The Call of the Wild: Poem by Kalamu

The Call of the Wild: Poem by Kalamu


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



Poetry is not a government / Poetry is a revolution  / guerrillas—si!  / politicians—no!

Poetry is always hungry / for all that is  / forbidden  / poetry never stops drinking

not even after the last drop, if we / run out of wine poets will / figure a way to ferment rain



Books by Kalamu ya Salaam


The Magic of JuJu: An Appreciation of the Black Arts Movement  /   360: A Revolution of Black Poets

Everywhere Is Someplace Else: A Literary Anthology  /  From A Bend in the River: 100 New Orleans Poets

Our Music Is No Accident   /  What Is Life: Reclaiming the Black Blues Self

My Story My Song (CD)


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The Call of the Wild

                                     Poem by Kalamu ya Salaam

            Poetry is not an answer

            Poetry is a calling

                        a vision that does not vanish

                        just because nothing

                        concrete comes along, or

                        because the kingdom of heaven

                        is under some tyrant’s foot


            Poetry is not a right

            Poetry is a demand

                        to be left alone

                        or joined together or whatever

                        we need to live


            Poetry is not an ideology

                        poets choose life

                        over ideas, love people

                        more than theories, and really would

                        prefer a kiss to a lecture




            Poetry is not a government

            Poetry is a revolution




            Poetry is always hungry

                        for all that is


                        poetry never stops drinking

                        not even after the last drop, if we

                        run out of wine poets will

                        figure a way to ferment rain


            Poetry wears taboos

                        like perfume with a red shirt

                        and a feather in the cap,

                        sandals or bare feet, and

                        sleeps nude with the door unlocked


            Poetry cuts up propriety into campfire logs and sits

                        around proclaiming life’s glories far into

                        each starry night, poetry burns prudence

                        like it was a stick of aromatic incense or

                        the even more fragrant odor of the heretic

                        aflame at the stake, eternally unwilling

                        to swear allegiance

                        to foul breathed censors

                        with torches in their hands


            Poetry smells like a fart

                        in every single court of law and smells

                        like fresh mountain air

                        in every dank jail cell


            Poetry is unreliable

            Poetry will always jump the fence

                        just when you think poets are behind you

                        they show up somewhere off the beaten path

                        absent without leave, beckoning for you

                        to take your boots off and listen to the birds


            Poetry is myopic and refuses to wear glasses

                        never sees no trespassing signs and always

                        prefers to be up touching close to everything

                        skin to skin, skin to sky, skin to light

                        poetry loves skin, loathes coverings


            Poetry is not mature

                        it will act like a child

                        to the point of social embarrassment

                        if you try to pin poetry down

                        it will throw a fit

                        yet it can sit quietly for hours

                        playing with a flower


            Poetry has no manners

                        it will undress in public everyday of the week

                        go shamelessly naked at high noon on holidays

                        and play with itself, smiling


            Poetry is not just sexual

                        not just monosexual

                        nor just homosexual

                        nor just heterosexual

                        nor bisexual

                        or asexual

                        poetry is erotic and is willing

                        any way you want to try it




            Poetry has no god

                        there is no church of poetry

                        no ministers and certainly no priests

                        no catechisms nor sacred texts

                        and no devils either

                        or sin, for that matter, original

                        synthetic, cloned or otherwise, no sin




                        In the beginning was the word

                        and from then until the end

                        let there always be



Source: WordUp

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music website > writing website > daily blog > twitter > facebook >

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Men We Love, Men We HateSAC writings from Douglass, McDonogh 35, and McMain high schools in New Orleans.

An anthology on the topic of men and relationships with men

Ways of LaughingAn Anthology of Young Black VoicesPhotographed & Edited by Kalamu ya Salaam

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Sammy Younge, Jr. The First Black College Student

to Die in the Black Liberation Movement

By James Forman

Tuskegee native Samuel Younge Jr. (1944-1966) began attending Tuskegee Institute in Macon County in 1965 and advocated for civil rights as a member of the Tuskegee Institute Advancement League. Younge campaigned for racial equality across Alabama and in neighboring Mississippi before his shooting death in Macon County in 1966.

Four months later, Younge was again working a voter-registration drive in Macon County. On January 3, 1966, after he tried to use the whites-only bathroom at a Standard Oil gas station, Younge was shot and killed by attendant Marvin Segrest. He was the first African American student activist killed during the civil rights movement. In the days following his death, thousands marched through the streets of Tuskegee in outrage over the treatment of blacks within the city.

His shooting death at a Macon County service station became a rallying point for opponents of racial inequality during the late 1960s. Despite the demonstrations, Segrest was not indicted for Younge’s murder until November 1966 and was found innocent by an all-white jury the following month. Younge’s death also spurred action from SNCC, which called a press conference on January 6, 1966, to declare its opposition to the war in Vietnam, the first statement of its kind by a civil rights organization. Younge’s death was highlighted at the press conference as an example of the hypocrisy of fighting for freedom abroad while rights were denied in the United States and was used as a call for people to refuse the draft and work for freedom at home instead.—

Encyclopedia of Alabama

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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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If you like this page consider making a donation

online through PayPal

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Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues

1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        


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

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

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posted 7 May 2011



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