Friday, July 5, 2013

Part Two: Revolution from Egypt to the Americas: I Am American by Marvin X

PART TWO: Revolution from Egypt to the Americas

I Am American

Dedicated to my brother Ollie (January 21)
and daughter Nefertiti (January 29) in celebration of their birthdays

I am American
no citizen of the United States
gave that up years ago
in Toronto
protesting US in Vietnam
exiled in Canada
underground to Chicago, Harlem
crucified at Fresno State University
same time Angela Davis was on the cross at UCLA, 1969

I am American
exiled a second time in Mexico City
with all the exiled Americans from the Americas
from Cuba, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Columbia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Brazil
they call me Pele Pele Pele on the streets of Mexico City
want to touch my hair for good luck

I am American
in Mexico City founded by Africans
now exiled by president for life regimes
we are young men of resistance
and women too, my wife is with me
young men
put aboard planes that landed in Chapultepec Park
cerca de Paseo de Reforma
my wife and I live near the Metro by the park
we see the lovers in the park on Sundays
and we are in love
she is pregnant with our daughter Nefertiti
I am American
I cannot speak with my brothers in exile
Jorge from Choco, Columbia
Enrique from Venezuela
I speak Spanish pochito
muy pochito
no Portuguese
I can only say Poder Negro to my revolutionary amigos.
They comprende
I give them the black power salute
I am American
I flee Mexico City for Belize
I pass through Yucatan, Vera Cruz, Merida, Chetumal
the land of Yanga el Africano Mexicano
Yanga was so bad the Spanish gave him a town
San Lorenzo de los Negroes
down in Vera Cruz
I flee against advice of Elizabeth Catlett Mora
elder revolutionary artist
she begged me not to go
those negroes in raw colonialism
not neo-colonialism she said
I am American
young hard headed
easy to lead in the wrong direction
hard to lead in the right direction
I am American

I want to hear English
tired of Spanish
basta ya!
I want to see los Negroes
in Belize
esclavos pero Negroes
yo esclavo tambien
I am American

This is my land the Americas
all of it
I was here before Columbus
Before Maya Aztec Incas Olmec
I was here
I came by canoe from Ghana, Mali, Songhay
from the land of Sonni Ali, Askia the Great
bling bling of Mansa Musa
a thousand camels with gold on his haj to Mecca

I am American
in Belize los Negroes speak English
pero muy rapido pero English
Espanol tambien
I am American
Norte Americano Africano
Simon Bolivar Americano
Simon Simon Simon

I am American
North Central South American
Caribbean American
I am American
from Toronto, Montreal
to Georgetown, Caracas

Slums of Mexico City are mine
shacks of Belize
madness of Kingston
cocaine of Port of Spain
yes, Trinidad
land of C. Eric Williams
victim of Capitalism and Slavery
Guyana is mine
I interviewed PM Burnham at his residence
Africans with AK47s at his gate
genocide of Jonestown
assassination of Dr. Walter Rodney
how can we forgive the reactionaries
who never turn into Buddha heads
who never put down their butcher knives

I am American
in Belize I join the revolution of Evan X and Shabazz
on trial for sedition
the government is games old people play they say
this is sedition
I covered the trial for Muhammad Speaks
this was my sin
a 1970 Wikileaks
exposing emperor has no clothes
people have no clothes
no water no electricity no toilet
no nothing
brothers want to know why I left America with no gold
they want to go to American to get gold
why did I leave without gold
what is America but gold
nothing else there but gold
and slaves and gold

I am American
people are rich in Belize
poor yet rich
joy and peace, sun and land
gardens of paradise
islands in the sun
I live on Gales Point
a little shack with no water no electricity no bathroom
but I am happy
my wife is pregnant and happy
except for the sand flies
mosquitoes who love her blood
we bathe in the river
the out house is on the other side of the island
the catfish collect waste
people do not swim on that side of the island
people do not eat catfish

I am American
people beg me to teach black power
I do not check in with village headman

a drunk man sings outside my house
day comin ta git ya in da mornin
been down here teachin dat black power
day comin to get ya in da mornin, boy

my wife and I laugh
wish dat drunk nigguh git way from our door
but they come to get me in the morning

I am American
When I get on the boat into the city
five hour ride through the jungle
police on boat
I am under arrest
but don't know it
police undercover
don't say nothing to me
when we get to the city
he don't say nothing
police come to my friends house
call me out
I grab rifle
but put it down
a mulatto greets me outside
I am under arrest
take me to Ministry of Home Affairs
Minister reads my deportation order
Your presence is not beneficial to the welfare of the British Colony of Honduras
therefore you shall be deported to the United States on the next plane to Miami
leaving at 4pm.
Until then you are under arrest.
Mulatto takes me to police station
I am told to sit down. No cell, no handcuffs.
Soon the police gather around me
I am in the middle of a circle of police
I do not know what's up.
Soon they say, broder man, teach us about black power!
I am American

victim of the slave system
police victims too
teach us broder man.
I say
Marcus Garvey came here in 1923
told you to get the Queen of English off yo walls.
It's 1970 and you still got that white bitch on yo walls.
Get that bitch off yo walls!
police crack up
they say you all ite broder man
They point out uncle tom police
they say he black man wit white heart
black man wit white heart!
I am American

Plane came for me on time. Mulatto pushed me onto the plane. I refused to leave without my wife. The plane door slammed. Fly south to Tegucigalpa, Spanish Honduras.
I ask for asylum . Espera un momento, Negro!
I am marched back onto the plane.
We land in Miami. Two gentlemen greet me at the airport. Escort me to my hotel suite at Dade County Jail. I am put into a pit with dead, deaf dumb and blind negroes.
I call them brother.
They say we ain't yo brother, nigguh. I am silent.
After a few days the gentlemen come to transfer me to Miami City jail, the Federal facility.
White Cuban drug dealers greet me. What do you want, my brother, they say.
You need money, food? We send out for food to the restaurant, what do you want.
I am American
I want hamburger, fries and milkshake!
No problema, hermano!
They give me money to call my wife.
She is home in America.
I am American
Cubans say again, whatever you need just let us know.
I am American
like Simon Bolivar
like Che
like Fidel
like Nat Turner
Grabriel Prosser
Harriet Tubman
Like Garvey
Stokely (Kwame Toure)
CLR James

I am American.
--Marvin X1/29/11

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