Thursdays With Assata

Morales Shakur Center at CCNY
Thursdays With Assata
by DIY Danna

Raised hands everywhere, to get the waiter/assassin’s attention
in the balmy cafe, a cacophonous ring of a gunshot
disturbs talks of revolution, starting with the ring of smartphones
attached to bombs on televisions in living rooms.

I see her disgust at The Man,
who still thinks it’s a sin to feed, shelter and clothe the poor,
give free health care to the needy,
because it’s some kind of pinko plot.

She raises her fist to get attention,
ready for another Cuban coffee,
as I pause to ask her if she has read the latest book,
or seen the latest film about her life.

But the waiter with the silencer has shot a young man
who told him socialism was dead like Marx,
dead like Obamacare soon enough,
and that he wouldn’t tip for the tea and sympathy.

Assata didn’t applaud the waiter,
like the rest of the captive audience,
but asked him, “Why couldn’t you wait
until the man committed suicide in another Bay of Pigs?”

Everyone laughed at her bon mot,
but I thought it untimely inhumane,
until a group of capitalist economics professors held me hostage
at a lecture in Havana the next week.

(I can’t wait to tell her about this next Thursday, if I survive.)

for Guillermo Morales and Assata Shakur

8 thoughts on “Thursdays With Assata

  1. Assata Shakur? A travesty, which I think untimely inhumane. It seems to work both ways between socialism and capitalism and against both. Are the spokespeople really that jaded?

  2. ; (

    there’s a lot i can say about this, but it would require a lot of fastidious reworking since i don’t adhere too gracefully on the intellectual-tip so i’ll keep it succinct. i don’t feel the ‘spokespeople’ are neccesarily jaded, but perhaps speaking from a subversive POV. these are the things that surround us, these are the people in the world- and i always find it daring, &powerful when it’s reported back to us.

    this was distinct and it seems apparent to me the writer is well-versed and understands the meaning of relative art. i thank you for sharing, again.

  3. cerebella, do you see “She raises her fist to get attention, ready for another Cuban coffee” and stanza five from a subversive POV? I see them as jaded.

    1. i reitorate: yes. when i think of jaded i think of numb-seeking. do you remember my poem where i made references like ‘spoiled white cracker bitches’ and ‘smacking a bindhi or a swastika on my seat of wisdom’ or my having-a-penis poem where i made john wayne gacy references? both of them you wrote back more power to you-type commentary. how is this any different? i don’t see her pulling back any punches or whitewashing. wait, the only difference i can spy is she’s specifying her references.

  4. cerebella, that’s the point: “specifying her references.” I can’t believe that Shakur or anyone in her position would be so callously nonchalant with the “waiter/assassin,” or that anyone, for that matter, in the cafe group would consider her remark a “bon mot,” much less laugh at it. The tone of the whole poem seems jaded–wearied by, tired of–the protesting mentality, unfairly, non-convincingly. Whereas the tone of your poems tends to be intense, acerbic, and revelatory.

    1. The only comment I dare to make at this late date: Why can’t a black female voice be satirical? Is [imaginary] Assata Shakur being “jaded” or “callously nonchalant”, or disarmingly and naturally charming and reasonable in a world gone mad with divisive political economics and violent reaction? It’s up to the reader to decide…

      1. what any of this has to do with being black or a female not being able to have a voice is…just, well, hm, trite. really effin’ trite, weak, old, ran out of gas a hundred years ago. ‘oh please’ on this and any other plane. i’m not frightened of this kind of weapon. the truth is, all it is is just really going beyond the distance to identify with your ego, as opposed to handling it with care.
        black/female/blahblah/purple people eater if someone calls you out on it, that would be their own work to deal with their reaction to their sensory recognition (should it be so disruptive). otherwise, the choice is yours to segregate yourself.

  5. I don’t see her as “charming and reasonable.” Her response would only serve to exacerbate “a world gone mad.”

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