For Brother Glen

Glen Ford speaking at the “Youth Rise Up Against US Empire” event in Philadelphia, December 7, 2020 (Photo: Joe Piette, Flickr.)

When an elder dies, a library burns to the ground…
— African proverb (gender-adjusted)

No bald “Build Back Better” slogans for
a burned Bruce library—
a Glen library gone—Pick up the ashes,
Carry on… spreading them on new crops…

I couldn’t breathe…
black cat dander, goober dust, rabbit foot
spook-ism; viral droplets of Madison Ave.
messaging: “Yes, we Can and bottle Jim
Jones Juice for regime Change you can
believe in…”

I couldn’t breathe…
droplets of dung from charlatans riding
bareback/backwards on donkeys
Every 2-4 years—Trapping Negroz in pigment
of their imaginations—whooping, hollering,
Happy dancing on ice…for The Audacity of Dope

I couldn’t breathe…
Ecstasy/rhapsody of nodding icons—swept up
in rapture of Kool-Aided euphoria—
Mentors becoming brutes when facts f-up their

I couldn’t breathe…
quarantined, on timeout, socially-distanced, isolated;
Unappreciated—wasting away out West—killing me
softly for my words, my poem “**The Coming of Christ”

Then, one slow blues Saturday a steel, velvet-wrapped
Voice of spirit-stirring
North Star stripe issued from the radio, snapping me
to attention!
It possessed thunderous timbre—Freedom’s Journal,
Liberator, Emancipator tone snatching my collar!
It held Douglass DNA infecting my marrow! It had
Shedded—reading newswire copy on-the-air at age 11—
it harnessed horsepower that even the Godfather of
Soul would “Say it loud!” rechristening it: “Ford!”
Ida B-ferocity, it commanded KPFA’s colossal signal—
showering ice-cold Wikileaks over 1/3 of the Golden
It flared in hot blue flames and melted masks of mis-
leaders guarding freezers stuffed with corporate cash…

Possessing laser precision—It surgically removed word
walls metastasized in the mind of a slutty professor…And
it taught lil’ Negroz in Teddy P-tones,“You gotta let him go,
if he looks like another Booker TKO—Or, more effective Evil!”

And it continued crescendoing from studios, stages, street corners,
churches, bookstores, bars, lecture halls, flatbed trucks—speaking
truth to
The People
igniting conscious explosions with welcomed 4 word fuses:

Well done, Brother! May the Ancestors be pleased
with you kneeling near 7 mounds; Saluting the 7
trees guarding them on African Burial Ground as
You leave Lower Manhattan, seeing Sun Ra, Saturn/beyond…


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.