PALENQUE QUEEN BY HABANA’S SHORES
(Poem to Assata Shakur in Exile)
Maroon Woman, feisty and sensual with Oshun beauty the fierce, blue Gulf waters wash daily over your shadow, as you mingle with fragrant palms and tropical peoples…
Political Exile. Twenty years have passed since the blast of your Great Escape created havoc for the Empire now safe in an African palenque: Afro-Cuba, child of Maceo and Marti, whose guerilla blood stains the Caribbean proletarian red.
But red is equally spiritual, being Shango’s color and that of mystic Olokun. Both Yoruba orishas, African deities blessing the untamed, warrior-spirit.
Sista-woman; the years have calmed and refined your spirit, deepened your eyes, broadened your smile, unleashed your regal beauty.
Maturity becomes you.
Blessed by Oya’s rainbow, we behold the flamingo embodied in the fledgling.
A most captivating bird! spreading her wings over her people’s joyous Future.
Of course, 666 and Its minions blockade and spew death-threats at the insurgent Isle.
New Jersey’s mini-skirted Barbie doll threatens Fidel, even the Pope, demanding your recapture.
You see, Oya’s rainbow-radiance spreads joy among our African captives;
and even New Jersey stands in danger of creating young Assatas to come.
So Barbie, the governor, masquerades as Reagan’s parrot, Bush’s puppet, tongue-kissing Jesse Helms in a Kodak Moment, by demanding your head.
But we, Thirty Million strong,Million Man and Woman marchers, say: “Hands off Assata, Republican witch!
This Sista you won’t kill or turn into Oprah, hanging out with Uncle Sam.She is ours; this Oya Woman, this Liberation Fighter, this Warrior-queen, this child of Harriet Tubman, is ours–the Black Nation’s Champion;
and we will collectively Burn Down Babylon, if she is harmed in anyway (you do remember Rodney King?)”…So, nights in Habana are rhythmic with Afro-Cubano accents, and friendships diminish Time’s tyranny.
O how we wish your brilliant strategies could lead us, but realize that only revolution will bring you home.
So bless us, Sista-woman; keep us in your heart, sing victories at Bembes & strategy sessions,
while we “Carry the Tradition,” as militants raise New African banners over Babylon, chanting your name & your song, while we liberate this wretched land!
-Comrade Askia M.Touré