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Be-Side

The Home of Hakm's B-Side e-alter ego...his auxiliary brain or external hard drive...

#LeavingOurMark … I am humbled by this opportunity from the City of Albuquerque and the chance to collaborate with such wonderful artist and people. I even learned how to tile and put in some work on the wall. We got a chapbook with this poem, many more of mine and some from the mosaic muralist as well. We’ll be giving them away free at the event on the  evening of June 22nd at 5:30pm, get there early…after 200 are gone, they are GONE! Join and share the event, here! http://on.fb.me/10GQ4id

#LeavingOurMark … I am humbled by this opportunity from the City of Albuquerque and the chance to collaborate with such wonderful artist and people. I even learned how to tile and put in some work on the wall. We got a chapbook with this poem, many more of mine and some from the mosaic muralist as well. We’ll be giving them away free at the event on the  evening of June 22nd at 5:30pm, get there early…after 200 are gone, they are GONE! Join and share the event, here! http://on.fb.me/10GQ4id

It is a distinct honor to represent the city I now call “HOME” in my hometown paper! Humbled, that a readership of 70,000 in the Philadelphia/South Jersey area is proud of how I serve community 2,000 miles away. Thank you Kim Mulford, the City of Albuquerque, my parents, the Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program, and the Courier Post! Read the article here. 

It is a distinct honor to represent the city I now call “HOME” in my hometown paper! Humbled, that a readership of 70,000 in the Philadelphia/South Jersey area is proud of how I serve community 2,000 miles away. Thank you Kim Mulford, the City of Albuquerque, my parents, the Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program, and the Courier Post! Read the article here

The official poem commissioned by the City of Albuquerque for the New Mexico Centennial Celebration, delivered on the Main Stage at the Summerfest Centennial Celebration on June 16th, 2012 before Los Lobos and after Robert Mirabal.


To: New Mexico

From: Hakim Bellamy

100 Years of Corridos: A song for the New Mexico Centennial

 

In the 1st chapter

Of the Gospel

According to Anaya

 

Rudolfo writes

“All of the older people spoke only Spanish,

And I myself understood only Spanish.”

In English

 

Bienvenidos Albuquerque

I myself

Understand only English

In Dine

 

We speak many languages

But mean the same thing

And manana

Will be more of the same

 

Familia

Food

Fiesta

Forever

 

Come on and sing along

 

We’re going to

Familia

Comida

Fiesta

Forever

 

For 100 years B.C.

Before the Commodores

Before Lionel Ritchie

And for a 100 years more

 

We’ve farmed

Feasted and fixed cars

 

We’ve moved people

And mixed razas

 

We’ve got an appointment

With the curandera

 

As soon as we leave the doctors

 

A lust for livestock

Like chupacabras

 

Afraid of God

And the inexplicable

 

Dinosaur fossils

 

So in love with space

And the people who live there

That we speak Chewbacca

 

The 47th state

Admitted to the Union

We might as well have been The Moon

…of Endor

To our forefathers

 

With the oldest

And highest

State capital in the country

People on both coasts

Should look up to us

Instead of wondering

If they have to exchange their money

Before coming

 

Yes,

Dollars is our official currency too

And though

We don’t have much of it

 

Money can’t buy cultura

 

Our History Book

The King Alfonso Version

Is a canon

Of wars and peace

 

A Bible

Of you and me

That was written in Madrid

By missionaries and mestizos

 

We are men of magic

And women of wizardry

Who speak in spell and song

Wing words

And fly them like a flag

 

All yellow

Between red and green

Like a traffic light

 

Like the state question is

Hurry up

Or slow down

Never stop

 

All of the older people sung only corridos

However,

In those corridos…

Me?

I only heard gospel

 

Maybe it’s me

Maybe it’s a stage

 

But every time

I hear the clap of thunder

It sounds like a blessing

 

Every time

I hear the pitter, patter

Of the rain

 

It sounds

Like a round

Of applause

 

And even the monsoon roars

“Encore”

And the flash bloods

Flood

Our hearts

With love

 

One hundred

New Year’s Eves

Of trying to puncture precipitation

 

Where the sky never dies

And the clouds wear bulletproof vests

 

Where we perpetually live

In the shadow of a hot air balloon eclipse

 

We are not a city

That speaks “Good Morning”

We are a city that speaks

Mass Ascension

 

Like Grandpa

Only spoke Spanish

While he was drinking

 

Buenos Dias

 

Like Grandma

Only spoke Latin

When she was praying

 

Buenas Noches

 

Where water

Is so sacred and scarce

That we pot it

In puddles

On our flat roofs

 

Pool it

In vestibule stoups

Of steepled temples

Where pigeons swirl and roost

 

Pond it

In mountaintops

On our not-so-flat horizons

We bottle it

In our bodies

And set fire to it

In our forests

 

Where it sounds like

Acequias babble “amen”

And bosques

Smell like baptisms

 

Where the rain

Doesn’t speak any language

It only understands dance

 

And sometimes

We miss it so much

We need TWO rainbows

To promise us

It is coming back

 

After thousands of years

Of owners

For this little piece of hacienda

 

It’s been us as tenants

Together

Roommates for the past hundred

 

Call it a trust

Call it a Zia-shaped symbol for eternity

Over our right ring finger

 

Call it the interconnectedness of cultures

Call it married to each other

 

Speak now or forever hold your “chisme”

 

We are

Actions speak louder than wordsmiths

Storytelling rituals

 

We don’t speak Project Runway

We Cowboy Cosmopolitan

Urban Traditional

 

Where our children

Dare not say or see

Cucui or La llorona

But are lucky

Santa speaks Spanglish

And has a sweet tooth

For leche y biscochitos

 

Where birthdays

Are miracles

And each one

Has a spirit

Holy Spirit

Or patron saint

 

Where we celebrate

100

Today

 

In the beginning

The Greatest Spirit

Created America

And the earth

 

And it was

Bueno

 

I don’t speak perfect English

Barely even speak passable Spanish

 

But it’s okay

 

Because there is no such thing

As “perfect English”

Except for the word

Nuevo Mexico

 

© Hakim Bellamy June 12, 2012


Warehouse 508 hosts Centennial Celebration for Youth
Hip Hop benefit celebrates 100 years of youth culture in Albuquerque

Albuquerque, NM – In all one hundred years of Albuquerque’s existence, citizens under the age of 21 have been present.  From pushing agricultural plows to pushing buttons on smartphones, youth have been a critical and contested part of Albuquerque’s growth. At times, the youth culture in the Duke City has been both disdained for “loiterboarding” (loitering and skateboarding in public spaces) and desired to attract parents that are attached to commerce that would create economic development. In this context, local visionaries and a Bay Area hip hop artist have decided to include a “tween” demographic in the hundred-year party, on their own terms.

At 8pm on Saturday, June 16th, Warehouse 508 will host the “Be the Change” Tour featuring San Francisco based hip hop activist Dregs-One. Also traveling with Dregs-One from the Bay, are hip hop artists L-roneous, Patience & DJ Beats Me. Albuquerque-based, multimedia hip hop theater troupe, Urban Verbs, will open for the Bay Area contingent at the benefit designed to raise funds for youth arts programming in Albuquerque.

According to Dregs One website:

“Hip hop started out as a way to organize and uplift the community – with a mixture of civil rights and creative expression, Dregs One is an artist who is doing just that. And as an influential emcee/producer and a community organizer in the movement, he ‘can’t help but be aware.’”
 
With a passion for justice and a dedication to rapping about issues that plague inner-city youth like homelessness, drug use and violence while sampling artists such as Sade and the Doors, Dregs One is changing the world with his mic and turntables. So much so, that Dregs is donating his performance in Albuquerque so the entire $8 cover goes towards reaching the $2000 goal that nonprofit Warehouse 508 hopes to raise in order to increase their youth programming in the city. The enterprising activist has even started a Kickstarter to raise his own travel/lodging funds for the Southwest tour that includes a benefit for the Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development in Tempe, AZ.
 
From his interview freestyle featured on Feministing to his “Wake Up Report” documentary on community issues, Dregs One aims to inspire Albuquerque youth to “vote with their feet” and pack this event that will send a message to Albuquerque. “Young people have been in Albuquerque for one hundred years,” says event organizer Hakim Bellamy. “Young people will be here for one hundred more, so we need to make sure their social and cultural needs are met.”
 
Pre-sale tickets for this all-ages show can be purchased at www.warehouse508.org. This event is made possible by support from McCune Charitable Foundation, the Lumpkin Family Foundation, American General Media, the Local-iQ and the Weekly Alibi.


You can share the Facebook Event here: http://www.facebook.com/events/242513005857282/

Warehouse 508 hosts Centennial Celebration for Youth

Hip Hop benefit celebrates 100 years of youth culture in Albuquerque

Albuquerque, NM – In all one hundred years of Albuquerque’s existence, citizens under the age of 21 have been present.  From pushing agricultural plows to pushing buttons on smartphones, youth have been a critical and contested part of Albuquerque’s growth. At times, the youth culture in the Duke City has been both disdained for “loiterboarding” (loitering and skateboarding in public spaces) and desired to attract parents that are attached to commerce that would create economic development. In this context, local visionaries and a Bay Area hip hop artist have decided to include a “tween” demographic in the hundred-year party, on their own terms.

At 8pm on Saturday, June 16th, Warehouse 508 will host the “Be the Change” Tour featuring San Francisco based hip hop activist Dregs-One. Also traveling with Dregs-One from the Bay, are hip hop artists L-roneous, Patience & DJ Beats Me. Albuquerque-based, multimedia hip hop theater troupe, Urban Verbs, will open for the Bay Area contingent at the benefit designed to raise funds for youth arts programming in Albuquerque.

According to Dregs One website:

“Hip hop started out as a way to organize and uplift the community – with a mixture of civil rights and creative expression, Dregs One is an artist who is doing just that. And as an influential emcee/producer and a community organizer in the movement, he ‘can’t help but be aware.’”

 

With a passion for justice and a dedication to rapping about issues that plague inner-city youth like homelessness, drug use and violence while sampling artists such as Sade and the Doors, Dregs One is changing the world with his mic and turntables. So much so, that Dregs is donating his performance in Albuquerque so the entire $8 cover goes towards reaching the $2000 goal that nonprofit Warehouse 508 hopes to raise in order to increase their youth programming in the city. The enterprising activist has even started a Kickstarter to raise his own travel/lodging funds for the Southwest tour that includes a benefit for the Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development in Tempe, AZ.

 

From his interview freestyle featured on Feministing to his “Wake Up Report” documentary on community issues, Dregs One aims to inspire Albuquerque youth to “vote with their feet” and pack this event that will send a message to Albuquerque. “Young people have been in Albuquerque for one hundred years,” says event organizer Hakim Bellamy. “Young people will be here for one hundred more, so we need to make sure their social and cultural needs are met.”

 

Pre-sale tickets for this all-ages show can be purchased at www.warehouse508.org. This event is made possible by support from McCune Charitable Foundation, the Lumpkin Family Foundation, American General Media, the Local-iQ and the Weekly Alibi.


You can share the Facebook Event here: http://www.facebook.com/events/242513005857282/

Inaugural Poet Laureate of Albuquerque’s Acceptance “Thanks”

“I don’t think I ever wanted to be a writer,” said June Jordan, by many accounts the most published African American writer in history. “I thought I was a poet, very early on. And I thought I probably stayed a poet. In other words, the writing I’ve done other than poetry came much later, and I’ve never thought about myself other than a poet really. No matter whether I was writing libretto or a political essay or even the one novel that I put out here…I was a poet doing these things. Rather than now I am a journalist or now I’ve become a librettist. No, I was just a poet doing these things.”

In a history of marginalizing achievement by people of color, years of saying Langston Hughes or June Jordan are Great American “Black” Writers…rather than just Great AMERICAN writers…I commend Albuquerque and just want to acknowledge the moment in that context. Deeply honored to be able to tell my grandchildren that I wasn’t just the 1st BLACK poet laureate of Albuquerque…I was the first poet laureate of Albuquerque.

And I’m fortunate, not because I am 33 years young and have been given this recognition of Laureate that some people write their entire lives for. Phillis Wheatley became the first African American poet published in 1767 at age 13 for her poem “On Messrs. Hussey and Coffin.” That, is young. THAT’s an accomplishment.

I am humbled, by Albuquerque’s ability to see me as a musician, an actor, a scholar, a journalist, a playwright and an organizer, but at the and of the day, like June…I’m just a poet doing all these things. And that is what makes this particular appointment so special to me. The root of everything I do in this community grew from planting my shifty, shaking legs on stages at poetry slams. Sitting my butt in seats at readings by some of the best poets in the world, two whose company I share today (Mary Oishi and Damien Flores). I’ve been allowed to share the stage with some of the biggest New Mexico legacies, poets recognized by the literary canon and the ivory tower, and that opportunity, privilege, and mentorship has put me in the position to fill these shoes of unfathomable size.

I am blessed to be here with you this morning, while my youngest brother, Tyler, kicks off his third season as a professional soccer player in Los Angeles and my only son, Kaylem, kicks a soccer ball at his 3rd soccer game ever in the Northeast Heights. My middle brother, Rasheed, who shares my love of poetry and Kaylem. My surrogate blood brothers of dream and ink, Carlos Contreras and Colin Hazelbaker. And of course God and My parents Rick and Carlease, who are wholly responsible for what Albuquerque has had to put up with for the past seven years. To my other son, Tobey, who I’ve forced to sit through way too many a long poetry reading. And to the mother of my boys, Tracey, who literally gave me to Albuquerque.

This is not an acceptance speech, as much as it is a thank you. When my Fairy Slam Father, Don McIver presented me with the news. I wasn’t my usual, annoyingly animated self. I was relieved. Joyed, like I had left my all on track, given everything to the steeple chase and I was finally crossing the finish line. And though this appointment is just the beginning, the launch of an opportunity to serve. I had the ecstatic relief, like that of my Mother calling me and telling me that her plane has landed safely. The opportunity to deflate a bit. To bask in THIS moment of thanks that my City has extended me. All the time away from my son, my partner, my studies and myself, have not gone unnoticed. So I’m extremely humbled and thankful, for the “thank you.”

But by accepting this position, I have a job to do. Sure, there’s the ambassadorship of this position that tasks me with representing all you. From form poets to freestylists, first poem to fifth book, real loud to real quiet, real long to real short. White, Black, Brown, Red, Yellow, Other, LGBTQ, “I & U.” And I do. That’s the vow I exchange with you. However, my larger duty is less about OUR poetry, more about theirs…more about how we make poetry matter in the lives of people it doesn’t already matter to. Because we already know that poetry doesn’t just help us value each other and the world around us, it helps us value ourselves. And every person, every voice, in our city, is valuable. I think the Laureate’s job is to remind us of that, and I can’t do it alone…never could…so I’m going to need your help.

“Pour dire tout, il faudrait savoir toutes les langues,” says Ranier Maria Rilke. To say everything, one would need to know every language. And I confess, I do not. My Spanish is horrible, and my English ain’t too good neither. However, I will do my best to solicit poetry from every willing tongue. I’m less concerned with how the poetry sounds or looks or what it wins or loses, I’m more concerned with how it makes us feel. To me, good poetry makes us feel. Some think it foolish to think we can better our world with poetry, however when you consider poetry simply as a way of sharing each other. It doesn’t seem too farfetched to believe that we can at least make our community better by knowing each other better. So Mr. Mayor, Centennial Poet, current and former Santa Fe laureate, esteemed selection committee, founding sponsors, family and friends. Thank you for recognizing that I’ve given up a lot to get here…and I accept, with no reservations, the challenge of giving up more. I love you Kaylem Mikah Bellamy and I love you Albuquerque.

Thank You.

Poem written for Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program Interview Segment

“Glory is not a conceit. It is not a decoration for valor.

Glory belongs to the act of being constant to something greater than yourself

To a cause, to your principles

To the people on whom you rely

And who rely on you in return.”

-Senator John McCain

 

 

Hero (for Poet Laureate of Albuquerque)

 

I’ve heard of God

Washing feet

But never writing poems

Even the Bible

Was written by man

 

God?

Was more of a performance poet

More about people

Than paper

More about practice

Than pens

 

And though God gets angry

And sometimes screams

She’s no slam poet

Not so big on ego

 

So in love

with nature

(And it’s androgynous qualities)

That Apollo found laurel’s sacred

And fashioned them into crowns

To king the meek

 

Poets & Heroes

 

Laureate means glory

We be the dispatches

That announce the victory

 

We be beyond

The Parliamentary Poet Laureate

Of Canada

With alternating terms in two languages

 

We before

We be

Four

Officially recognized languages

English, Spanish

AND Spanglish

 

Plus we speak

Sheet music

 

Written for the

Conquistadores’ trumpet

Before the conquest

 

Conjure constructs

As though our words

Carry the DNA

Of La Raza Cosmica

 

Our tongues

Should tie people together

Like the rope

Of Pope

Cause the revolution’s

Inside of us

 

But most of all

We have to meet two requirements

To be servants

And to be continually inspired

 

The people will admire

Us finding it

 

And in refinding it

            And refinding it

 

And we’ll feel like a hero

Every time we write it

 

But it is us

Not the writing

That we should be striving

For them to admire

 

But alas

Every laureate will strive

To satisfy

The Roman Philosopher

Inside of us

 

As Pliny the Elder said

True glory

Consists in doing

What deserves to be written

In writing what deserves to be read

 

Hakim Bellamy February 22, 2012

The Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program is sponsored by Escuela del Sol Montessori,
a 501(c)(3) organization in Albuquerque, NM.

Your donation is tax deductable.
All Donors of $50 or over in 2011 will be listed as a Founding Sponsor/Collaborator.