Fearless Leading Youth

Going to Chicago/Sorry but I can’t take you
No use in crying/Tired of your lying…
— Count Basie, “Chicago Blues”

Fiery throats slaked from Tubman Wells of Truth,
Were they young saxophonists, maybe we’d call ‘em
Coltrane, Griff, Jug, Von Freeman, or Eddie Harris?
Fearless Leading by the Youth—Assata’s Daughters,
Doin’ the damn thing, hip ways youth do it these days—
Embalmed ideas on women’s roles so unwelcome…

Black Youth staring, Projecting 100 points of light into
mirrors, old technology for finding new leaders—
No battery-powered preachers, plugged into corporations,
and foundations—PUSH’d them aside; No ‘08 Chicago
Traveling show—Wizard’s Wagon full of Regime ‘Change
You can believe in;’ No nuanced Negroz with green job
gimmicks; No Slutty Professors lurking behind walls of words,
cheerleading mass murder; No splendor of Rev. Ike, dazzle
of Daddy Grace, entwined in Father Divine, Father Coughlin—
continuity of the cloth—cashmere, mohair, worsted wool,
Shorn from black sheep…

No racing to the Imperial City like mules in blinders
to act as extras for a filibuster—145 min. to 60 sec.
sound bites for mourning mothers, grieving grandmothers
No hypnotic huffin’ ’n puffin’ by the great and powerful
Oz— governed by laws of applause—peddlin’ mojo bags
of black capitalism, exorcising the Devil—or Else!

No squandering strong young soldiers, grindin’ day-to-day,
Marching, meeting, tweeting, texting, rallying, sitting-in and
boycotting—doin’ it like day jobs: learning why revolution’s

Former forklift driver/warehouse worker/janitor, Raymond Nat Turner is a NYC poet; BAR's Poet-in-Residence; and founder/co-leader of the jazz-poetry ensemble UpSurge!NYC. Read other articles by Raymond Nat, or visit Raymond Nat's website.