“I See Your Revolution and Raise You the Future” by Joi Miner

This poem was written by a dear friend of mine. She’s an amazing poet. She’s from Montgomery, Alabama. And yes, Forrest Gump is the first thing that comes to my mind, too… don’t feel bad (the “I think you should go back to Greenbow, ALABAMA!” scene is more specifically what comes to mind.

I won’t say too much about her and violate my “let the poem/art speak for itself” rule, but you can learn more about her on her blog: www.joiminer.wordpress.com

So without further ado, here’s one of her pieces she was kind and generous enough to allow me to share here on Soul Gourmet. Enjoy:

I am not a revolutionary…
not a veganterian declaring my disdain for pork
I do not take a stand against the MAN for sport and this nappy head is not an outward defiance of conformity.

In the 50’s I probably would’ve taken my seat at the back of the bus as not to cause a fuss and just studied on a way to paper trail lead us into freedom because you can’t serve nobody if you serving time and bringing the limelight to your cause also brings a scrutinizing eye.

Ritmatic, Writing, and Reading, proven formulas to succeeding.
I teach the inner workings of manifest destiny alongside multiplication tables in elementary school classrooms.
Degradation times emasculation= the current state of the nation
Say it with me, children.
Degradation times emasculation= the current state of the nation

Big Brother don’t tap into schoolbooks, long as my lesson plan fits the formula, cause he suspect that niggers don’t read. We’d rather grace the stage, spitting our latest dope shit from memory. Claim Griot decendancy, securing prophesies within mental lockbox for safekeeping.

I prefer back of the house work, serving rich white folk in their country clubs while listening in on their trade secrets.
Prepare a meal from the ingredients and serve them in inner city school cafeterias.
Keep the recipes, a family heirloom, in a box on kitchen counter. Hide my militancy in batter for fried chicken in Southern Style Cookbooks.

Ain’t no glory for the dead. That shit you got up in your head leaves room for missed meanings. No opportunities to study for self, ingest, digest, regurgitate, and digest again. Share with a friend and get a fresh perspective. Words heard result in stomach churn and heartburn; morsels passed whole pieces in stool feces. While words read allow retention.

What are you gonna do when your cds stop spinnin? When word of mouth is silenced and all you have are four walls and a pen. Cause revolutionaries meet one of two ends: Death or Dishonor. And only those taught to read and write will have the proper advantage.

Griots spat because they could not write. Revolutionaries clicked up cause they could not stand alone. Can’t go nowhere if you don’t know where you’ve been, won’t get there if you don’t know where you’re going. Maps can be multiplied and followed to a like destination. Directions given word-of-mouth oft lead to wrong turns and stagnation.

Freedom is a choice, not a soliloquy. I’d rather leave the instruction manual on how to light a flame, than ashes as my legacy.

-Joi Miner

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