For Amiri Baraka
By Greg Ruggiero
January 11, 2014
Today we're remembering his liberated spirit that touched us all:
his cry —so dark and tragic/ so old and magic-
his fight back; his join-us-so-we-win,
his black word and his blues voice an insurgent Newark street corner trombone murmuring the lessons of history, a whisper from the fields, from the factories, from the high rise, from the underground, from jails and prisons to rise up, to fight back, to organize and unite, to fight forward, to fight on
and to dig it: sing the deep groove, ride the sparkling cymbal, slide the walking bass, fly the soaring horn, rise with the unexpected surge
dig it: the unfolding, unpredictable sound of people, poetry, lovers, families, school, neighborhoods, movements, rebellions, block by block, community by community, rising up together, singing out, finding our voice, awakening, struggling, winning, teaching, learning, being.
Today a piano on the ground floor of a home on South 10th Street in Newark has gone silent.
The books of poetry remain unopened.
Will we sing its song?
Will we speak their Word?
Will we carry forward the whisper from the fields?