the hebrew interpretation of cain and abel suggests that cain was actually the son of the serpent that seduced eve in the garden, explaining his 'evil' nature...
thats the nature of almost all sibling rivalries. in my case, my sister karen is the bad-seed and im the good one (however, in my own mind, i dont die - i just beat the shit outta her - its payback... or karma... but belee me, she has it coming/she's earned it.)
its actually a beautiful feud; i think we both enjoy 'cant standing' each other sometimes. where we grew up, thats how we showed familial affection - a scratch, a bruise, a scar, etc (except mama - there was none of that shit going on between her and daddy - they battled, but it was more like tupac vs. biggie/west coast vs. east coast; all stage/no street)
karen whines that i had a small milkcrate sized tv in my room and she didnt, tho she's 5 years older and was old anuff to work and buy her own damn tv... crybaby.
i whined that she's the reason i dont like poets and have refused to call myself one, even tho i've been writing poetry for 20 years - karen was a poet, but because i couldnt stand her those emotions bled over blanketing all poets everywhere... plus, the poets she hung out with were fullashit (except mary, mary was cool/she still cool!)
i dont know why but karen gave up trynta kill me in my bassinet as well as consistently writing poetry some years ago... incompetence, maybe?
but she started channeling her inner Malissia Pettway and has been making art-quilts professionally for several years.
but i love my sista. and from this day forward i promise to stop referring to her as "that ol' stankhead heffa" behind her back... i mean, we're 'grown' now right?
anyway, i pulled a book off the shelf yesterday to take to louisville while crys teaches at spalding university for the week, 'halala madiba: nelson mandela in poetry'. as poetry editor for mythium i'm always looking out for black and other ethnic writers, researching the genre, what's out there and in what form... halala madiba is pretty thick volume of work full of many familiar favorites: Keorapetse Kgositsile, Kamau Braithwaite, Ntozake Shange, Wole Soyinka, Kalamu ya Salaam, Karen Davis, Haki Madhu- -wait!- KAREN DAVIS?
WHAT'S THAT STANKHEAD HEFFA DOIN' UPPINNAIR?!?!?
"caint i have a day of peace without having that ol' albatross show up and ruin my day?
well... let me see what she done did... maybe its a whole 'nother different karen davis..."
karen davis, FOR MANDELA (1988©)
(printed without permission and with complete and utter disregard for what might be said and/or done should i see karen sunday at mama's house)
The chokers of "The Resistance" foolishly
watch their hands bleed and swell against the edge
of the struggle, your life, the people
entwined like a three strand rope
tying into a hangman's noose
for the death of apartheid
a real short joint, but a completely effective use of the public outrage our activists used to wear badge-like on their shoulders when condemning those who utilized oppression as a major weapon in controlling a people.
strong, eloquent and to the point... entirely reflective of karen's personality.
as a fan of poetry, i hate that there's little else publicly available for me to read of her. and as a sibling-critic, i publicly blame her absence helping to create the chasm that became 'conscientious black poetry' during the 1990's (inspired by rap-attitudes and black propaganda more than the black literary canon that dominated in the 1970's and early '80s).
in fact, there are tons of black poetry (including my own!) that have mimicked what karen had written, only we did so without simile or craft, only with poetic attitude, making us what i hated about poetry to begin with - politically superfluous and poetically empty.
(for my own endeavors, my intentions were good/i swairfogawd! and i think the maturity in my work has developed the more humility i devoted in regards to understanding the craft)
((and yes, my punctuation sucks - but to hell with all yall that might criticize, i was an art major, not an english one! plus, i take the license to call bad punctuation "my personal aesthetic" - non-grammar majors are allowed to that, right?))
strong, steady voices are few and far between in the black poetry field (at least, in what passes as 'popular' black poetry) - there are tons of talented writers out there, but we put too much of our egos and our own personae into our work... so instead, we wouldnt have this type of genuine mandela poem, we'd have (insert poet's name here) doing his/her mandela poem, playing to the crowd and not the cause.
karen's poem reminds me of the secret reasons i wanted to write to begin with; works that read well as well as attempted to make or reinforce a political/social change in society; to have work that stood on its own two (or more) feet without always having it reference back to "that poet who wrote it" for it to be accepted.
karen wrote because it mattered to her and it shows in her work.
or maybe she just got lucky, but what she coulda ever done to have earned such good karma is besides my knowing...