Stokely Charmichael/Kwame Ture

November 15, 1998

Dead today,

Stokely Carmichael

Kwame Ture,

What can I do for you today

This day

of your death?

 

Not until I saw

one of the organizer’s tags:

‘Kwame Ture Memorial’

did it hit me,

your death

your ‘transcendence to the ancestors’,

as the Memorial Tribute Program said

your ‘passing to the other side to join relatives in the spirit world’,

as the first speaker, Native brother said,

before recalling your solidarity at Wounded Knee

and your presence at the occupation

of the Bureau of Indian Affairs 

in Washington, 1973

 

What can we do for you

this day

of your death

Kwame Ture,

But renew our struggling,

as you kept-on renewing
Banned from one country,

finding another

Turned away at point of entry,

trying again at another

Barred from entering

a total of 30 countries

including Trinidad and Tobago,

your birth place

Banned from one place,

finding another place

calling your callings

Always another calling

Always another rally

Black Power – Pan-Africanism – Pan-Socialism – Pan-Peoplism

 

Beginning on stage, a cowbell-melody recalling your birth

and proceeding from the back of the room, a deep drum-rhythm recounting the story of your life

Melody of birth and story of life

coming one toward other,

and meeting at death

A West African praise-song to the dead

in memorial tribute to you,

Kwame Ture

African Warrior

among several African Warriors

among several warriors

Bakule!

Bakule!

 

One thunderous applause

dedicated to you,

Namibian-style

Instead of one moment of silence

Because your life was never about silence,

Kwame Ture,

although as Khafre Kambon said,

you ‘lived a life of poverty while raising millions for your party’

and you lived by these choices without words of complaint.

 

‘One Unified Socialist Africa’

as you wrote at the end of every letter

and at the end of the epitaph

you wrote for yourself, for us

Kwame

Dying in Africa

on the same principle upon which

you chose to live there:

To share fully in Africa’s sufferings

while working to alleviate them

as a child of Africa

 

With life constantly slipping through our fingers,

and with death everywhere,

I know

today

Kwame Ture,

it is exactly as Peter Tosh said,

‘Let the dead bury the dead

and who is to be fed, be fed’

 

Stokely Carmichael

Kwame Ture

‘Two names,

one leader,

one friend

as the Cuban solidarity message

to your memorial ceremony said

What can we do for you

this day

But keep-on living

each day to its fullest

‘The revolutionary loves life’,

Hugo Blanco said

‘yet never flees from death and misery,

injustice

and hatred’

 

Pan-Africanism – Pan-Socialism – Pan-Peoplism

One living woman that I am,

Kwame Ture

I’ll help keep the spirit of these struggles alive

Never growing impatient

because ‘all impatience is selfishness and egotism’,

as Kwame Nkrumah told you,

 in 1967

I’ll live by this spirit

help keep vision alive

Until one day

I die,

as you have now, Kwame

joining

countless others

leaving

a spirit of unity

behind.

 

first published in The Bullet is the Word

December 1998, p. 7

2 responses to “Stokely Charmichael/Kwame Ture

  1. This was a wonderful tribute to an incredible person, and I even love how you formatted the poem’s text, as it made for a work of visual art in its presentation as well!

    Sincerely,

    Frank

  2. hey salimah didar mumbarak if yer into that. i like this piece especially pan peoplism. thatz zee key not pan-continentalism. still he fue un revolutionario de alta calidad.

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