Poetry by M. Thandabantu Iverson

By M. Thandabantu Iverson
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Poems of Healing

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June Arts and Healing Focus

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I have been working and self-identifying as a Black male feminist for the past 15—20 years. In situating myself, it is essential that I provide a word on my present class orientation.

While I have worked for the past two decades as a university educator (which some would readily regard as a “middle-class” occupation, I have consistently centered my life and work within the working-class. This commitment to the working-class is a continuing rudder and compass for my feminist work.

Becoming a feminist was the result of my personal and organizational experiences in what we typically refer to as The Civil Rights, Black Student, Black Power, African Liberation Support, New Left and Human Rights Movements. My poems speak to my social origins, my political and spiritual moorings.
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M. Thandabantu Iverson

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“An Email for Toni, Cherrie, Gloria, and Mom”

In commemoration of the 34th anniversary of This Bridge Called My Back

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here’s a word of thanks
lettin’ you know I heard
testifyin’ that I ain’t scared no longer
to say out loud that listenin’ at the table and hearin’ all those prayers
mixed in with all the truthtellin’ makes sense to me now
remindin’ me when momma made me sit and listen
that day after daddy busted her lip
she told me not to speak; it was time to listen then
said I should try to be somethin’ better than a brute
told me I didn’t have to be the center
if I could repossess and reposition my mind and my heart
if I could learn that I would always meet sisters like my own
and if I wanted goodness and love and peace and justice for her
I would need to plant a different kind of seed in the world
chart a different course speak in different tones raise my hands to heal
and not deal hurt and heartache like daddy (she said he meant well
but his feet wasn’t mates so he was walkin’ backwards thru his life)
just want you to know that I heard you
and momma this is my word that I know
the backs of my sisters and brothers and no one else really
ain’t no place for my feet
I can walk like a brother/man thru my life w/o that
I have left the plantations and i’m runnin’ to make somethin’ better
decided to be a bridge for love and justice on my own with others
don’t want to walk on no one else (and ps)
I show my brothers ‘cause i’m doin’ what momma said
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“A Poem for Those Who Dare”

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black males daring to be fathers
black mothers who must be both
breathe in the love and honor of your people
you teach us to stand and walk into this world
you show us how to resist and make it thru
you nurture even when you lack
you heal our wounds with your own scarred hands
you show us that remembering is thinking and feeling across lives
measuring our deaths in the times it took to fight
with whatever we had
you are the seeds of SPIRIT
planted so we
will grow to be new citizens of light and love
who will dare to be human ending injustice
making the earth anew
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You can read M. Thandabantu Iverson’s thoughts on
Artistic Expression for Community Healing here



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