New Day Nefertiti
Christopher K.P. Brown

New day Nefertiti
burning me a disc full of Badu
as we speak of stolen civilizations
but some won’t see the contradiction
some won’t see the beauty in us
some will exploit that beauty
music labels
team owners
some will say 2 Pens exploited poetry
but we just collected the debt
owed to Thelonious Monk
the money owed to Billie Holiday
and all the free labor
that my great greats gave
on plantations in South Carolina
Georgia, and Arkansas
remember that people owe us
we owe no one
the purpose is community
I still believe in robbing the rich
if they don’t give to the poor
I search for balance
walking this tight rope
arms stretched in front of crowds
what’s written down is transferred out loud
no negatives but you’ll still get the picture
images developed
imagery enveloped
with the spirit of Paul Laurence Dunbar
some of us still wear the masks
piece my world together on pages
like Jacob Lawrence
you speak of Black art
you speak of Baraka
you speak of Black hearts
passion filled blood still pumpin
push up the fader
bust the meter
shake the tweeter
bump it for Eleanor Bumpers
rock history like it’s the newest trend
but for now we embark upon this New Day
the host just told me to “go in”
how far? all the way
hard like Cassius Clay
when you refused to call him Ali
get the name right
or it’s gone be a short fight
never had time to battle poets in slams
the dudes I respect don’t give a damn
about a perfect ten from somebody who can’t relate to our story
we bottom boys
we got bottom boy vision
we hardly see fame and glory
struggle seems mandatory
I stayed up nights in the dormitory
praying to connect when I got back home
hoping education wouldn’t separate me from the life I’ve always known
seen so many sellouts
seen so many forget
always gotta remind my folks
that my intentions are legit
my intentions are concrete
my purpose is tangible
easy as one two three
wealth starts with we
gotta invest back into our own communities
so I stashed twenty at the ATM
hit the music store, thumbing through the alphabets
Aaliayah, Aretha, Bilal, hold up, there it is
Badu, copped the album
hope Erykah gets her portion
popped it in the stereo, no distortion
track one pierces the ear drum
becomes the back drop of conversation for me
and my new day Nefertiti
as we speak of ways to preserve this
beautiful Black culture.