Malcolm X: The Last Interview (February 21, 1965), with Vogue (via James Baldwin)



Race is a masque—

brown, in my case;


and it’s a mosque—

blue, in our black case.


In my opinion,

the Slave Trade was like Hiroshima.


(Yes, sir, evil done 24/7

ain’t evil anymore,

but professionalism!)


White man lives like a ship floats—


forgetful it gonna sink one day.


Why reproach me my realism?


Every self-portrait is nature morte

an apparition of bones—

no matter how much champagne

sparkles like chandeliers:


Mothers give birth to morgues.


Onto blank TV screens I strut,


a bleak, apocalyptic beatnik

in the dull garb of a hangin judge,

spouting annoying poetry—


(conspirators say I orate).


No, no:  I’m a man

as astringent and brilliant

as detergent:

Out to recast the outcast Negro,

make him (and her) black,

then even blacker,

but clean—

so that we prove as demoralizing to the white man

as sunlight is to filth.


Yes, I make words cuss on paper,

concuss in air.

Enthralled radios crackle like sandpaper.


I am but what I give:


A voice of fire

born from solid rock.


(Every orator or writer

gotta mete out scorching Truth.)


No tongue of hesitancy!

The blues are my only language—

each elegant, crisp text.


Even my humour is a hammer

crackin noggins from the rear:


When brains bust out in whimsical, bloody blossom,

you see clear proof that minds are being changed!


(But it’s always taboo to be too frank.)