What is her name?

Elizabeth Zandile Tshele

 ah, by the way what is her name?

she must have a name, that African woman,

the one who has cried torrents, opened

her legs, made the fire with her tears, dug

dungeons with cracked heels on her

way to the dried-up river, ran on rocks,

carried these children, nursed them, loved them,

cried for them, bargained with the Gods for them,

she has tilled this land, fed this nation,

fed the world, eaten last, after everybody else,

she been beaten black and red and raped and

then forgotten in her own biography,

just what is her name damnit, what is her name?


Cause I’ma Heal Me

Mama Nia

And you think you know ME…

cause you saw a girl like ME… In a book

by an anti-ME, who sniffed MY shit

when he was in school.

Don’t get it twisted…

Anthropology don’t mean you know ME

My badd to the anthropology degree 

And you think you can heal ME…

cause you know the man who killed ME,

riddled MY life with “what if “ hypothesis.

His DNA charging you with scrutiny,

performing your duties well…

Serving up invisibility… you smother ME in

flowery blankets of multi-cultural

Selling pre-fabricated images in 9th St. shops  

Sowing hollow seed to deplete

mal-nourished souls

You spread mad cow diseased shit over ME

and kill fertile soil… tip-toeing between ME and

MY self 

You don’t know nuthin bout ME

And My SIRvival names your destiny 

CAUSE when dawn breaks I am Sun kissed Sankofa

Snug hugged, sista loved Head nestled in napped

necks bathed in hints of Peacefire oil.

I’m plotting revolution with six forks in a five dollar

piece of sweet cream pie, and meeting Audre

through Lex,

as Zach pumps Sweet

Honey through my veins

I am strong now I am fed  

nourished through poets writers and song

Booty windin Hips grindin to Lauryn cause

Hell yeah “ You just lost one”

And Aiden and ME…

We pick steel door dead bolt locks for Patty Sue

Cause we know

Freedom Looks like squirrels mating on rooftops,

and mama birds nesting in second story dryer ducts

Creating home despite your destruction.

Outside the big box, where Ubuntu grows.

I got ME 

So if you think you know ME cause you saw a girl like ME in a book

Think again


On the Auction Block

Dosali Bandele

Hear ye Hear Ye! Come one, come all!

There’s a big sale going on. They are selling fast.

Everybody’s putting in their bids.

There are vaginas on the auction block

And yes they belong to us, we, you and me.


Can you believe it! I never thought I would see the day,

When the very essence of life would be stripped away.

The auction block is sturdy, will last for years.

Yet our heads are hung low, soaking the block with our tears.

We stand with our hearts full of shame.

We don’t belong to us, we don’t have a name.


Our vaginas are on the auction block

And yes, they belong to us, we, you and me.

Going once, going twice, sold…sold…sold…sold


SOLD to the slave master who bartered our vaginas

for a bushel of sugar cane.

SOLD to the brother who claimed to be all about the revolution

but was really looking for another vagina to maim.

SOLD to the pimp who strolls up and down Hollywood Lane

SOLD to the trick who pays with money from slangin cane

SOLD to the executive from BET, yeah, same game, different name

SOLD to the guy we met last night at homecoming

went to the room to talk and the rest is history.


History for him but not for we.

It stays in our memory bank forever.

The scars of the auction are FOREVER.


Now forever is forever, but it’s a new day.

That’s right, the auction block hasn’t gone away.

It has been remolded, refurbished, renewed.

The block comes equipped with a pole

ready for us to take a swing

or maybe a lap dance for the spectators.


We are standing on the block with confidence,

swaying and dancing to auction block music

like “Laffy Taffy” and “Candy Shop”.

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