Thursday, July 19, 2007

Goodnight to/Good Mourning for
Sekou Sundiata

"...And what if we could
show that what we dream is deeper than what we know?..."

--Sekou Sundiata from the 51st (dream) state

i google him when the news first comes. i need something, someone, somewhere to tell me that elmaz is mistaken. that her information is somehow wrong. that sekou is not gone.

but there is nothing. and i cannot find the pictures we took with him the last time he read/worked with the austin project. i hold the memories of meeting him and walking in the dream state of his work. i don't think there was a time that i felt i was not enriched/changed by his presence. for that... thank you, sekou.

so many words swim in my head, so many poems creating themselves. but i don't want to fuck them up by writing them down. i want them to keep living. i don't feel equipped in this moment to express what i am feeling in an exquisite, deserving way. it is all too overwhelming. and i have no space for ascent into the beauty of what i learned from sekou nor the decent into the places of anguish that are lurking in the periphery of this day, this mourning of his passing. the kids in my house, mine and other people's, will not stop needing and the phone will not stop ringing. my knees are shaking under it all and i want to buy a candle in memory of his light. i need air. all of these children will not fit in my car so we walk to the park. i want to pick flowers on the way there but then i would be no better than the thing that clipped his life. so i admire them and look forward to seeing them on my journey home. i am overly aware of life and living. the trees. the birds. these flowers all reaching for/looking to the sky, face to the sun. these poems in my head are demanding attention but there are a group of shirtless, football passing Black boys in the park that are laughing and calling each other nigganigganiggabitchassnigga and i can't concentrate. i scribble a few words in my journal, even graffiti sekou's name because it's all i can manage. the boys, whose mothers (i am certain) would not appreciate the joy and volume of their words. i want to scold them or hold them or take them somewhere safer than this park where gavels sound in the eyes of all of homeowners and their white classmates parents. my daughter notices my annoyance with them and the sorrow just under my skin. she frets, "are you going to say something? please don't, mom." and i don't. and i take her and my son and my nephew and my niece and three neighbor girls away before they witness the ugly and the nigganigganigganiggabitchassnigga coming from these beautiful mouths.
i am in search of the journal filled with notes form his talks and the poem with the line about pigeons being better politicians (because they indiscriminately shit on everyone). i am grateful for it all. so much in so little time. so much. i hope he knew. i hope he knows.

if you've never heard (of) him or experienced his work, go to
or go to and search for the video of him from his appearance on HBO's Def Poetry Jam.

with gratitude and profound respect... (sekou, thank you. i wish you infinite joy. i pray for your family. i am changed by your mentorship, faith, activism, commitment, love, humanity, example.)

shia shabazz
i invite your comments/memories/experiences of Sekou and his work, in tribute...