Praise for Flames in the Fire
Reviews for "Flames in the Fire"
“This is a spectacular body of work...I don't use the word spectacular often. It wrenched me inside out and reassembled me whole. Shabazz naps with one eye open where suffering and courage encapsulate lifetimes of experience. Be careful, his poems shamelessly offer grenades in lunch boxes posed as gifts.”
—Jaki Shelton Green, 2009 Piedmont Laureate, and winner of the North Carolina Award for Literature
“One word, AMAZING. A powerful, moving collection from a poet at the height of his powers… From passionate lyrics to meditative narratives, Shabazz’s poems are peopled with unforgettable characters, real human beings, friends, family, revolutionaries and lost wild men lurking city streets for something more than a handful of change. This book is not a confessional rather a meditation on a life lived and confirms that to be the Phoenix one must first endure the fire, only then can one rise from the ashes.” —Howard L. Craft, poet, playwright
“In a world ruled by indifference in which the glimmer of past embers appear barely visible, Shabazz’s words remind us that if we train our eyes to listen, it is obvious for all to see that from Ganazumba to Hotada Francis, from the rage of loss to the reinvention of the soul, from the end of a world to the building of that other world of collective love found in the sweetness of mother's cooking, Black Fire lives on!” —Alvaro Reyes, Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Cover Designed by Rhonda L. Holmes, M.A.
The cover image, Press, is original Sankofa-inspired
artwork created by, Rhonda Holmes, an artist, educator who resides in Halifax County, NC.
Some nights when I dream, I go for a ride
and get a party going in the old four-door.
The car is a jet in the flowing midnight with spirits
of my deceased friends all rowdy in the seat.
I feel them rising in the bass and drum out of the stereo.
Their voices cut loose in the piano and guitar riffs
in tones tough as the Wednesday moon.
The blues moves me to nod my head, rub away
the sand stinging my eyes, pop my fingers, and we ride
into the future, sing with the windows down,
fly over hills and through melodies that house the groove
like chocolate essence in waves of autumn air.
I excuse the endless crescendo of stars to face the highway,
turn up the volume, blackout the beast
in the mirror distracting this ride with my friends
and beat after beat of their translucent hearts.
One moment my friends turn silent as history.
Grave silence blooms in the car, and I ride alone
through the endless outpour of night as though a gun
thug had shot out the streetlights, and before my next breath
they are back, boisterous in the seat,
proof of their cries and hollers breaking the silence
as if they were kids who’d been buried alive
with their mouths open.
I lean with my hands on the wheel, blast the black music,
drive my friends through shadows and streets we cruise
catching the green light, even the moon dancing
all full and funky up there, and together it ain’t
nothing but a party, a nonstop get-together,
the bright side of a dark world.
Contact Phillip Shabazz for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org