Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth: My Poetry 4

This is the last day of National Poetry Month and I wanted to share a couple of the poems I wrote for the NaPoWriMo challenge this month:

Prosthetic Conscience

We are the abominations:


And like a bomb in nations

We go off as we enter their spaces


The sight of us

Blowing off their heads

Leaving them in critical



They replace heads

With clouds in metal cages,

Find minds in pages of a man-made

Book wrapped around the bars


Like babbling newborns barely knowing

The universe, let alone the world,

Let alone themselves, they scream smoke

Of fiery fear from their lungs:


“You are the curse of Ham!

You are a witch; you must

Be silenced! You are the fire

and brimstone raining down

on Sodom and Gomorrah!”


We are the aliens in our spaceship

Coming down to see the unbelievable –

Those who never explored

The space around them


Pitying their smallness

The bodies without heads

Who refuse to see the magic

In our eyes.

Tribute to Angela Davis (cinquain)

Girl Black

Explore yourself

Halo hair spout wisdom

With fist rising like a fired



Modern Griots Reviews: Futurist Film Showcase

When I first heard that the Black Radical Imagination were showing their Futurist Film Showcase at The Meat Market in Brooklyn, at first I was a little suspicious. Turns out, it’s a clothing boutique with a strange name and nice items. But anyway, I did enjoy the showcase, which for me was a selection of seven films I already saw and an introduction to new films I did not.

The curators Erin Christovale and Amir George decided to do the showcase after noticing several independent filmmakers who were creating space or fantasy-themed films. Below are my short descriptions and links to websites of each presented film and filmmaker:

Continue reading Modern Griots Reviews: Futurist Film Showcase

Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth: Napo Masheane

Source: Arts Review

As a poet, I am always looking for new poets to love, and I came across South African poet,  playwright, director, and producer Napo Masheane on Poetry Potion (their latest issue, On Being Human). Masheane’s poetry has a magical and mythical feel to them as she writes about black women and her own heritage. Her books are Caves Speak in Metaphor and Fat Songs for My Girlfriends. She has also written plays about body image and wanting to change the preconceptions about black women and their bodies, including My Bum Is Genetic Deal With It and Fat Black Woman Sing. Read her interview from Word N Sound and some of her poems below:

SAMBURU ‘My People”

We are travellers
We carry our names
With the beat on our feet
Re Barolong, Bakoena, Batlhaping,
Bahlakwana le Bakgatla
We are Samburu north butterfly

I stand on the backs
Of those who are called Bakganka
Singing songs that the rains and the winds
Never whispered to dinoka.
Badimo baka waiting to be praised
With the buzz of the bees,
The beats of the drums
They chant to my unsaid choruses.
I stride on shoes of giants,
Creating the legacy of their conquest,
Embracing their names in verse,
Reflecting their voluptuous looks on lakes,
Pulling their strings from Khalagadi,
Placing them on borwa ba AFRICA

Tshika ngwe ya rona comes from the reeds
They have built Maluti Mountains with their hands
Beautifully, engraved their narrations on sunburnt hills
Leaving their birthmarks on olive caves

We are Samburu north butterflies
Glittering with diamonds attached to our wings
Living after ancient tales,
Our souls are wrapped
In long wedding shawls,
We the wise ones speaking in riddles,
Where our words pass through
Village gossips, metaphors,
Our lands marked by chocolate pebbles
And pale skies
These lands where warriors glide
Effortlessly over rocks.
Striding easily across long life distances

My people have placed graves of their Kings
On top of Thaba Bosiu
They have shaped thorns
To protect their languages
Allowed their spears to rise in anticipation
To create the intimate magic.

And in the night of wisdom,
We sing in puzzles
We come out of our cocoon like little babies covered with life,
We jump like butterflies that have reached their glory,
Our sounds, travel far on the still air
Of story telling and spell dances.
We sleep with darkness calling our names.

At dawn the rays of the rising sun
Kiss our lips
As Virgo the morning stars make out our names

We are Samburu north butterflies
Stringing cords from our ancestors’ guitars
Moving with songs of time
As the meadow carries our fairy-tales
Reitea Kosha, retswa ka pina
As the forest echoes our clan names.
Our tongues recite clicking sounds of the desert
We the Sand people
Constantly in search of the grazing sun
Our red veins mark the soil
The spilt blood of our warrior-ship
Dances with the safari snakes

We are Samburu north butterflies
Our roots are rooted in Leole Mountains
We are calling out Thobela Sekhukhune
Mampuru Mopedi Moholo
Moshoeshoe moshoashoailana
Re Barolong, Bakoena, Batlhaping, Bahlakwana le Bakgatla
Hotswa mosi oya thunya
Re Bo Mankurwane le Bo Manthatisi
We are merely travellers
Carrying our names
With the beat on our feet
We chant and chant Freedom

Continue reading Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth: Napo Masheane

Moving on the Wires: Afrofuturism 2.0 Call for Papers, Janelle Monae + Erykah Badu, Kelis

*Call for chapters for an anthology on Afrofuturism 2.0:

"We are soliciting scholarly research, theoretical essays, and applied
studies that explore how the concept of Afrofuturism is related to
Africana Studies for an anthology...Authors are to submit a 250-300 word abstract 
for consideration by the editors by June 10, 2013. Authors of accepted 
abstracts will be notified by July 10. Final submission will be 
due by October 30, 2013."

For more information on essays wanted, click here.

*Here are two new funky tracks from Janelle Monae and Kelis:

Janelle Monae and Erykah Badu – “Q.U.E.E.N.”

Kelis – “Call On Me”

Happy Earth Day!

Enjoy these two videos that I recently saw that include themes about earth and nature from a speculative fiction angle. Also, take a look at Outdoor Afro, a social community encouraging the exploration of nature.

Book video for Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents
Nature SuperHero

Heal our World Heal Ourselves campaign

Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth: Sekou Sundiata

Starting this month until October, there will be several events celebrating poet, playwright, educator and activist Sekou Sundiata, all part of Blink Your Eyes: Sekou Sundiata Revisited, a New York City-wide retrospective. There have been a few events this month already, including one with Tracie Morris, and during next two weeks will be events at The Apollo Theater and The Poets House. All the events will include a wide variety of artists and creatives, including Amiri Baraka, Nona Hendryx , Vernon Reid, and Greg Tate. Below are a few of his memorable poems (I love the musicality and cultural awareness of his poetry), and you can read more on his website:

Philosophy of the Kool

a blues for poets

I been swimming since water,

learning to sing like the songs.

The oldest one I know goes like this:

Some people came from the trees,

I remember coming out of the undertow: the ocean

of seas: the electricity the explosions

billlions of us crashing with the waves,

then blown away into memory.

You can still hear us in the piece of a beat

or in that music made from scratch.

The first words still had roots,

like a James Brown syllable.

It was a single cell one minute, a slam dunk the next.

Speed was our need.

_ Continue reading Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth: Sekou Sundiata

Modern Griots Reviews: Juice Aleem

(warning for epilepsy!)

Remember E.T. with Elliot riding the bike into the sky; that was the first thought I had reading UK rapper Juice Aleem‘s title “MoorKaba Light Bikes” on his EP featuring three versions of this song and “Anumal.” That sense of theatrics and spectacle as well as a theme of elevating oneself are throughout both songs. Aleem sounds like he is physically speeding through sonic space with his sci-fi lyrics, including Star Wars references, and social commentary and operatic-sounding chorus in Roots Manuva-produced “MoorKaba Light Bikes.” He slows it down a bit, gives a rougher, trap-style, horror-film feel in the complementary “Anumal,” but still brings the social commentary (“get the slave man’s boot out you consumer ass”). The Ebu Blackitude and Kashmere the Iguana Man remixes and the a capella versions are just as good as the originals showing Aleem’s strength of his flow and lyrical content. If you enjoy this EP, keep a look out for his forthcoming album, VooduStarchild.

Buy from Itunes. Also, watch his earlier video, “Wicked Scientist and him in the short film, The Fitz-Cayman Experiment:

Continue reading Modern Griots Reviews: Juice Aleem