Tribute: Louis Reyes Rivera

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Brother Comrade Louis was never known for ambivalence, for long word games in his poetry, or the poetry of troubled individuals


We all have just been kicked in
the chest of the living and the air has been knocked out of us all.

Comrade, Brother Louis Reyes Rivera, made his transition at
9:01 PM, Friday March 2nd, 2012.

We have lost a Revolutionary
Radical Poet, a Scholar of world literature and a Committed Artist of
the People. He brought not only insight, but a skilled practice of the
Black Arts Movement and a radical artistic standard to our journalistic
and artistic expression, in other words he was responsible for bringing
our aesthetics to a higher level of standard and insight.

It must be noted that Brother
Comrade Louis was never seduced by celebrity culture or  having  people live vicariously through his art.  He wanted us to seek the conditions
of the people, and then to encourage their resistance to those inhumane
conditions. Louis' artist workshop was geared  to achieving a deeper
understanding of the role of art, and how to create an art of
resistance, thus laying the foundation for self-determination.

Brother Louis was more than an
intellectual, but, also through family ties, he became the son-in-law of
John Oliver Killens. Brother Louis grasped a connection to art and
literature of resistance during and after the World War II period
through Brother Comrade John Oliver Killens of the power of "Then We Heard The Thunder,"
and other works that portray the Black working class characters as
human, stable and not solely dysfunctional through their acts of

He gave us the notion that art
is the soul and sensibilities of a people and that it has to be taken
seriously, if they are to be free.

Brother Louis, would continue this tradition in his poetry and in the poem called "Why?"
The poems begins with as a bullet screams as it heads towards the
person of Comrade Brother Malcolm X. Here Louis shows how an inanimate
object also existed in a moral order of right and wrong and this would
be Brother Louis' moral ground of all his art. Brother Comrade Louis was more
than fearless intellectually, as an artist, teacher/professor he
was scholastically prepared to defend the right of a people to socially
define themselves and to be further self-determining.

His art has expressed the
humanity within "us" and the joys of our urban swagger. While Resistance
and Self-definition was to be the center piece of the Black
Aesthetics, Brother Comrade Louis continued teaching and organizing in
spite of our communities lack of giving honor to its radical and
thinking intellectuals as artists and scholars.

Brother Comrade Louis was never
known for ambivalence, for long word games in his poetry, or the poetry
of troubled individuals; he never sentimentalized social cowardliness of
not speaking the reality of racist oppression in post-racial America to
be further celebrated as an "artist" by comfortable white suburbans,
whose reality is the discussion of the nature of art and it role over a
Sunday brunch in between sips of herbal tea and organic eggs.

His is a poetry of resistance of
crowded subways, the moral dilemma of bullets killing Black
revolutionaries in a rented ball room, where Detroit Red dies as "X."
The great and beautiful mother and grand mother of the Bronx near Bath
Gate Ave., a scroll from Boston Road speaking Spanish about getting his
small butt home on time.

Who, he himself became "a tough" in the neighborhood to use his fearlessness to explain the world to us all.

Who would share "Jazz in Jail" pass the great hills of Puerto
Rico, eating Mary Janes hard candies in the Bronx before coming to
Brooklyn with a hard fist of self-determining poems of the people and
the people alone.

"Then We heard the Thunder..."
                            and it whispered   
                                           Louis Reyes Rivera.....
                                               As the air
                                                  comes back in
                                     of memories and resistance.
                                      (May 19th 1945 to March 2th 2012)

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