Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Baraka Bashad

Iconic scene from Selma-to-Montgomery Civil Rights March recreated at Lowndes Interpretive Center in Alabama.

I only knew I was from the darkness
once you introduced me to the light,
that light you hold within
that shines brighter than
anything I could ever fathom,
even with the foresight of
my third eye's sight.

So what if I asked you about the blessings
that were taken in the darkness because
they were never presented in the light?
Those times you knew you'd have to stand your ground
and fight for what you deemed important and right.

And what of the blessings we meant to
bestow onto others but kept hidden?
Just because we needed them as chess pieces,
to assist us in case others
wouldn't help us receive the ones we pursue so tirelessly,
with the persistence of a two dollar crack fiend going through withdrawal...
just trying to get that next hit so they can be at ease,
even if just for an instant
if anything at all?

See, we don't live the same lives
or learn our lessons at the same times
or with the same pace,
so why would you hate me,
solely based on the melanin of my skin
and the people of my race?
Stating that we are the scum of society,
when this society was built on the back of you
being able to say that my people are
lesser than what you perceive them to be.
So that even an obedient animal ranks higher
than the deaths of those that look in a mirror
and see me...as I do them when I look into the same frame,
as if staring into a portal while
somewhere along the line seeing yourself shot
with ignorance and bullets to the brain.

Yet all along Baraka Bashad is what we say
to those that mean us harm
with regards to our history
and the land to which they lay their claims.
Yes, we are the problem here,
you are merely the means by which we are to comprehend this,
and take action in making our stance on this crystal clear
and this is why we are the ones that you so prudently fear.
We are the true masters of our destiny
and nothing is more powerful than a mind
that understands its own plights
for a future they wish to be near.

So I scream Baraka Bashad to you
and all those whose lives you'll ruin tomorrow
just as you did yesterday,
as you repeat those atrocities again
so as to ensure you solidify your self-proclaimed title of Master,
through the tears of their sorrow and
the sweat garnered from their pain
they still feel in the after.

So what if I asked you about the blessings
that were taken in the darkness
because they were never presented in the light,
while reminding you that if you're going to dance with the devil,
you better learn how to two-step in the darkness
just as you would in the light?


— Nikolai Tjongarero


Born and raised in Windhoek, Namibia, Nikolai Tjongarero is a contributor to The Ground's Ear Contemporary Verse from Southern Africa poetry anthology. Nikolai's poems, social commentary and ruminations can be found online at #GetFamiliar where Baraka Bashad first appeared in a slightly different format.

Loosely translated into English, baraka bashad means, "may the blessings be." In Sufi it is comparable to saying, "and peace be with you."

We thank Nikolai for his continuing support of the Bar None Group. Baraka Bashad is Nikolai's ninth contribution to our online anthology since 2011.