My latest poem, If I Told You, is empowering by rousing up a purpose of enquiry leading the individual down a fresh and unabated path of study and revelation. The poem for me, challenges many conventional beliefs and ideas regarding the origin of humanity, civilisation and philosophy especially those rooted in African history. As the piece progresses the tone moves away from historical and political, adopting a more personal temper through honesty and Truth that we all feel and experience at some point in our lives. As with much of my work I try to operate around the idea of Truth and combine the multiple ways in which it can be conveyed.
A full reading list which accompanies the piece can be seen at www.anthonyanaxagorou.com, but please listen to the poem first:
If I Told You
What if I told you that all life is African?
What if I told you that the oldest human culture developed in Katanda Congo,
or what if I told you that the Ethiopian Australopithecus known as Lucy
is also known as Dinquinesh?
What if I told you that every Black face is the descendent of an Ancient Egyptian,
or that no country has as many pyramids as Sudan?
What if I spoke about the library in Kemet and Alexander’s pillaging of knowledge,
the burning of books, of culture and philosophy?
What if I told you that the Vikings were the most pre-eminent slave owners,
and that the 11th century saw Dublin as the slave capital of the world?
Would you believe me if I told you that white people enslaved their own kind first,
Or that St Patrick was a run-away slave – a drapetomaniac?
What If I told you that Pythagoras was taught by some smooth faced Egyptians,
as was Thales and Anaxamander?
What if I explained Egyptian Mystery Schools to you?
What if I told you all great European philosophers were trained by Black Africans in Ionia,
or what if I told you what Herodotus said about the Colchians?
What if I told you what Ghandi said about Western Civilisation?
What if I told you about Europe’s dark ages in comparison to the empires of Mali and Kush – what if you knew about Abubakari II?
What if I told you that Columbus never stepped foot on American soil
and that Africans were navigating the globe with papyrus-reed ships in 2600BC?
What if you knew about Cheop boats and that Europeans
didn’t have a concept for latitude and longitude until the 18th century?
What if I told you that racism was invented?
What if I told you that we only ever oppress those who are powerful?
What if I told you that in the 16th and 17th century white indentured servants and
black slaves fought subjugation together?
What if I told you about J.F Blumenbach and his obsession with racial purity and
white slave women?
What if you knew about David Walker’s Appeal?
What if I told you what Columbus said when he fist saw Arawak Indians in the
What if I told you about the suggestion made by priest Bartolomé de Las Casas, then what if I told you how many lives were lost to the grin that swept across Columbus’s face?
What if I told you nothing has really changed and that racism is ever present?
What if I told you about that battle at Wounded Knee in 1890 and the massacre of
300 Native Americans with the Hotchkiss gun?
What if I told you that Native American’s today have a life expectancy
What if I told you that the enemy is White supremacy?
What if I didn’t care about African history, or the genocide of indigenous people
and instead wrote poems about Winston Churchill, Thomas Jefferson
and Abraham Lincoln, and I refrained from talking about the 54 countries that make up the British commonwealth?
What if I told you that the abolition of slavery had nothing to do with philanthropy
but pure economics?
What if I told you religion has killed more people than it’s saved
and that nothing can buy you peace?
What if I told you that a teacher’s job is to help you understand what you already know?
What if I told you about freedom, what if I promoted violence instead of self-reliance?
What if I said everyone that looked like you was a killer, a bomber, a terrorist?
What if I told you that the media lies, that the news is censored that everything has an agenda?
What if I told you about Milton Frediman and the Chicago School of economics?
What if I told you about neo-liberalism?
What if I told you about Edward Bernays?
Or that since the invasion of Iraq 110,721 innocent civilians have died nameless
What if I told you about the systematic imprisonment of Black and Latino males in
What if you knew the worth of every prison inmate?
What if I told you about Francis Galton and the eugenic movement?
What if I told you about NSSM 200?
And what if I quoted Emerson or Theroux and I worked on a building site,
or I knew that Shakespeare invented over 1700 words including the word
What if I was reading The Apology on the bus ride to work
and work happened to be cleaning office toilets?
What if I was ugly but knew how to make her smile?
What if I told you that music is not popular but universal – intelligent noise
resonating from the soul of the universe?
What if I told you that in every bit of me is every bit of you?
What if I stopped writing for a second, or a week or a year would I miss something?
What if I told you that love is forgiveness breathing and every man wants to be held
as tightly as every woman does?
What if I told you that we all want to be wanted
and that cruelty is how weak men respond to fear?
What if I told you that the hardest man I’d ever known loved me the most?
What if I told you the first time I punched someone I felt strong but the crying I
did that night introduced me to a weakness I’d never felt before?
What if I told you that the first time I kissed a girl an earthquake found my legs
and that each time I get my heart broken I become a better poet?
What if I told you that a single act of genius is the result of a thousand failures,
and that every master knew nothing at the start?
What if I told you I believe in you, in your heart and your life?
What if I told you that the greatest gift I ever received was being told I can?
What if I told you that you wrote this?
what if I never told you?