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Amiri Baraka

Amiri Baraka (1934-2014)

Amiri Baraka (née Everett LeRoi Jones) author of over 40 books of essays, poems, drama, and music history and criticism, is a poet icon and revolutionary political activist who has recited poetry and lectured on cultural and political issues extensively in the USA, the Caribbean, Africa, and Europe. With influences on his work ranging from musical artists such as John Coltrane and Thelonius Monk, to the Cuban Revolution, Malcolm X, and world revolutionary movements, Baraka is renowned as the founder of the Black Arts Movement in Harlem in the 1960s. His recent books include Somebody Blew Up America and Other Poems and Tales of the Out & The Gone.

Balboa, the Entertainer
It cannot come
except you make it
from materials
it is not
caught from. (The philosophers
of need, of which
I am lately
    will tell you. “The People,”
(and not think themselves
to the same
trembling flesh). I say now, “The People, 
as some lesson repeated, now,
the lights are off, to myself,
as a lover, or at the cold wind.

Let my poems be a graph  
of me. (And they keep  
to the line, where flesh  
drops off. You will go  
blank at the middle. A  
dead man.

die soon, Love. If  
what you have for  
yourself, does not
stretch to your body’s  
    (Where, without  
music trails, or your fingers  
from my arm