a long time coming,
is a change going to come?
It’s been a long time coming,
is a change going to come?

This sea, vast and ever growing,
has swallowed thousands, if not
millions, of messages like my own
from men with just as much,
Or even more fortitude as I,
What would me make any different?

My resolve, perseverance and determination
I would like to think
But even more than that, it is simply
TRUTH
It’s been a long time coming,
is a change going to come?
It’s been a long time coming,
is a change going to come?

So as my bottle floats in that sea,
that sea that has rolled it against
it’s salt bitter lips, but not swallowed,
I know that when it’s found, an innocent
man will be set free from this
deserted island!

An answer to Belly Song, written by S.Mansfield

©Mwandishi Mitchell

.
Trane
Epigram – “Earlier, when Ifirst heard Bird, I wanted to be identified
with him … to be consumed by him. But underneath I really
wanted to be myself.
“You can only play so much of another man.” – – John Coltrane, Down Beat, October 16, 1958

 There could never be a sound more memorable than his
The hulking phrasing and baritone of his embouchure,
Captures a signature that defines him!
A definition that only a true aficionado can listen to
And know exactly it is Trane who is blowing
Genius displayed on music sheet writing paper
Sums up this avant-garde of a new era in jazz
The Philly connection controlled the scene, man!
Elvis Jones, McCoy Tyner, Lee Morgan …
Who could argue with me after listening to, Blue Trane?
This is my homage, my tribute to the man
We lost way too soon
A Love Supreme, is what I feel when I hear him blow
It will be like that forever,
‘Til my ears cease to hear no more.

Written on Trane’s birthday 9/23

Copyright 2013 Mwandishi Mitchell
….
Trapped in tha madness, I’m forced to go tha whole
Although, it might spell a jail cell wit’ no parole,
I fight wit’ tha force of Steve Austin
Until my arms can-no longer hold off tha coffin!
In dis ghetto heaven, God bless tha children,
Whoze shattered dreamz are measured in heartz o’ men
We don’t believe in heaven, we’re livin’ in hell
Tryin’ ta escape a fate told in “A Bronx’s Tale.”
Feelin’ like Huey Newton-wit’ Panther plots
Wit’ hi-tech surveillance got my movez on watch
So I drop jewezl, use tha muzik to educate
Can’t celebrate-so we elevate!
(Tired o’ trialz and tribulationz
It seemz like life iz hell,
Dreamz are tha way of escapin’
Two worldz dat’z beyond imagination,
I know a place, I can take you dere
Through elevation!)
- Inspectah Deck – Elevation
.
The Gauge of Truth
On first impression, he looked like a deer caught in the headlights
The orange jumpsuits they wore, made them appear to be walking pumpkins
Oh, pray tell – what measures a man’s heart?
There’s something about the truth, though
When it rings, it rings louder than the bells in the Sistine Chapel
We’re practically the same age, but we’ve went down completely different paths
I went to Law School
He went to the school of hard knocks
Due to those circumstances, we’ve met at this point in both of our lives

Does he even understand the gravity of these charges?
Does he understand that if convicted, he could spend the rest of his life in a box?
Regardless, I’m charged to defend him
despite my thoughts of his innocence or guilt
But if he’s truly innocent
That would make my task of defending him that much easier
The affidavit claims there was a beating
Only the autopsy report will tell the truth of that
It will gauge the truthfulness of what he’s told me thus far

I believe he’s telling me truth
It will only be confirmed or denied by the report
The sheriffs are bringing him into the courtroom now
“Good morning, Mr Norfleet,” he says, giving me a firm handshake.
“No, Mwandishi – you can call me Andy.”

Copyright Mwandishi Mitchell 2013
.
A Dream of Esperanza
I close my eyes for a dream,
Looking at your latest magazine photo
That I’ve added to my collage
Natural Wonder, is the caption,
Giving praise to the magnificent Afro of a mane
Which makes you more beautiful than anything
I have ever seen.

For quite some time, I must admit,
You’ve infatuated me
So talented, so gifted, so unique
No other woman could make me feel the way you do,
As King Pleasure, would say, “Oh baby! you make me feel so good!”
You might ask:
“What is all this talk, about loving me—my sweet?”
I’d reply:
“Oh, when we are one, I’m not afraid—I’m not afraid.”
Beauty and the Bass, would you play me as you play your instrument?
Can your eight fingers play the back of my spine,
While I hold you in a tight embrace?
“I can’t help it”, if I wanted to
Wouldn’t help it, even if I could.
Blow softly in to my ear, like the breeze
Of a warm Spring morning
Tell me that you are mine and I’ll do the same
My heart would be true–there would be no games.

What I wouldn’t give to caress your smooth honey-brown face?
To have your lips meet my own,
Would be greater than kissing any championship trophy
Include me into your Music Societies, write a ballad to me,
So I can count how many ways I love thee!
Alas, I must stop torturing myself with this list and desist,
You see, Esperanza, my love—doesn’t even know I exist.

Copyright Mwandishi Mitchell 2013
.

Solitude
I’m still waiting for her to come through the door,
She said she would be right back; just had to run some errands.
That was four years ago,
When the sun was still up.
Now, it’s going on 10 o’clock and my mind is pondering.
I roll a Dutch to calm my nerves while watching another HBO re-run.
Y’know, the one they show sixteen times a month,
This month it’s The Matrix.
As a cloud of purple haze exits m y lungs, my mind goes into overdrive.
The herb makes me smarter, so I think anyway.
Low down, dirty @#*ch! Think you can play me, huh?
I’m burning up inside sitting all alone with the lights out,
You could fry an egg on my head.
There’s no mystery to decipher, she’s with another tonight.
Frankie Beverly & Maze’s, “Alone” is playing on the radio,
The old-school song has a rhythm as funky as a ten-year old pair of canvas
Chuck Taylors.
Izn’t dis shit ironic? I think, as Frankie’s voice has me in a trance.
The greatest weapon the Supreme Being made against man was
The power of the pussy!
Men have lost their wealth, power, prestige and some, even their lives over it.
Helen of Troy had a war started over hers.
And my sweet Sherry, my sweet, sweet Sherry, wrapped around me like a vicegrip!
Sherry was her name … like the burgundy colored fine wine.
Man, she was gorgeous. With a body that wouldn’t quit – au naturel bombshell!
I awake just before the dawn of a new day.
The bright reddish-orange hue pops up slowly above the horizon.
I look out the window and see her walking up the street,
Everything in me wants to put all her shit in a trashbag,
So that I could give it to her when she walks through the door,
And tell her that I never want to see her again.
But I’m too damn weak.
She has my heart in the palm of her hand.
When she comes through the bedroom door I’m wearing a rock face.
I say nothing, I just sit there and stare at her.
No need for me to ask questions, I already know the answers.
She smiles, but it’s a smug smile of resentment or contempt,
Not one of being happy to see me.
Her eyes are as wide as fifty-cent pieces: She’s been doing coke all night.
Who knows what else?
She starts to undress and I throw her onto the bed,
Laughing as I pull her jeans down her legs,
The laugh of a woman who knows she has a man whipped.
I make love to her as hard as I can, not the slow, soft, romantic, caressing kind.
In between her thighs is a sensation like none other, better than a fix of heroin.
Sherry screams and moans while scratching up my back.
When I finish, I roll off of her onto my back while breathing heavily.
She looks at me and says, “You think it’s that easy?”
I’ve always wondered what she meant by that and I still haven’t figured it out.
It’s as true as the last lyrics Jimi Hendrix wrote before he died:
The story of life, is quicker than the blink of an eye,
The story of love, is hello and goodbye, until we meet again. 

©Mwandishi Mitchell2014
.
Who Are You? (Knowledge of Self)
There’s a new caste … and it’s so grim it’s tragic,
Brothers disappearing like magic.
But there’s no hocus-pocus, the joke is, they have no focus!
Born black is a curse and what’s worse
Is they wanna see you laying in a hearse.
Education is the key, so they close more schools in the ghetto,
It’s way far worse than Soweto.
Young, poor, black man, the last of a dying breed…
You really think you people were freed?
It’s an illusion, I’m thinking delusion,
Which side of the game are you choosin’?
Forty percent wind up in jail for a sale,
You got ten years to walk off on your tail
Your family abandoned, you get no mail
Wasn’t thinkin’ about it when you put the coke on the scale!
But in the meantime, no, in between time – comtemplate
Thoroughly on these lines:
You are the maker, the owner, the cream of the planet earth,
Father of civilisation, God of the universe!
Inspired by Professor Michelle Alexander The New Jim Crow

©Mwandishi Mitchell 2014
.
Demos Kratos 
This society, four-hundred and some odd years in total,
Has efficiently replicated their Greco-Roman father’s legacy;
In the construction of government,
A government in which no emperor, king or tyrant
Rules with absolute power and authority.

The society’s buildings of state:
Capitols, Courthouses, Congress, Libraries, Schools
And memorials mimics the Greco-Roman architecture
In every sense of the word,
Standards and flags fly high atop them.
How mighty and strong they sit – one nation, world power!

Yet, in all their vanity they fail to see,
That even mighty Rome fell, as did Athens
Her Senator’s and Tribunes corrupt,
With the gold coin profile of Caesar,
Her coffers filled to the hilt with conquered booty.

My country, tis of thee,
Land of the free and democracy?
Mere mockery!
Until “People rule” in truth.
Its demise will be as imminent as their forefathers was.

©Mwandishi Mitchell 2014

.
My Jewish Brethren – – Have Scars Such as I
To be hated just because you were born, and what you were born,
is what we have in common.
Our ancestors have been tormented, hunted, murdered and despised
For no other reason than racial bigotry.
These maniacal, macabre, Draconian monsters!
Names like – Hitler, Himmler, Heydrich, Eicke, Höss, Eichmann, Mengele.
Destinations of genocidal death!
Places like – Dachau, Buchenwald, Treblinka, Auschwitz-Birkenau, Babi Yar.
Millions perished, as also in the Trans-Altantic slave triangle.
The struggles we both shared should be our bond,
Whether it be at the end of a hangman’s noose,
All too familiar strangle fruit,
Or by canisters of Zyklon B.
Murder is murder! The wound may heal, but the scar will always remain,
May the world remember – and never let these atrocities ever happen again!

Inspired after reading Guido Knopp The SS: A Warning from History

©Mwandishi Mitchell 2014
 .
THE CONTRADICTION OF EQUALITY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL
The son of a sharecropper and homeless vagrant I was
in the summer of ‘41
Wandering the streets of Mobile, Alabama—Yes, I was.
Had to be careful not to catch a vagrancy charge and risk
being thrown into a work camp to pay off my court costs and fines.

Then, a few months later when the Nips attacked Pearl, well
the army seemed like the only reasonable choice; three hots and a cot.
Was glad when I learned some of my readin’ and writin’,
Most guys my age hadn’t.
Uncle Sam said the only thing I could do was cook.
“But I want to kill me some Krauts,” I says.
“Peel those potatoes in that pile, boy. The real men fighting the war
Will need something to eat,” says Sarge.
At that point I pondered on whether I had made the right choice.

Came on the beaches of Normandy in’44.
Never seen so much death and destruction in one place.
Young men, not many over twenty-five, laid sprawled all over Omaha Beach.
Many were missing arms, limbs and other body parts.
Man had always been the master of carnage.
The water around the beachhead had so much blood in the water,
that it looked like fruit punch.
My own colored regiment collected bodies and put them in bags,
That’s the only work they thought we colored were capable of.
Damn near lost my own eye from shrapnel,
when a fellow comrade stepped on a land mine ten yards away!
All we had left was an arm and dog tags to put in his body bag.
Good old Chauncie. I’ll never forget ‘im.

By the following spring, we had the Krauts whupped!
The Third Reich was no more.
And Paris! Oh my Lord! The Mademoiselles loved them some chocolate!
In no way was miscegenation ever accepted back home,
So I bedded as many of them as I could.
The Jews didn’t have to worry about being killed by the Krauts no mo’!
Millions of them- -decimated! I believe they are the closest people
besides the Native Americans, who know what it felt like to be colored,
without being so.

By January of ’45 I was back home in Mobile – yes, I was.
Feeling damn good about myself too.
Money in my pocket, no longer a homeless, wandering vagrant.
My green army jacket was pressed and starched along with my trousers.
Went to Woolworth’s on Main Street to get me some vittles’.
The colored section was filled to capacity – – just my luck!
“Excuse me ,sir, can I get a sandwich to go?”
“The nigger section is full, boy. You can’t get nuffin’ from the ‘Whites Only’ counter!”

I turned around and walked out of Woolworth’s wanting to cry.
All of the fighting and working I done over there; for what?
To come home and not be able to get a sandwich?
In my mind I wondered while walking down the Main Street with my
Head hung low, Who in the hell was this Jim Crow character?

©Mwandishi Mitchell 2014
.
I’m Different
I’m different, I’m not like the otha’z,
My style derived from when I first saw, The Cold Crush Brutha’z.
Run and Daryl Mac were phat,
I wore Adidas, fat laces, and people neva’ knew I wuz strapped.
But I wuz blind az a youth,
My only concern wuz a chain, and a front gold tooth.
Sellin’drugz became an occupation,
Caught up in a mission, destroying tha Black nation.
Deep inside I wuz a nerd,
I knew thingz my homiez had neva’ heard.

I read histories, mysteries, marvels of tha centuries,
Certain that nothin’ on earth would eva’ get ta me.
Nineteen when mom died, and it messed wit’ my pride,
Twenty-four when pops passed onto tha otha’ side.
Had to be my own man, had to stand on my own two,
At timez I had ta look at my life from a different view.
I went back to tha streetz, I went back to the hustle,
Neva’ realizing the fact I wuz in trouble.

Came to tha state pen – – God damn, I’m all in,
Didn’t know tha lessons in life would really begin!
I learned about tha law, and I learned about people,
Learned that many my age, weren’t my equal.
They listen to Lil’ Wayne smokin’ on cheeba,
I listen to Jon Lucien, singing, “Rashida.”
They wanna be Rick Ross, wit’ a video to star in,
I wanna be the reincarnation of James Baldwin.
So now I have ta uze tha pen so that tha world will hear this,
I’m walking to a beat of my own, sui generis.

Jail neva’ made tha man,man made tha jail.
Dey said dis bid would break me, but hell, I can’t tell.
Freedom’z in the mind my friendz, and I would neva’ lie,
It’s all about turning into a different guy.

©Mwandishi Mitchell 2014
.
Fashion Life (Still Talking)
I’m lookin’ at,
Lady Gaga peddlin’ Versace bagz and,
Miley Cyrus in her Marc Jacobs ads and,
She shows her titts in W Magazine and,
It seemz like yesterday she wuz only a teen and,
A million dollarz worth of jewelry on both wrists and,
Beauty like her’z iz quite hard to resist and,
Liu Wen’s that new China doll and,
Her career in overdrive since last fall and,
Céline, Love Life iz tha new model and,
Prada paints faces wit’ stories to tell and,
Dolce & Gabbana iz celebrating old Rome and,
Donna Karen African prints neva’ been shown and,
Bottega Veneta haz always had good bagz and,
I can’t unda’stand why their models in tha sand? And,
Burberry Prosum got me lovin’ the Brits and,
Dey could fatten up their models wit’ plates o’ cheese grits and,
Bulgari Cleopatra watch looks like a snake and,
It’z tha Devil tempting Eve on a whole ‘nother take and,
Tom Ford haz a heel dat’z a chain! And,
Hiz creations becoming more and more insane and,
Iz Philipp Plein, a Black designer?
‘Cause I neva’ seen so many Blacks in an ad at one time and,
Nicole Kidman’s, tha face of Jimmy Choo and,
Jourdan Dunn, wow! She’s my new boo and,
Jeremy Irons, in plush Berluti shoez and,
Tacori gems in extravagant bluez and,
Escada model in Zebra print and,
Miu Miu leather pumps cost a mint and,
Chloé’s got a four grand python bag and,
Lara Stone’s titties neva’ sagged! And,
Cartier watches still standin’ tall and,
Fendi’s new girl iz the delectable Joan Smalls and,
Rolex Datejust doezn’t eva’ tick and,
The diamond Day, Datejust, iz jus’ so sick! And,
Hublot haz a stunning Big Band Fluo and,
I don’t know how much longer or farther I could go and,
I’ll end my fashion rant like so.

©Mwandishi Mitchell 2014
.
NO, I’M NOT AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN
No, I’ll never be one of those,
I even refuse to utter the name from my lips.
What the hell is a … well, you know, that name?
It’s a contradicting oxymoron!
What ties to Africa do I have but my skin?
The language of my forefather’s was robbed from me,
Their culture was robbed from me,
What region they lived in the Motherland was robbed from me!
And who the hell is this Vespucci?
Why is this land named after him?
He is not an Aboriginal indigenous descendant of this land.
Speaking of which, they’re not Indians!?
Indians are Sanskrit who live on the continent of Asia,
Who live in the country of India.
Those of which I speak, come from fierce warrior tribes,
With proud attributing loving qualities of Mother Earth
And nature:
Apache, Blackfoot, Crow, Lakota, Sioux,
Who fought the invaders calling themselves “settlers”.
Yes, I’m Black and I’m proud! Say it loud!
James Brown, raise your right arm with a balled fist!
They fear black—SOILED, DIRTY, WICKED, EVIL, DISMAL, GLOOMY, SULLEN
Blackamoor, black bear, black death… they’ll beat you upon the head
With a blackjack!
Blacklist, blackmail, black sheep—Black Power!
So, please, don’t refer to me by that name,
That walking contradiction that the sheep display proudly
To feel “included”.
I am and will always be – Black.

©Mwandishi Mitchell 2014
.

MO’NE
Mo’ne iz mo’ crisp than money,
Throwz a slider so mean and clean.
Standz tall on tha mound wit’ a fast ball.
Thirty-thousand in all watching in awe.
Mo’ amazing than anything I’ve eva’ seen,
Neva’ mind she’z a girl, I mean she’z
only thirteen!
Playin’ wit’ tha boyz – – no doll babies for toyz,
Competing on tha field iz where she findz her joy.
Talent exraordinare…baters beware,
She’ll retire you quick and without care.
And when you think you got ‘er banged up,
There’z a perfectly thrown changeup,
Competitive nature so fierce – -she’ll neva’ give up.
Sports Illustrated’s youngest cover eva’,
Why not? Mo’ne’z jus’ dat clever.
Hailing from Philly – – silly, my hometown,
Way to go girl… show ‘em how we get down!

Written while watching Little League World Series 8/20/14
Philadelphia, PA vs. Las Vegas, Nevada

©Mwandishi Mitchell 2014


 
Mwandishi Mitchell GB-6474
SCI Houtzdale
P.O. Box 1000
Houtzdale, PA 16698-1000

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