Poem for Sundiata

by Assata Shakur

I remember your smile
Bright as the sun’s explosion
Wide as the arms of Yemaya
Deep as a gushing well of kindness
I remember your smile

Slow like the dawn of recognition
Quick like the wit of observation
Clear as the logic of common sense
I remember your smile

Frank as a simple declaration
Bold like the taste of naked love
Wasn’t no grinning or smirking or sneering
I remember your smile

Even when you were young
You had an old smile,
deep wrinkles spread across your brow
Like worn paths
Crossing familiar ground
Laugh lines descending from eyes made old
By deadly images
Laughter holding back the tears I remember your smile
Your smile is like an umbilical cord
Pulling me back, pulling us back
to a lost continent
of brown velvet faces with white incandescent teeth
radiating home, radiating peace, radiating love

Your smile
wakes me up from nightmares
turned into day-mares
Reoccurring slave-mares
In the twisted tinsel hell
They call amerikkka

When they came and they took my baby
When the milk in my breast turned to sour curds
When there was no one there to hold me
And the voices that tried to console me
Sounded like empty words
I remembered your smile

Wrote off our lives with reams of paper
Stained with filthy, greedy lies
Turned us into prison statistics
Using legaleeze linguistics
Regurgitating hypocritical diatribes
Like thin white vomit

In the midst of body bags
And toe tags
And the flood of black blood
In the midst of affirmative negation
And mass extermination
I remember your smile

We remember your smile
We call on your smile
We call on your smile
To give us light

They been trying to take your smile
Wipe it off your face
Like they be wiping us off this earth
But you smiled that smile in cages,
Institutionalized outrages
Twenty year hits
Like contemptuous spit
And in spite of a bitter taste
in your mouth
Your smile shines strong

All of us smile lovers
Need to set you free
We need to free your smile
That x-ray smile
Beaming rays of freedom
Unchain that smile
Unchain that smile
Set it free

We love your smile
We need your smile
Your smile is sweet enough
To melt heard hearts
Into love syrup
Sweet and sticky
as the nectar of freedom
We got to free that smile
Unchain that smile

Let it shine out
And warm us
I want to see that smile
Make children laugh
And light up a woman’s eyes at midnight
We got to free that smile
We got to free that smile
That freedom smile
That freedom smile
So we all can smile again

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