Poem by Elvis Alves

• August 2011

I Chant

I and I chant Rastafari
speaking truth to power
while Babylon keeps burning

with holy fire.
I and I chant Rastafari
pleading Ithiopia to stretch

forth her black hands and gather
her sons and daughters from the
four corners of the world.

Bring them back to Africa, the land
of black gods and ancestors who
never really die but remain steadfast

like the pulse that beats in I and I heart.
I and I chant Rastafari so that the sleeping
bones of I brothers and sisters can wake

and walk again. I chant down prisons,
banks, schools, churches, and other organizations
that seek to capitalize and colonize I people.

I chant down facebook, gmail, twitter,
different names—same game of conquer and
claim—for the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria.

What a shame!
Bringing total destruction in their wake;
telling I people they cannot communicate,

live, without being bound to the invisible
chains of the Internet. I and I chant until
I can’t chant anymore—which will never

happen because I and I chant endures.


Elvis Alves was born in Guyana, South America, and raised in Brooklyn, NY. He is a graduate of Colgate University and Princeton Theological Seminary. Elvis lives and works in Brooklyn NY.