I had the good fortune of being able to attend a diverse Black Arts Movement Class in college. Where in the beginning I felt out of place and out of sync, as we read about the struggles and triumphs of the black people in America, it became clear to me that their struggle was similar in some ways to the Indian people’s struggle against the British Raj. After creating presentation on Huey Newton and the Black Panthers, I was moved to pen this poem on the feelings of a black man talking about his struggle and thoughts against his white slave master.
I named it ‘Shout’ here goes..
My color is unique, found in the Australian swan.
Yet with a million of my brothers,
In this land I stand denounced.
I was taken from a village,
While I sang my country song,
Teaching my young offspring,
Just how to get along.
Now I stand here naked,
Stripped of everything I had,
In white man’s clothing,
All my cries go unheard.
The rings around my ankles, I broke long ago,
But the shackles that bind my heart,
Strangle me every day.
Who am I? Where do I belong?
They let me eat their grains,
But don’t let me be the farmer.
When I talk about my land, my culture
My brethren, my blood
They turn a deaf ear, pretend it was never heard.
I want my children and theirs there forth,
To know the value of their skin and hair,
It’s not a special aisle in the store,
Nor a broken fence in the neighborhood,
It’s not only special one month in a year,
Nor is it a box in a plea to be accepted.
The color of my skin, the power of my being
The remnants of my glorious culture,
Surge through my veins, like venom through a snake.
It inspires me, incites me, pushes me
Throws me, it angers me.
My brothers have laid their lives and I seek revenge,
But I will not shed blood.
Because I do not seek blood,
I seek a revolution, I want a revolution.
A change of hearts, a change of minds,
A change in the winds that give me the jitters.
Give me a part on your stage, a verse in your song
A color on your easel or a page in your book,
And watch my revenge unfold.
Like the grains in a granary, united we should stand
Hold them at their words, their actions
Their promises, their demands.
Let the perpetrators know, that
Treachery might break our bones
But pride will nurse our spirits back to life.
And though the color of darkness, on our skins might shine
When we wring your hearts
Instead of blood, they’ll bleed dirt and grime.
So hold my hand as I chant this rhyme,
Awaken your heart, awaken your mind
Awaken what you thought was lost
Your innermost, awaken your deepest divine.