Aya de Leon

author – activist – faculty – mom

Brown Is the New White – Buy the Book! + my poem from last night’s launch

IMG_6053Last night’s Brown Is The New White book launch event in Oakland was amazing.

Steve Phillips has laid out the numbers and they are clear: we currently have a majority of people of color and progressive whites to win national elections. The problem is that many white Democratic organizers and strategists are still prepared to use the tired old strategy of pandering to white swing voters.

But if this book becomes a bestseller, it’ll send a clear message to everyone in electoral politics that it’s time to pay attention. Be part of this demographic revolution. Today or tomorrow are the days to buy the book in order to be part of the first week sales count. Buy the book!

If you want to donate to VONA in the process, use this link.

Meanwhile, here’s the poem I read last night:



Have you ever seen somebody wake up

round marble rolling beneath the eyelid

just before the lashes blink apart


sleep   the leading cause of waking

when we got gas/housing/everything prices rising

and the nation goes from complacent to disgruntled

and Trump terrifying some of us into following him

and others into checking Canadian real estate prices


Meanwhile South American mountain ranges murmuring

turning over in their sleep

Peruvian land muscle feeling the massage of

Thousands of of indigenous women’s feet


have you ever seen somebody wake up

a lover? a roommate? a baby?

that moment of where-am-i?

before inkwell pupils adjust to light


and I know some of us feelin despair and depression

but I don’t care how much prozac big pharma prescribes

can’t nobody keep the human spirit asleep indefinitely

I said somebody is ready to take the red pill today


because I have seen queer kids

whose families have thrown them out of the street

left them for roadkill       stand up

rip the tire marks off their skin        and prophesy


i have seen survivors of rape reach inside themselves

rip the violation right out of their vaginas their mouths

with a shriek that is part rage part terror part triumph


i know everyone doesn’t make it

eyes sometimes close and never open again

but if we got a 50/50 chance

then I choose to believe that some other human race

on some other planet earth will be the unlucky one


because i have seen lashes part

seen people sob their appetite for addiction right out of their bellies

seen mushrooms suck poison out of the earth

and belch rose petals


and badasses like South American ecofeminist Zezy Yadryda in Peru, at only a quarter century of years can say–and I quote:

“the Andean cosmovision makes it triply complicated…I’m feminist, campesina and indigenous. we defend the Pachamama…Mother Earth. And we give feminism an intercultural focus. Our body is our territory; so we defend it. And we promote the interrelation of women with nature”


so if cuba can stand strong and black and socialist seventy miles outside Miami and now got an embassy

plus meanwhile indie hop hop still ain’t dead

then we got brown South Bronx environmentalists cool enough

to stop global warming and Obama is only the opening shot


I suspect some coalitions building with the ancestors

hear the Kennedeys been kicking it with Crazy Horse and Sojourner Truth while Confucius and Che and Jesus

been chopping it up with Emma Goldman

But when Bayard Rustin came in to organize everyone together

Mahmoud Darwish rolled up to write the poem while June Jordan invited the murdered teens from Oakland and all the legions of dead Iraqi children to have their say

and Tupac had to throw down a freestyle verse while

Selena, Nina Simone and La Lupe started to improvise on top

I heard it got so hyphy up in there that

in the nearby realm of the unsettled souls still not at peace

bull connor and heinrich himmler wished they still had bodies

so they could put on BROWN IS THE NEW WHITE t-shirts


cause however many freedom fighters the fbi and cia kill

that only means we got more warrior ancestors

to whisper in our dreams

rolling marbles under five billion eyelids   upper and lower eyelashes kissing each other goodbye

1600 pennsylvania avenue is not where the power lies

it resides in these bodies connected to these opening eyes


the ancestors cannot be confused by the views from the pews and the hues of the red white and blues on fox news


i know some of us running scared on some rip van winkle worried we gon sleep forever but have you ever seen somebody wake up

brown/blue/hazel marbles rolling under lids every shade of skin

in every bed/pallet/mattress/sleeping bag/straw mat on this rotating earth

only a matter of time when somebody surfacing from dreams

smelling grandma cooking breakfast and singing a freedom song

somebody waking up on some liberated indigenous soil

I said only a matter of time before we got so many marbles rolling in the rhythm of the earth

and united ancestors whispering in our dreams

and we see that we can win this shit

and the people       finally       wake        up


3 comments on “Brown Is the New White – Buy the Book! + my poem from last night’s launch

  1. Pingback: How Chris Christie & Trump helped me clarify my reservations about Bernie Sanders | Aya de Leon

  2. Pingback: How Chris Christie & Trump helped me clarify my reservations about Bernie Sanders | Aya de Leon test

  3. Rachel M
    March 29, 2016

    Love you! Am so moved by your words.

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This entry was posted on February 5, 2016 by in Uncategorized.

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Aya wins first place Independent Publisher Awards for UPTOWN THIEF, THE BOSS, THE ACCIDENTAL MISTRESS

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