Ishmael Reed

I
Ishmael Reed
Oakland Blues
Well it's six o'clock in Oakland
and the sun is full of wine
I say, it's six o'clock in Oakland
and the sun is red with wine
We buried you this morning, baby
in the shadow of a vine

Well, they told you of the sickness
almost eighteen months ago
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Points of View
The pioneers and the indians
disagree about a lot of things
for example, the pioneer says that
when you meet a bear in the woods
you should yell at him and if that
doesn't work, you should fell him
The indians say that you should
whisper to him softly and call him by
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Chattanooga
1

Some say that Chattanooga is the
Old name for Lookout Mountain
To others it is an uncouth name
Used only by the uncivilised
Our a-historical period sees it
As merely a town in Tennessee
To old timers of the Volunteer State
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American Airlines Sutra
put yr cup on my tray
the stewardess said 40,000
feet up. (well i’ve
never done it that way. what
have i got to lose.)

i climb into a cab & the
woman driver is singing
along with Frank Sinatra
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The Author Reflects on His 35th Birthday
35? I have been looking forward
To you for many years now
So much so that
I feel you and I are old
Friends and so on this day, 35
I propose a toast to
Me and You
35? From this day on
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Badman of the Guest Professor
for Joe Overstreet, David Henderson, Albert Ayler & d mysterious ‘H’ who cut up d Rembrandts i

u worry me whoever u are
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The Black Cock
for Jim Hendrix, hoodoo from his natural born He frightens all the witches and the dragons in their lair
He cues the clear blue daylight and He gives the night its dare
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35
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Dialog Outside the Lakeside Grocery
The grocery had provided him with
boxes of rotten lettuce
He was loading them onto a
yellow pick-up truck
He was a frail white man and
wore a plaid woolen shirt and
frayed dungarees
I was sitting in a gray chevrolet
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If my Enemy is a Clown, a Natural Born Clown
i tore down my thoughts
roped in my nightmares
remembered a thousand curses
made blasphemous vows to demons
choked on the blood of hosts
ate my hat
threw fits in the street
got up bitchy each day
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26
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The Pope Replies to the Ayatollah Khomeini
My Dear Khomeini:

I read your fourteen thousand dollar
ad asking me why the Vatican waited
all of these years to send an envoy
to complain about conditions in Iran
You’re right, we should have sent one
when the Shah was in power, look,
I’m in total agreement with you
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Sather Tower Mystery
Seems there was this Professor
a member of what should be called
The Good German Department

Must have signed his name to
5,000 petitions in front of
the Co-Op on Cedar
and bought two tons of benefit
cookies
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35
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What You Mean I Can’t Irony?
A high-yellow lawyer woman
told me I ought to go to
Europe to “broaden your per
spective.” This happened at
a black black cocktail party
an oil portrait, Andrew Carnegie,
smiling down
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