19 May 2019

El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, a poem by Rethabile Masilo

X marks the spot on the chest
of a man where a bullet entered;
an X on the top of a head marks the body
on which a helicopter carrying America landed.
And red marks body-blood that refuses to go,
stays in and continues to rinse the mind
of that body. Red is the colour of hair,
when one is young and defiant.
White stands for a turban and djellaba
one wears on their first visit to Mecca;
a hundred thousand Muslims swirl
around the Kaaba like worlds around
their sun, a sun that feeds people
who do not give in.
White also refers to the atmosphere of domination
a country plants, waters with tears,
but can’t harvest, for plants need more.
Red also is what we see seep through
the white front of a shirt. Red is danger.
Red is anger when your prophet is dead.
Black is the sack they stuff you in
and cart you to a place where people wear
black cloth squares on sleeves and forever look
at worlds with the same colour in their eyes.

Malcolm X

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