Letter to Cordoba Center on Behalf of a Former ‘Slave’

By Mark Gonzales

Prelude:
I. The three century old remains of 20,000 African men, women, children former slaves
were discovered after the clean up of the World Trade Center’s collapse.
II. Between twenty and thirty percent of all stolen Africans brought to America as slaves
were Muslim.
A Letter on behalf of Cordova Center by one such “slave”

Bismillah
Is an unspoken song on the tongues of the forgotten
  ever wonder where will you pray when your skin has abandoned you
  or what religion is your skeleton

A note for Manhattan city residents & Mr. President:
    if cemeteries have zip codes, air mail this poem to my mother
           courtesy of a masjid wings holding my father’s tear.

New York: have you forgotten cities are built not by steel but bones
that breath is turquoise colored accessory of skeletons 
wearing mahogany skin as Friday prayer best
 
Bedstuy bones have a Project Runway dreams – runaway from the projects.
Tired of being told their shade is out of season by men in midnight blue suits 
attempting to tie a two-thumb thick bow tie noose around their neck.
          Strange Fruit is back
      the new and the old Black
       in time for spring season
      Muslims again the designs
   breathing             chest heaving 
swinging from government branch limbs.

Dear America: I interrupt your Tea Party
   with reminders of ancestral legacy
      that picked the very leafs you sip.
They say thirty percent of all slaves stolen from Africa were Muslim
         denied prayer on ships
          lynched and mocked 
      whips for the worshipping
         shot for salaat

slaves to the dollar: enslaving slaves of Allah

When you built the World Trade Center over our cemeteries
did Senegalese mother’s hold drum circle protest at construction companies
for the steel saliva you layered on their children’s coffins?

New York City’s living pretty luxurious brag
how little skin they own
that one can see their bones through rib cage as if Prada 
fashioned design mannequins after auction blocks melanin.
While in 2002, twenty thousand African slaves were discovered
underneath the cat walk modeling states of decay
in basement of today what is called the World Trade Center.

              Slaves            Models. 
                         both
                   believe in God
One:
tolerated for invoking the name in anorexia’s reverse communion
practices Ramadan 365 days a year
stomach lining sacrifice offering to porcelains altars
in city subsidized stalls and clubs.
 
Other:
is child hiding with no one seeking
holding song of Quran In decomposed lungs for three centuries
the sum of Saladin’s sons and daughters under one hundred three steel exhales
separated from the ummah by a cracked twin tear
only homage to memory street cipher testimony
a windmill break dance spin cycles of seven
for circles never made around the ka’ba in Mecca.
 
Cordoba: thank you for daring to call adhan
in a den of lions illiterate to love.
They call our cemetery “Ground zero”
de facto nicknaming us en la tierra negative
below
absence of value
 
America: tell us
in this    space    moment     century
as you stand over our grave
that 20,000 spirits of Muslim African
slaves still do not have a right
or a place to pray.
 
New York:
Your building zones built homes upon our bones
Must you again deny us in death our rights you denied us in life.
We, deserve after three centuries to finally say 
 
Bismillahir rhaminir rahim
 
Know our prayers end as they always do.
 
assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah
assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah

(May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon ALL & you)

Sincerely signed:
x
x
x
x
x (+ 19,995 times)

– Mark Gonzales is a poet, educator, & founder of the Human Writes Project. He has
appeared on HBO Def Poetry, Mun2, NPR & with human rights activists & artists across the
globe. Based in Seattle, WA, where his family used to work the fields, he is committed to
cultivating dignity through creativity. This poem was contributed to PalestineChronicle.com. Contact him at:
humanwrites@gmail.com.

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