Courtesy of TRIAAC
Amiri Baraka made his transition January 9th, taking with him a vital breath to many a poet, writer, activist, revolutionary, intellect… In April 2012 I had the opportunity to hear the brother read his work in Indianapolis at the Etheridge Knight Festival, and to have a few words with him. Back in the 70s I had the opportunity to visit him at a Spirit House Movers presentation. The brother’s house was packed — wall to wall people with poetic offerings coming in spirited rounds.
Amiri Baraka was the transmegistus of his time. A vital element in the movement of a people through time and place, a change maker, spur in the side of oppression, a vital voice for the liberation of Afrikan people. He was a man of changes, pronounced changes that took him from Greenwich Village through Cuba, to Harlem and back home to Newark that he dubbed New/Ark, and onto international acclaim.
Thank you Amiri for having the audacity to be the Baraka we needed when we needed it! RIP, Elder!
free spirit, rise now
celebrating amiri baraka
By Omowale-Ketu Oladuwawhether you charted weather or rolled from thunder to cloudburst-bolted zigzag escaping streetgray tomb graveyard stone crying out you came cool as oya wind brother. came searchin’ the bighead navigating mindstone-blited intellect questioning questioning razoreyes slashing bohemia swept transpotency stripping gutters of western wigwam whisking transcendental mindfuck to a world realer than crossroad realer than a mississippi jukejoint in the new/ark. 1960s blackjack crackin’ nappy head more alive than jacked teeth and split lip swirling in polar vortex of goodmanesque bad music. corrupt cops and capitalist copy way of the western world you /whetherman the weather that ices sheets of sound rolled into bluesthunder broadaxe of a natturner hand harlem muscle uptown justice. walked away from a twenty volume suicide note into a repertory black arts trismegistus stepback to a duboisian single-mindedness a freejazz radical ornetticism doubleblind past double consciousness word as streetspeak and you /blues wail of a corner speakeasy blackmusic bluespeople you kept tellin’ us… be. spirit. walktalkbe. spirit every breath from right into left and resist walkrunsprint jab thrust fight till you fund democracy find freedom /once free never don’t be never slave a gain never dutchman the a-train. you teached us know thyself temple message from land of the black experience as groundforce intellect warrior knowledge as cultural realpolitik you /object ever of market force never again. be free spirit walkthetalk thinkthinkthinkthink think. be! be the word you speak speak the be you word you kept the question: who you know ever seen god? but everybody seen the devil you said, what do you mean what are you sayin’ what do you mean what are you sayin’ what is the function of art in the world reflection of your time? what whatwhatwhat what you mean? will you sell your children sell your babies for status and comfort will you sell your you to be that which is against you kills you /smothers your possibility to be a whole and new you? will you boot dance to irish fiddles and dance on yo’ mama’s grave? 2. i hear you, brother, hear you scattin’ cross the transitional divide: poems are bullshit unless they are teeth or trees or lemons piled on a step. i hear you, brother: the quality of night that you hate most is its black and its starteeth eyes… i hear you brother: my poetry is what i think i am. ms. brooks said it: “baraka is always news.” haki said it: “Baraka” <blessing> news news news news news news news news news the blessing /new news the good news you left us struggling to be something real something other than jesusophiles stacking tithes in preacher plates you told us: be whys. be wise! Be y! 3. brother ain’t take no prisoners him ain’t give no quarter either, son. ain’t take no shit… boyo was manish long as i knowed a-him way back in the late ‘50s village days swappin’ lines with ginsberg and publishing the cutting edge of white literary culture back from air force become force in his own word way out on the fringe, below the underneath in the human substratum of be-less all/ways more and asking, asking always asking always learning and revolting and revolutioning and changing. him be giant sun stomping out the dark of white hate growing strong men in blind alleys of america’s ghoulness cuckolding the negroness of white supremist conformity building clear black thot resist now, resist now! rise now… move to a united front stompout negroignorance. took the black in the nation and melded it with brown brothers and sisters stepping salsa lively it’s nation time dance words mixing rhyme and rhythm culture and el barrio history you exiting one thot /one movement across years toward human toward be-ness in the valley of the shadow at new/ark one god, one aim, one leroy become leroi become imamu, become ameer barakat become amiri baraka become prince of sound blessing of a burgeoning nation become foreshadow and lifeline to afrika revolution become lite in the dark horn of whiteness become clear, pure water baraka /become identity stood resistant when negroes was marchin’ on them patches a-cotton toward their black growing up outta southern fields and northern factory floors. amiri’s jersey 12 miles from wall street empire was a-standupness place of growing mind spirit place mind building body of revolutionary aware aware mindfulness building blackfists of rebellion flames and fuel for the fusion become a communist lite that blinded illusion crippled poormouth took streetspeak and called humans human called man to microphone the polyrhythmic polyphonic scat of horn and cymbal bassline baraka was spirithouse
was mover and mortar was punctuation in sound become word was freejazz elegba in the movement of black art was brain and muscle the word uncut obatala. 4 there’ll be no more dead lines no more dead lines no haphazard phrases rocking simple minds to sleep amiri been here still here. amiri calling fists of intellect calling committed soldiers to identity devotees of the malcolm blood matches of the fire what burned newark and birthed the new/ark. no more sounds curdling in the vat of ameri-dimness no more lies in the name of democracy one man one voteness one black guy become pawn of market force for the onepercent clique no more. amiri gave us the sweet of our selves bequeathed the passion of our bloodriver amiri gave rise to an america we could live in gave us back the potential for freemind rise now and walktalkbe free the spirit rise now!!! © 2014 by Omowale-K étu Oladuwa
 expressing a doubt or choice between alternatives.  He may be a representation of the syncretic combination of the Greek god Hermes and the Egyptian god Thoth.