Death Is Not As Natural As You Fags Seem to Think

By Amiri Baraka 1934–2014 Amiri Baraka
I hunt
the black puritan.

in dull tones
of another forest.

Respecter of power. That it transform, and enlarge   
Hierarchy crawls over earth (change exalting space   

Dried mud to mountain, cape and whip, swirled   
Walkers, and riders and flyers.
Language spread into darkness. Be Vowel
                                                            and value   
                                                            and direction.   
Rather the lust of the thing
than across to droop at its energies. In melted snows   
the leather cracks, and pure men claw at their bodies.   
Women laugh delicately, delicately rubbing their thighs.

And the dead king laughs, looking out the hole   
in his tomb. Seeing the poor   
singing his evil songs.

Amiri Baraka, “Death Is Not As Natural As You Fags Seem to Think” from Transbluesency: The Selected Poems of Amiri Baraka/LeRoi Jones, 1961-1995 (New York: Marsilio Publishers, 1995). Copyright © 1995 by Amiri Baraka. Reprinted with the permission of Sll/Sterling Lord Literistic, Inc.

Source: Transbluesency: The Selected Poems of Amiri Baraka/LeRoi Jones 1961-1995 (1995)

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Poet Amiri Baraka 1934–2014

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Living, Death

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Amiri  Baraka


Poet, writer, teacher, and political activist Amiri Baraka was born Everett LeRoi Jones in 1934 in Newark, New Jersey. He attended Rutgers University and Howard University, spent three years in the U.S. Air Force, and returned to New York City to attend Columbia University and the New School for Social Research. Baraka was well known for his strident social criticism, often writing in an incendiary style that made it difficult . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Death

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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