RSS Feed

Amiri Baraka/LeRoi Jones RIP

BARAKA-LargeAmiri Baraka, formerly LeRoi Jones, died today at the age of 79. Baraka was a poet, a playwright, and a political activist. Rather than write about my feelings towards Baraka or how and why they changed over the years, instead of doing the IMeMine routine, I decided to post one of his poems, saved a lifetime ago when I tore it from the pages of the Village Voice. Re-reading it I fell in love with his work all over again.

For Baraka’s bio, facts, photos, politics, and controversies, Democracy Now is doing a whole hour on him today, and numerous other sources of information abound.

When We’ll Worship Jesus
Amiri Baraka

We’ll worship Jesus

When jesus do

somethin

when jesus blow up

the white house

or blast nixon down

When jesus turn out congress

or bust general motors to

yard bird motors

Jesus we’ll worship jesusimages

when jesus get down

when jesus get out his yellow lincoln

w/ the built-in cross stain glass

window & box w/black peoples

enemies we’ll worship jesus when

he get bad enough to at least scare

somebody—cops not afraid

of jesus

pushers not afraid

of jesus, capitalists racists

imperialists not afraid

of jesus shit they makin money

off jesus.

We’ll worship jesus when mao

do, when toure does

when the cross replaces Nkrumah’simages-1

star

jesus need to hurt some a our

enemies then we’ll check him

out, all that screaming and hollering

& Wallering and manking talkin bout

jesus, jesus in a red

check velvet vine & 8 in. heels

jesus pinky finger

got a goose egg ruby

which actual bleeds

jesus at the apollo

doin splits and helpin

nixon trick niggers

jesus w/his one-eyed self

tongue kissing johnny carson

up the behind

jesus need to be busted

jesus need to be thrown down and whippedimages-2

till something better happen

jesus aint did nothin for us

but kept us turned toward

the sky (him and his boy allah

too, need to be checked

out!)

we’ll worship jesus

when he get a boat load of AR-47’s

and some dynamite

and blow up abernathy robotin

for gulf

jesus need to be busted

we aint gonna worshp nobody

but niggers getting up off

the ground

not gon worship jesus

unless he just a tricked up

nigger somebody named

outside his race

need to worship you self fo

you worship jesus

need to bust jesus (& Check

out his spooky brother

allah while you heavy

on the case)

cause we aint gon worship jesus

we aint gon worship

jesus

we aint gon worship

jesus

not till he do something

not til he help us

not till the world get changed

and he aint, Jesus aint, he cant change the world

we can change the world

we can struggle against the forces of backwardnessimages-3

we can change the world

we can struggle against our selves, our slowness,

our connection with the oppressor,

the very cultural aggression which binds us to our  enemies

as their slaves.

We can change the world

we aint gonna worship jesus cause jesus don’t exist

Xcept in song and story except in ritual and dance, except in

slum stained

tears or trillion dollar opulence stretching back in history, the history

of the oppression of the human mind

We worship the strength in us

We worship our selves

We worship the light in us

We worship the warmth in us

We worship the world

We worship the love in us

We worship our selves

We worship nature

We worship ourselves

We worshp the life in us, and science, and knowledge, and transformation

of the visible world

But we aint gonna worship no jesus

We aint gonna legitimize the witches and devils

the spooks and hobgoblins

the sensuous lies of the rulers to keep us

chained to fantasy and illusion

Sing about life, not jesus

Sing about revoltuion, not no jesus

Stop singing about jesus,

Sing about creation, our creation, the life of the world and fantastic

nature how we struggle to transform it, but don’t victmize our selves by distorting the world

Stop moanin about jesus, stop sweatin and cryin and stompin and dyin for jesus

Unless thats the name of the army we buildiing to force the land finally to change hands.Unknown

And lets not call that jesus, get a quick consensus on that.

Lets damn sure not call that black fire muscle no inivisible

psychic dungeon

no gentle vision strait jacket, lets call that peoples army, or wapenduzi or simba

wachanga, but we not gon call it jesus and not gon worship jesus

Throw jesus out yr mind. Build the new world out of reality, and new vision

We come to find out what there is of the world

to understand what there is here in the world!

To visualize change, and force it

We worship revolution.

3 responses »

  1. Like you, Marcy, I’ve got mixed feelings about him. He wrote magnificently sometimes, as the poem you present demonstrates, and other times, well, not so much. His book “Blues People,” first published in 1963, is still one of the finest studies of blues and jazz ever written. I first read it in high school in the early 1970s and it continues to influence how I hear and listen to music.

  2. Jesus was revolutionary. The worship of him is not.

  3. Good distinction, Susan!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 510 other followers