The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, February 13, 1990, Page 5, Image 5

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    Prison hasn’t extinguished fiery convictions
“Orunmila ”
Many of Mondo’s sculptures and paintings have been shown
throughout the state.
Aunt Ruthie
by Wopashilwe Mondo Eyen we Langa
the shutters on the window clatter
the hail dash against the pane
a spider do a funky butt dance on the sill
while a cockeyed sparrow duck his head
under one wing
wishing the hail was rain
the old sofa dip like a swayback horse
years done wore away the flowers
roses made out of thread
rubbed down to the cotton stuffing
and grease spots mark the places
where many a folks laid their heads
an old face squint toward the window
a gnarled finger give the spider a tap
send the spider trapezing ‘cross the glass
it fall when the silk, rope snap
photos of loved ones on the coffee table
entombed beneath the spotless glass
aunt ruthie can’t recall the names too good
so many years gone past
the teapot whistle in an otherwise silent place
aunt ruthie's bones to tired to creak
things aunt ruthie'd like to say
her mouth is too tired to speak
the door bell
the telephone
neither rings
the mailbox stands empty outside
its door dropped open like a sagging lip
inside aunt ruthie shifts her aching body
to ease the pain in her hip
the hail subsides
aunt ruthie drops her face
her lashes tangle in the dark
to hurry sleep along
as a mouse crouch down in front of the stove
to listen to the teapot song.
Continued from Page 3
“What we do is a reflection of our
beliefs. We can’t keep that from
Artists waste their time when they
restrict themselves to subjects such as
mud-covered leaves and little girls’
tennis shoes, he says.
“There is value in talking about
snow and wagon wheels and dust all
over everything. There are things we
need poets to interpret for us,” he
says. “Butlcan’tconceivcofbeinga
poet or a painter or another kind of
writer and to actually ignore real things,
real significant things that arc hap
pening to people.
“It’s rare to find in poetry coming
out of Nebraska something about what
is happening in Central America or
what is happening with the homeless
in this country or that addresses ra
Artists have an important respon
sibility, Mondo says, because a poem
or a painting can touch people in a
way nothing else can.
“Art is something that penetrates
into a person’s spirit and allows the
person to feel,” he says. “So if you
have this kind of power... art power
... then it seems to me that in a way,
you’re betraying people by not mak
ing some use of that power.”
Mondo thinks someone who is both
political and spiritual is all the better
for the mix.
a person wno is political out
doesn’t have the artist’s vision can
only go so far and then a wall grows
up around the person,” he says. ‘‘The
brain can only take you so far or so
high, but the spirit can take you other
Art and radical politics are actu
ally one and the same, he says.
1 DONt A/AMfl
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‘Depending on break dates and lengtn of stay
“Revolution automatically in
volves two things, destruction and
construction. It seems to me that an
artist is involved in exactly the same
Dick Herman, editorial page edi
tor of the Lincoln Journal, says Mondo
gives readers the viewpoint of the
“articulate,angry black American.”
by Wopashitwe Mondo
Eyen we Langa
some africans in america born
know african selves not
collar leash theyselves
to white america
hard and tight
no can break, away
like tiny dog not break away
from big master with monkey grip
these more pets than pets
master confident to know
he let leash go
these ones move hot
but stand with timid eyes
and feet stuck to concrete good
move not'til master say they should
second guess him sometime awhile
fetch the slippers
put eyes to ground 'til master smile
by some magic they black faces blush
and feet shuffle fast to rush
to the white mayor they trust
give them keys to the city
unlocking nothing at all for us.
“I think he provides a perspective
that our readers wouldn’t gel any
where else, couldn’t get anywhere
else,” Herman says.
Mondo doesn’t consider himsell
an angry person, though. He says angei
is like an acid that cats its container a*
well as its target.
“I’m just not that type of person.’
Mondo likes to tease and is quick
with one-liners. His piercing dark eyes
sparkle when he laughs.
“I know peace,” he says. “I am a
happy person in spite of this place.”
State Sen. Ernie Chambers of
Omaha has known Mondo for about
20 years. He says Mondo sees the
world differently than most.
“He is a visionary in the sense of
being able to look beyond the present
and see the big picture,” Chambers
Mondo stil 1 wants his freedom, but
on his terms. He says he seeks release
on the basis of his innocence. As a
result, he has neither tried to have his
life sentence commuted nor sought a
He is convinced he won’t spend
the rest of his life in prison but won
ders how he will fit into a world so
different from the one he left.
“I feel like a f-.dinosaur some
times,” he says.
In & way, he is a relic. Other radi
cals from die 1960s and early 1970s
went on to raise families and work
full-time jobs. Along the way, many
of them lost, or at least buried, their
“There was a sense that we really
could overcome,” he says. “Today it
sounds so phony.”
Yet he hasn’t lost hope that others
will again find the fervor and passion
that possessed them.
Mondo says he feels a sense of
urgency but doesn’t allow this emo
tion to consume him. He could be
compared to a hurricane.
Inside the gyre lies an immense
“When you’re doing things you
believe in and you’re true to yourself,
, there’s a sense of peace -- regardless
of how much turmoil is going on
’ around you.”
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