Featured Poet:

 

 Femi Abubakar: Curating Diaspora

 

Confronting postmodernism’s strident “no”, blithely pessimistic in its desire for organic negation of its own existence, Femi Abubakar’s Manual of Dispossessed Motherlands repeatedly says “yes”. Throughout Abubakar’s collection of poems, affirmations, and acceptance are lines of flight that ally “with striated territorialities of occupation” harmed by the system and its outmoded, “illogic of whiteness.”

When Abubakar arrived in Omaha in 1994, the same year that Reagan-era poultry farms were finally deconstructed, he initially “refused” to identify as an African, and, instead, “celebrated whatever was not Eurocentric, working in meat-processing and youth centers… and thinking the only community possible was a community of resistance.” Now he admits that “poetry is also a city,” and writes of the diverse cities, past and present, inside and outside of Greater Africa—of the way that identity, for people of color, actual and virtual, has intersected the orthodoxies of the African age and fractured and liberated its content, both bride-price and wedding guests. In syntax that is intentional in its non-whiteness, Abubakar acknowledges that a sentence and grammar itself can contain or oppress. He writes, for example, after Mugabe’s “Non-native Agricultural Appropriations Act,” of:

[…] the exhausted government ministers who, as development loans defaulted and life blossomed into a bloodless auction, had to choose between educating their children in the U.S. and selling their Mercedes fleet or acquiring the confiscated farms of people who might and did hurt their wives and mistresses, who made the decisionless-decision of continued personal enrichment or the impersonal impoverishing of a racist agricultural sector that regularly humiliated Africans for being African and for being married, for having women of no color who had children or women of any color who had children by many fathers or black women who had children with fathers who were not white.

 

Recollected in diaspora: The Bride Price

White goats, pale camels, filthy sheep
and colorless apes of finance
hail the bride-to-be.
They gather in the lengthening shadows of the West
bleating and chattering in that unsafe space
where colonial powers hoard deceptions.
Silent, in her hut,
bound, excised, sewn shut, she sits
sullen, coagulating:
an African body, a fetishized continent
commodified non-event of bargained victimhood
and among the bloodied baobabs and dusty thorns
we wait for a wedding
to burst forth with ululations of victory
from innumerable hot gun-barrels.

 

Femi Abubakar is an Omaha-based poet and essayist, and a professor at the Diaspora Arts Collective. His works include The Camels of Ouagadougou (Nomad Press, 2003), My Transplanted Nation (Inshallah Press, 2011), and the 2014 Trinidad/Tobago GRIOT award-winning Beads for Slaughter (Carnival Books, 2016), which Shoshana Mandelbaum described in the New York Times as “bold, beautiful, challenging verse that bankrupts the political economy of poetics and of art itself.”

Abubakar’s poetry (he writes mainly in French) has been translated into a number of languages, including Tuareg, English, Basque, and Arabic and his chapbook Tea in the Desert (2013) was published by the collective Djema el F’naa in Amazigh translation. Abubakar’s other chapbooks include Al Haji Masra’s Wedding, and Holy War of Poetry.

In 2016, Abubakar was diagnosed with highly-aggressive case of Trump Derangement Complex which led to his work on the politics of resistance in the age of tolerance. According to critic Idris Washington-Jones, Abubakar’s work “butchers the fatted calf of poetry and culture as we know them.”

( Editor: Harrison Tsinakut-O’odla )
Harrison Tsinakut-O’odla  is a First Nations poet born on land belonging to the Hootenani Nation.
He grew up in Ininew,  Oji-Crow, Dene, and the Ts’msyen Tsimshian territory of Kitsum’k/Kitsalas.
He also lived on Pemmikan, Snuneymxw, Qw’tsun, Anishnabg, Ha’denoyni and Wendat/Tlohtià:ke.
He identifies as a white woman who voted for Donald Trump.
His preferred pronoun is Kootu.

 

Combustability

If you should choose to kiss, and kissing, turn

Redoubling, consuming in abandon

Then would love, in loving you, prove wanton

While terrestrial forests willingly burn.

Our lips in flames no waters extinguish

Until all love’s knowledge itself unlearn;

Our pupils for that flaming lesson yearn

Which bequeaths the heart unlessened anguish.

So loving you, I leave to turn and choose

In naughtiness regained when all is ash

To profit from the loss with naught to lose.

Thus eyes that gaze, unchastened, toward the lash

Must lose, in turn what all the world had gained . . .

Read half-coherent verse—and think half-brained.

 

 

faces in the crowd:
pedals on a wet black bike . . .
where is my bike lock?

Social Justice on the March

 

Society needs more Social Justice.   Humanity needs peaceworkers.

Peace and Social Justice must be promoted aggressively. There are inequities that must be addressed. Power is not equally distributed. Neither are resources or wealth. Neither are poetic gifts or vision equitably distributed. Unearned privilege is rampant. Poetry must confront this global crisis of capitalist exploitation and manipulation. Poetry must speak to the masses. Poetry must radicalize and inform consciousness to new levels of social change. Marginalized citizens must be empowered. All sexual, gender-based, racial, religious, age-based, homophobic, xenophobic, and gynophobic bigots must be brought to see in a new way through our poetry. Community building and local empowerment are of the order. Our poetry must be global in scope, yet rooted and grounded in local community empowerment. Selfless acts of service to promote and increase Social Justice are needed. Lives selflessly devoted to establishing social justice are called for. Our poetic lives must be laid on the altar of the dis-enfranchised and unrepresented. We, as consciously aware poets, must advocate and speak out for those who have no voice.

We, as poets, must, through stirring words of Social Justice, embody through our radical verses the burning hope of a just and sustainable future. This future must become increasingly collective as formerly marginalized consumers become empowered community-builders through our poetry. As poets of the sustainable future we will empower and inform. Our poetry must collectivize, entitle and enslave. We must speak with ONE VOICE: the voice of change and social justice. Our words will rise with healing in their wings and lift whole communities from despair to radicalized self-awareness in communities filled with strident, intolerant and maniacal practitioners of PEACE & SOCIAL JUSTICE. All poets who do not lay their entire creative and lyrical selves on the altar of struggle to bring CHANGE and SOCIAL JUSTICE will be LIQUIDATED by our own EMPOWERED POETRY. IN THE END WE WILL WRITE A PURE POETRY OF SOCIAL CHANGE, ALL IN CAPS, AND THIS POETRY OF SOCIAL JUSTICE AND EMPOWERMENT WILL BE READ OVER THE GRAVES OF ALL SELL-OUT, CORPORATE, FASCIST, SNITCHING, SELFISH, UNEMPOWERED AND UNEMPOWERING TRAITORS AND ENEMIES OF SOCIAL JUSTICE.  IN THE END THERE WILL BE NO PUNCTUATION OR EVEN WORDS ONLY PURE IMAGES OF CHANGE + VISIONARY COLLABORATION IN SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION/MAYBE SLASH MARKS/OKAY MAYBE EXCLAMATION POINTS TOO BUT ONLY THOSE !

WHY? BECAUSE THE ONLY GOOD POET IS A LIVING POET WHO HAS LIQUIDATED EVERY FALSE POET NOT COMMITTED TO THE STRUGGLE FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE !

LONG LIVE POETRY IN ACTION THROUGH CHANGE!
WRITE/SPEAK/AGITATE
FOR  SOCIAL JUSTICE  & EMPOWERMENT !

POETRY IS STRUGGLE
STRUGGLE IS CHANGE
CHANGE REQUIRES SOCIAL JUSTICE
SOCIAL JUSTICE BRINGS PEACE
PEACE BRINGS WAR
WAR BRINGS CONFUSION & DEATH
(SO DON’T BE CONFUSED)