Posted on Monday, April 25th, 2016

FOR STERLING PLUMPP

When Harriet Tubman

heard the thunder of the guns

and saw their terrible lightning

and the blood and the dead bodies

your voice was there

 

Your voice was born and borne

in the muddy waters of the delta

way before a brother had been

through enough to resolve

he would rather drink muddy water

sleep in a hollow log

than go to New York City

and be treated like a dirty dog

 

Sterling, we dub you itinerant

as troubadour here to testify

when your mojo hands call

we must go to reclaim our history

and resolve that no force on this planet

will ever fold our life into banknotes

as we create our future full of laughter

and purpose

 

As Baraka says: we own the night

and the day will not claim them

how could you not testify

when your voice is parent

and son of the blues

 

Keorapetse Kgositsile, Johannesburg

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  • Chicago poet Sterling Plumpp was born January 30, 1940, in Clinton, Mississippi. 
  • Harriet Tubman was a slave an abolisionist and a Union spy during the American Civil War. The American Treasury announced earlier this month that her image will soon be featured on the $20 dollar bill, replacing the 7th American president, Andrew Jackson.