O White Father
by robert karimi
O great father keep on rollin
teach me all your wisdom
wont you keep on shining on me.
we were on the border of adulthood
the word revolution was new to our lips
we were just getting
used to the color of our skin
like it was a new coat.
our awareness of our race
had stiffen us
made it uncomfortable to walk
our suit collar super starched
but we knew we had to ease it in
like any other thing we wore.
in meetings we would congregate
for our new religion: revolution.
no pastor stepped up to lead the flock
we werent no sheep; no flock, us)
on the 3rd meeting
the boy stepped up.
his suit was comfortable on him
so he thought he would lead
all his dreams of a race revolution.
he knew us best because
wore our coat,
wore our coat;
he had studied our prophets
he knew us
better than we knew ourselves.
Youre White!, screamed a dissenting voice.
Youre from that place
where rich white people live
and spiritually commune with their dollars.
They claim theyre more holy because of their
proximity to the Golden Gate Bridge.
In smoldering silence,
the man who knew us better
built his potential and...
You know as much as my history as you know your own.
I came from a place of struggle and strife
My parents served me a proletariats life.
I am the one
who has fought
beside the Zapatistas
helped the Mayans in Guatemala
fight CIA sponsored terrorisms
gone to Cuba
to unblock the blockade
fed the starving.
I have walked the streets
I have smelled the revolution.
I have read the texts of fists and anger.
I have touched the hands of people unwanted.
What have you done?
we felt our coats become stiffer
our hands dug deeper into our empty pockets.
we had never done any of these things.
our parents could only afford Christmas trips to our homelands,
and our excursions into the veins of home
were at the mercy of
our parents purse strings, parental permissions and our own teenage angst.
we only had our families
our run-ins with the law.
they were not revolutionary.
no one wanted to make a poster of
our mothers cooking tamales
no one carried a necklace of our neighborhood pictures on their necks.
no one wrote histories of our struggles,
so that must mean they had no significance to this revolution
that was new to our mouths.
our mother was not Assata Shakur, Marcos
nor our fathers.
our parents could not fight our oppressors
with the glory and force of
the one who knew us better.
they were workers
trying to get by,
who came here to leave their countries behind.
(we whispered: were they traitors to the Cause?)
we hated the one who knew us better
than we knew ourselves
for doing all those Revolutionary things we dreamed:
having the gift of freedom, packaged in dollars and time,
to explore the boundaries of our self.
we hated him for slapping us
with our heroes and saints.
awakeing us to the horror:
he did know us better
The one who knew us better
I may be from that place you despise
I love your people
I believe in their cause.
It is my religion,
let me teach you
how to pray.
We bowed in silence
until the day we learned
that our race was not a coat
not our prophet.
it was too late.
we bleated and prayed
to his lead:
the iconization of our race, his creed
and he was a prophet of our creation
from our creation he profitted
robbing us, not blind
because we already couldnt see beyond
our logos, our chants,
our color, our rants.
we were easier to lead this way.
easier to lead this way
easier to lead
this way. over here...good. now you are a people.
1/23/02; 2/01/02; 2//02;5/3/02;4/21/03
© 2003 robert karimi