37 Poems Lasana Sekou

37 Poems Lasana Sekou


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



but here we are.where every man should once in his life / (not in any other life)

have this.a woman who adores him / (stirs in him the consummate black hole to ebullience)





Books by Lasana M. Sekou

37 Poems / Brotherhood of the Spurs / Big Up St. Martin  / Born Here Love Songs Make You Cry

Mothernation: Poems from 1984 to 1987  /  National Symbols of St. Martin / Quimbé: Poetics of Sound

The Salt Reaper: Poems from the Flats

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37 Poems by Lasana Sekou taught at US university


GREAT BAY, St. Martin (June 2006)—A new St. Martin book has been selected for study at a US university, said Jacqueline Sample, president of House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP).

37 Poems, the newest book by St. Martin poet Lasana M. Sekou, will be taught in an English course at Cleveland State University (CSU) this Summer. CSU associate professor Dr. Nuala Archer, herself an award-winning poet and author, will teach the course.

The book was “selected as a text for ENG 240 for Summer, 2006,” according to Anne Barnett, administrative assistant to Dr. Archer. Archer has also taught at Yale University and directs Cleveland Poetry Center.

Sekou and his 37 Poems (2005) and The Salt Reaper (2004) have picked up what is for a St. Martin author an unprecedented string of critical reviews and profiles in literary books, journals and newspapers in Jamaica, Trinidad, the USA, and in England over the last seven months, said Sample. 

According to the CSU English Department, the course in which 37 Poems will be used offers students “The study of poetry written in English, with emphasis on its forms and distinctive characteristics.

“Students will develop their ability to analyze literary texts and to write persuasive essays about them.”

The course further places “English poetry in the context of world literature, … [and] introduces English majors to research and critical techniques needed for the baccalaureate study of literature.”

Interestingly, in May 2006, the author Fabian Badejo used the “nation suite” series from 37 Poems in his poetry/drama workshop with the students of the Sr. Marie Laurence Primary School in Middle Region.

Sekou and Deborah Drisana Jack are thought to be the only two published poets from the island whose writings to date have been formally studied at universities abroad. Sekou’s poetry and short stories have also been studied in Caribbean and Canadian universities and high schools.

“With the 4th annual St. Martin Book Fair opening on June 1, this news is stimulating to the St. Martin and Caribbean world of books and multimedia production,” said Sample. “Our writers, musicians, and artists are working at their craft and the St. Martin people and culture are benefiting from this.”

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37 Poems, newest book by Lasana M. Sekou “will not wince”


title                                                   X

                                                 By Lasana M. Sekou


come to be

     +males of military age+

new code for the coders

a codeX.a con-

stitute to “hunt them down”                 :

                                                 +marked man+

come to be

all who look so all alike

my brothers, again, the dark mane

locks in the cross hairs.                   +

© 2004

*   *   *   *   *


by Lasana M. Sekou

the mornings are fewer

the nights longer

love is fine and full

here the fight rewards the future

and everybody else but you

makes bad coffee.

© 2004

*    *   *   *   * 

worker island

by Lasana M. Sekou

i did not see lantau island

the buddha brilliant regime in sun

lighting the way where tourists stray

to shake sticks at their future

for a fated read of each of the same other difference

but cynthia say,

            there is a fishing village beyond the fray

            where  older heads pear out bamboo windows

                        children ride bicycles too

the sea and the scene is this

what we all see to be seen

as pierced longing and longing

eternally at each other’s side


and we are always with people …

© 2004

*   *   *   *   * 

city of poetry

                 (for Medellin)

                              By Lasana M. Sekou

it is you again

in another place, unrobed

bare muse,

in the valley of fat nudes

stark iron soft maidens roundly

fashioned by the hands of the self in exile

see them all waiting the kiss of the men at war

for that day when the armies meet. sin pistoles


bare muse,

looking over the city, the firing volleys in earshot

burst of volition the light to see si

el dorado was not was land.

but here we are.where every man should once in his life

(not in any other life)

have this.a woman who adores him

(stirs in him the consummate black hole to ebullience)

even if blind he sees, she walks barest from the shower,

wet full wonder, her lips, fan of thirst, snare beads of water

she wanders to the dryness of his unsuspecting body,

pressing herself hungrily

until he and she and sheet reach in the deep soak,

a wanton geography of sea 


bare muse,

here she is countless

she wears …             from the shower

                        from the rain

                        from the zinc-curtained bath

                        from the basin’s marble terrain

            wears herself, unrobed, sin verguenza

            the perfume of water

            still coils in the abandon of her hair

            willful water falls from her eyelids

            a cooling, clinging, to the laugher of her hips,

a flight of tongues courses,

                        curves, laps, lyre, longs to the ground

                        feast to famish. 

© 2004

*   *   *   *   * 


                                               By Lasana M. Sekou

the hand of the fathers

ascending the nations

crowns the sleeping sons


the spirit of the fathers

descending, winged as eagle, pelican prowess

graces the waking sons


the sacrifice of the fathers

bears the family of nation, the worlds of wealth

rewards the working son.

© 2004

*   *   *   *   *


                                          By Lasana M. Sekou

there is no broken home

in the manner of the talk,

since it name so,

to self-fulfill the terror

that we now come to in habit.


there is no broken home

when upful images of our fathers are many.

© 2004


posted 18 September 2005

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For July 1st through August 31st 2011  


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#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

*   *   *   *   *

Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

*   *   *   *   *


Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label ‘trafficked’ does not accurately describe migrants’ lives and that the ‘rescue industry’ serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. “Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality.”—Lisa Adkins, University of London

*   *   *   *   *

The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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*   *   *   *   *

The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

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update 3 August 2008  




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