POETRY: Ode to Malcolm On The Anniversary of His Birth

by Paul E. Nelson

(This poem is dedicated to Georgia McDade)

Spike in urban heat waves and loss of Alaskan permafrost signal climate change is intensifying, EPA report finds. The report … delayed from being released to the public under the Trump administration, shows the country has entered unprecedented territory when it comes to global warming, according to federal scientists. The agency relaunched a website detailing these climate change indicators to convey to the public how these damages are becoming more severe. — Washington Post, May 12, 2021

For Georgia …

No Malcolm, the chickens did not come back to 
roost with white people, they came back
to roast. Roast he of the dominator ethos, he

the enslaver, he the
fossil fueler, he the 
corporate exec earning
500 times that of the lowest
corporate employee, he

of 800 worldwide military bases
& no basis in reality hence
even Liz Cheney can debunk.
(LIZ CHENEY! For the
love of all things holy.)

& Brother X, we don’t have 100
 more years to let the white man
get in order his act, the chickens
are roasting, cities
 are roasting, forests
are roasting, imagination
wasting away, Black Lives

must more than matter.
We must celebrate those
who’ve fought (who fight) The New
Colonialists, those who’d

swing us a new measure in music
like Miles & Monk & Bud Powell
 (who beat it to France after a cop
beat his head in.) Rest in Power

Bud Powell.
Rest in Power Thelonious
Monk, Gil Scott-Heron. Rest in Power Lorraine Hansbury,
Shirley Chisholm, Sandra Bland, George Floyd,
Eric Garner, Malcolm X.

Someday maybe we won’t
associate breath

w/ pracarity, bullets with
moral authority & will realize
as the prophet said
we were all siblings

after all.

Poet/interviewer Paul E Nelson founded SPLAB (Seattle Poetics LAB) & the Cascadia Poetry Festival. Books include A Time Before Slaughter/Pig War: & Other Songs of Cascadia, American Prophets (interviews 1994-2012), American Sentences, A Time Before Slaughter (2009) & Organic in Cascadia: A Sequence of Energies. Co-Editor of Make It True: Poetry From Cascadia, 56 Days of August: Poetry Postcards and Samthology: A Tribute to Sam Hamill (2019) Make it True meets Medusario, he is an active member of the Subud spiritual community, serving as Local Helper, Chair of the Subud International Cultural Association’s USA chapter and lives in Rainier Beach.

📸 Featured Image: Attributed to Victoria Pickering Under a Creative Commons 2.0 license.

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