Sat. Oct 20th, 2018

A THANK-YOU CARD TO ABENA WALKER AND ASKIA MUHAMMAD (A Book Review In Poem Form)

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ASKIA! ABENA!

Saw both at separate times while hawking T’Challa
A marketing Marvel
The Black Cat unifying the white movie theater and Black lecture hall
Afrikan Panther Power brought to you by Mickey Mouse

Askia has quilted his scribing life of red, black, green and white (house)
“The Autobiography of Charles 67X”
A Black NPR SoundPrint on rewind
A map to the recent past
A big life in small, Black print
Via the Negro press

The book has no-curse verse (‘cept for N-word)
Traveling from the Deep South to cosmo Dee Cee
Pix of Charles as child
And the Black women who loved him into existence

ASKIA! ABENA!

Muhammad in power’s hallways, representing the Lost-Found
But love, loneliness are themes inside the new tome
As the ‘PFW mike is passed from Askia to you
To agree aloud and understand

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One of the book’s pix made all the news
‘Bama with the Minister
Held in a secret Black vault
And released only now
During Lex Luthor’s presidency
Rednecks so sore they need matching baseball caps
Eye-staring a screaming FOX
Mad that America is continuing to be made without them

Mean-when, Abena Walker loved her daddy the way Askia loved his mommy
She learned the greatness of Black men from her No. 1
LEON. EDWARD. ROBERTS.
And became determined to reach and teach all in her path
She and others decided to build a pyramid
In Their Nation’s Capital
The Bethune-Woodson African Learning Center in Southeast
And create Phoenix-es forever in flight

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“My Father’s Tree Forever Grows”
Is the title of her book of poetry and essays
Stealing from Sterling, a master word/slicer: Strong poets keep on comin’
(ABENA: “Soul is/the knowledge behind the innocence/of intuitively knowing”
ASKIA: “If I had a country/We might call the boy scouts Simbas and police departments FOI, Panthers/But we’d still call Aretha Franklin one of our queens and Muhammad Ali the greatest”}

ASKIA! ABENA!

The Male Principle and the Female Principle
Speaking history aloud to keep it alive and vibrant
Rising in the air
They believe in Nommo’s holy power
Thoth working in harmony with Shango
To speak while looking you directly in the eye
To share today in case it’s just you left tomorrow
Storing inside the sacred story

The Realm of the Ancestors will soon be an army
Of NOI, BPP, and SNCC
Looking down on folks more committed to the small “i” than big “US”
They are dropping ropes
For the brave to climb

People who wear Church-lady hats say
Love is quiet and kind
Some prove it every day,
Like Abena, educating the youth
Like Askia, making every word count
Witnesses, on-air and off, but always on

So say Abena’s and Askia’s name out loud
Let them hear the love
Rising into the air
Their quiet, respectful, loving response
Will belong just to you
If you stop to meet them.

–Todd Steven Burroughs
3/5/18

2 thoughts on “A THANK-YOU CARD TO ABENA WALKER AND ASKIA MUHAMMAD (A Book Review In Poem Form)

  1. Great Honor and applause, while they can recieve it on this side of the mortal coil, to two pillars in Chocolate City’s ancient future!

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