Sunday, December 27, 2009

May The Goddess Guard Him. May He Find His Way To The Summerlands. May His Friends And Family Know Peace.

It was a long, rough, day for civil rights:

NEW YORK -- Percy Sutton, the pioneering civil rights attorney who represented Malcolm X before launching successful careers as a political power broker and media mogul, has died. He was 89. Marissa Shorenstein, a spokeswoman for Gov. David Paterson, confirmed that Sutton died Saturday. She did not know the cause. His daughter, Cheryl Sutton, declined to comment Saturday when reached by phone at her New York City home.

The son of a former slave, Percy Sutton became a fixture on 125th Street in Harlem after moving to New York City following his service with the famed Tuskegee Airmen in World War II. His Harlem law office, founded in 1953, represented Malcolm X and the slain activist's family for decades.


South African poet and former political prisoner Dennis Brutus has died. He was 85. Brutus' publisher, Chicago-based Haymarket Books, says the writer died in his sleep at his home in Cape Town on Saturday.

Brutus was an anti-apartheid activist who was jailed at Robben Island with Nelson Mandela in the mid-1960s. His activism led Olympic officials to ban South Africa from competition from 1964 until apartheid ended nearly 30 years later.

Exiled from South Africa in 1966, Brutus later moved to the United States and taught literature and African studies at Northwestern University and the University of Pittsburgh.

Over the years, he wrote more than a dozen collections of poetry, including two while imprisoned. He is survived by a wife, eight children and many other relatives.

He wrote:

No Banyan, Only

The quiet wisdom of the body’s peace:
Carnality, in this our carnal world, is all
Bamboo and iron having sealed
Our mundane eyes to views of time and peace.
Now I am strong as stones or trees are strong,
Insensible, or ignorant with vibrant life;
Streams or the air may wash or pass me by
My mind breathes quiet, lying yours along.
(Upon what meat is this man fed
That he is grown so great?
Diet of eloquent delectable accolades
Warm, soft, kindly, sweet and red.)

Under no banyan tree I strip no onion skin
To find a néant kernel at the still center:
“A little winter love in a dark corner?”
No, Love (for Chrissake, no) no love, no sin.

Sublunary no more, yet more acutely mundane
Man’s fingers claw the cosmos in gestures of
Our souls, since Hersey, seek the helix of
Save mine, you-saved, now leafing like a bough.

Breaking through theory-thickets I thrust
To this one corpus, one more self
That gives Content and content to an earth
Littered and sterile with ideas and rust.

Let alphabetic electrons bloat on Freudian

Picture found here.

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