Konch Magazine - "Red Salute to Cousin Comrade Wayne Pharr" by Raymond Nat Turner

Red Salute to Cousin

Comrade Wayne Pharr

 

 

Lil’ L.A. cats playing army,

Make believe battlefields,

Backyard theaters of war

Rough and tumble, mannered

Boys, 3 meals a day, 0 body fat,

No phone bill, fun and innocent days—

Cousins ‘Billy,’ ‘Stevie,’ ‘Mikey,’ and

Ronald—sons of steel workers, school

Cafeteria workers, carpenters, mariners,

Maids, teachers and real community

Organizers we could look up to and believe in

 

‘Billy’/ Wayne had army men, and

Played imaginatively, played intensely—

Ron loved coffee cans he played before

Bongos entered his life, before he’d circle the globe

Slapping Gon-Bop & LP drums; I loved to rhyme at the

Time; and Steve, Steve loved baseballs, gloves

Bats, leading to his contract with the Yankees…

 

Living on 81st and 83rd Streets between Avalon and

Central we learned the Devil wore dark blue, not red,

Delivered hell up South, out South in black and white

Cars, and dying wasn’t necessary for seeing his pale,

Hate-deformed face—three or even four times a day…

 

 

Slauson Village ‘The Vee-LA” was like

Fanny Lou Hamer’s sick and tired of being tired!

Tired of the LAPD occupation army tasked to

“Protect and serve” apartheid: Beat-downs, frame-ups

Keeping Black men and women without work, bellies growling,

Tired of ‘testi-lying,’ the smog curtain concealing crimes

Like police murders of Ronald Stokes, Leonard Deadwyler,

Gregory Clark, and others, tired of Hollywood sci-fi

Lies that made Octavia Butler blush—cars lurching forward

Causing ‘service’ revolvers to “…accidentally discharge,” “…furtive movement,”

“…reaching in his waistband,” “…brandishing a knife,” “…becoming combative” lies

 

Even as a lil’ boy, Wayne had a Jones for justice and

Fairness and was never cool with bullies, it’s no mystery

He too grew tired, grew into a soldier, warrior

Not an olive green, G.I. Joe, plastic plaything

We ambushed, blew up, in the backyard, not a Karangatang

Robot, pork chop nationalist provocateur, punching, kicking,

Shooting servants of the people; Wayne became a soldier

Organizer of BSUs, free breakfast programs, clinics, a speaker,

Debater, agitator for self-defense, Revolution, Power to the People,

Soldier in black beret and leather jacket, who grew like a

Bunch of greens, the Tommy Lewis, Masai Hewitt* crew,

Bunchy Carter core coming from Wayne’s Auntie Caffie Greene’s

Teen Post, 79th and Central Avenue— Bunchy called it ‘The Stem’

 

December 8, 1969 41st & Central—wild boars, SWAT,

Didn’t batter down doors to bring beer to the party and

Discuss perils of policing, as Rose Garden Negroz do; terrorist

Murderers came to kill Wayne, Peaches, Cotton, Roland, Tommye,

Redd and the others in their sleep, like they’d murdered

Mark Clark and Fred Hampton in Chicago, days before; the

Pigs didn’t come by 1s, didn’t come by 2s, didn’t come by

10s—they came 300— thousands of rounds and reinforcements

 

Wayne couldn’t get out, but then again, they couldn’t get in

He was “Free at last,” like Frederick Douglass on the road

Escaping the plantation, free like General Tubman leading her

Charges to Canada, taking marching orders from the North Star

 

5 hours freedom in his 64 years on the planet…5 hours,

5 hours and he’d savor every second, relish for a lifetime

Peoples’ Servant of Steel,

Truth-teller, author, historian, father, esteemed elder—

Not bad for a lil’ L.A. cat who played army with his cousins

In his backyard; Not bad for a lil’ L.A. cat with 9 lives…

 

He needed a heart, but we couldn’t just rip open, unzip,

Un-bolt hollow chests of his torturers, his captors—

Thugs who choked him under color of law, fired thousands of rounds,

Through cover of darkness, fog of surprise, to halt his work—

We couldn’t just pull their puny, mustard seed hearts…their

Miniature tickers, they are far too tiny to fill the crater of

His big black bayou heart—really, we believed if anything

In this world was, “Too big to fail”—it would be Wayne’s heart…

 

 

Raymond Nat Turner © 2014 All Rights Reserved



*Masai Hewitt was hired as Asst. Director at the Teen Post before Alprentice Bunchy Carter. Bunchy became Asst. Director after Masai left to go with the United Front. Masai came to the Southern California Chapter of the Black Panther Party via the United Front.