PALENQUE QUEEN BY
(Poem to Assata Shakur in Exile)
feisty and sensual with Oshun beauty the fierce, blue Gulf waters
wash daily over your shadow, as you mingle with fragrant palms and
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,
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
A most captivating bird! spreading her wings over her people's joyous
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
So Barbie, the governor, masquerades as Reagan's parrot, Bush's
puppet, tongue-kissing Jesse Helms in a Kodak Moment, by demanding
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
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