Ancestral Tale: Poem by Dudu Neves [VIDEO]

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Ancestral Tale

I can still hear the chains dragging,
the whip leaving marks,
marks I can still feel!

I can still hear the police sirens sounding,
the trigger being pulled,
shooting a boy from here!

They dragged Cláudia!
Put Rafa Braga in a cage!
Marielle‘s dead, and they’re gonna come for me!

So many wounds exposed!
Grief embedded in memory!
A child in school uniform, who couldn’t fight back!

And I still have to resist!
And I still have to resist!
And I still have to resist!

Ogunhiê, don’t let me suffer so much like this!
Ogunhiê, don’t let me suffer so much like this!

I came from there, from the other side,
they brought me here
I think their plan was to kill me here!

I came from there, I’m from Africa.
But where am I from?
Since Africa isn’t a country?

They want to silence me,
erase my history,
conceal my ancestry!

Put me to work,
pay me minimum wage,
for me to try and support myself in the crisis in this country!

Bara, may you watch over me!
Free me from the friskings, the cop car, the slave catcher!
From the Sack Man and stray bullet!

So many lives were lost this way,
dreams mutilated,
because of melanin!

So many poems were written this way,
inspired by pain,
pain like that of Aunt Dolores, who felt the pain of losing her child!

It’s a country with no peace,
parents that procreate and can’t rear,
where money’s become a god, we’re born poor, we’re atheists.

Capitalist system kills
every day
over 71 of my people!

And me? I walk with tranquility in the favela where I grew up,
I want to walk with tranquility in the country where I was born,
but I know my roots aren’t from here!

This land is of a people with pointed arrows,
with painted faces,
TupãGuajajara, a people that speak Tupi!

My flesh brought to a stolen land!
I was sold for gold and silver change!
While they screamed, “It’s a new homeland!”

I asked for justice from Xangô,
while the caboclo prayed along,
until the break of dawn!

And, so, more ships arrived,
bodies from other peoples,
also enslaved!

They were children of Nanã,


My people cried: “Káwò, Xangô! Káwò, Xangô!”
The circle spun, the chief drummed,
follow the song!

And forge your paths,
through the nagô trails.
Do you understand, my brother?

Sister, if you don’t understand,
it’s ’cause these weren’t the verses they offered you,
but my verses are all yours!

And still I have to resist!
And still you have to resist!
We have to resist!

Watch the Video-Poem Here with English subtitles.

Poet Dudu Neves at Slam Melanina in City of God. Photo: David Amen
Poet Dudu Neves at Slam Melanina in City of God. Photo: David Amen

About the poet: Dudu Neves is a non-binary, multi-disciplinary artist born and raised in City of God. His is the founder of Slam Melanina, the first poetry slam in City of God and first spoken word battle in Latin America, where the space to speak is reserved solely for non-white people. Neves has worked on various shows such as “Oya Ave Maria” and “O Encantado,” both productions by theater company CDD em Cena.

About the editor: David Amen was born and raised in Complexo do Alemão, is co-founder and communications producer at the Roots in Movement Institute, a journalist, graffiti artist, and illustrator.

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