Al Young title


In Memoriam

poetry-program-at-kpfa-1-edit.jpg qr-hand-karla-brundage-edit.jpg poetry-program-at-kpfa-2-edit.jpg karen-al-slim-lucha-kpfa.jpg

© Raymond Nat Turner/Zigi Lowenberg


spkr8.jpgLISTEN NOW | Full one-hour tribute to Reggie Lockett on Kris Welch’s KPFA Living Room program of 30th May 2008. Hear poets and friends broadcast their hearts in a live broadcast studio at KPFA Pacifica: q.r. hand, jr, Avotcja, Jack and Adelle Foley, Lucha Corpi, Adam David Miller, Kim Shuck, Judy Juanita, John Curl, Kirk Lumpkin, Kim McMillan, Gerald Nicosia, Mary Rudge, Raymond Nat Turner, Katherine Hastings, Karla Brundage, Jim LeCuyere, Karen Folger Jacobs, Slim Russell, Wanda Sabir, Al Young, and others.


Photos © Kathy Sloane

Thursday, May 22
11:00 a.m.
Bee Bee Memorial Cathedral
3900 Telegraph Avenue
Oakland, CA 94609

Buried at Rolling Hills Cemetery, Richmond, CA



singing the Movement
blending with other voices
we miss yours, Reggie

Adelle Foley


for Reginald Lockett

Your words are in the air
and enter us
on this hottest day in memory
flowers burst open
beyond open
brown birds with beautiful voices
dance in sprinkler rain
Would you be surprised to know
poems are being written
all up and down California tonight
in an attempt
to hold on to you somehow?
To love you into thin air?
Just hours before the call
Borges on death:
For me death is a hope, the irrational
certitude of being abolished,
erased, and forgotten. You think it matters
if tomorrow I will have disappeared?
Old spirit. New spirit.
Teacher of Watts and Trane,
August Crumpler,
West Oakland Archaeology,
the Culbersons and Backyard Boogie.
You wrote “To Kathy,”
a name from childhood
growing up in the 60s
in some other world

Katherine Hastings


for reginald lockett

there were your eyes
always holding twinkle and swoon
eyes to make ladies blush and smile

and the voice that rumbled deep
thunder on a summer day
sure to bring a cooling rain

and the head that tipped
with the tease that was to come
slipping it in with a wink and a chortle
always close with a ready quip, a cogent quote
a push, a pull, a slap on the back

sharp sure
a man’s man
true friend
a woman’s man
loved and loving

bookstore owners too knew
your face, your name
as you often sought out shop corners
as places of refuge, places called home

you were a man
of letters and words and books
reading inside their lines, you
could unknot meter, explicate metaphors,
and glean the truth from the quirkiest of prose
the most layered of poems

in your work, you laced memory and song
beneath and around your family of blood
your comrades your students your teachers
your daughter maya, who reshaped your heart
into new drum rhythms
your loves who brought
jubilation and destruction
your last love who brought
joy and acceptance

words of love, and history
regret and defiance
filled your pages
beside the music
that made your spirit dance

carrying sadness in your belly
laughter in your chest
a military posture of pride
and a hip sloping stride
Reginald you were always you
and we will miss you
miss you dearly

devorah major
devorah major at YouTube


polysyllabic omniverse of our dreams
for reginald lockett in memoriam; for his family and all of us
may 16, 2008

we set sail to the endless shore
riding ripples of language
carrying us toward the
ultimate song

you now
an ocean-going vessel
piloting a course
through the polysyllabic omniverse
of our dreams

i want to borrow your rhythm
but cannot match your cadence
i hear you sing praises
louder than any church choir
bolder than the soloist’s shout

your multiphonic speech
breathes cascading color
of a hue not yet seen by the naked eye
a fabric so finely woven that you can
drink from it

the sustenance you provide
is like water gushing forth
from an underground spring

now you are that spring
and we take heart in
your unending flow

you are with us
here now
you are with us
as the cosmic dance
you are with us
as the planet ceases its spin
a moment

before bursting in praise

we are now your pages
leaves dog eared from late night study
we are the letters
that form the words
that build the phrase
to sing the song
of love we feel for you

as the boat now reaches its shore
you step forth into the light
you so often spoke of
each one of your poems
a particle forming to
embrace your union

you are with us
hear our song
you are with us
as we join together
you are with us
entities entwined
we will find you
in the polysyllabic omniverse
of our dreams

brian auerbach


Reginald Lockett, died May 15, 2008

If there was ever a poet deserving of the title poet laureate for a city, Reggie was Oakland’s unnamed honoree. His work breathed Oakland—each syllable an experience that we, who call this fair city home, could relate to. He lived in a haunted house, haunted by the memories of black people from southern towns where they were just as unwelcome, as some were here. Reggie was born in one of those places, too, but his family moved here and here is where the poet was born.

The last book he completed before his untimely demise was Random History Lessons, each poem one which vividly etched in one’s mind the characters and corners and attitudes Reggie the young man, Reggie the child, Reggie the young adult met coming up in the ‘hood.

I remember our interview of quite some time ago, ad yet another which I’d not had time to publish and now our brother is gone.

He was so helpful and encouraging. He was just about the most encouraging artist I have ever known. He’d send me leads for publications and then encourage me to send work in. He coached me on numerous job interviews for full-time teaching gigs at bay area community colleges and in 2006 he published our response to Hurricane Katrina, a collection of poetry published under his Jukebox Press imprint. I remember the first time I saw Wordwind Chorus: Lewis Jordan, QR Hand and Reggie. It was at Gerald Lenoir and Karen’s home in Berkeley. I remember his first book I owned, Where the Birds Sing Bass, a Josephine Miles PEN awardee. I remember when Reggie was emcee at the PEN awards when Ntozake Shange was honored. I remember his reading during National Library Week at the College of Alameda and I got to introduce him. I remember the California Community College Composition Teachers Conference in Sacramento and our trip to the mall to buy me some tennis shoes. I have been wearing New Balance ever sense, and I still have the pair of shoes he helped me pick out.

I remember his poem about the “dumb class,” a class he was in until someone checked his vision. I think about this often and how educators misdiagnose our students all the time.

Just this past Sunday, Reggie was to be a part of the program at Anna’s and I wondered why he wasn’t there. I remember he and Ted Pontiflet. If I saw one, I usually saw the other. I wonder how Ted is doing. Linda his partner, his daughter, his dad. I wonder how Al Young is doing, Ishmael Reed, all of us.

Reggie was the consummate human being. I was watching an old classic black and white film called Laura. In the film a woman was supposedly murdered but as the investigation proceeds she isn’t dead, she was out of town. I wondered if someone would be calling me back to tell me it was all a mistake; it was a case of mistaken identity—

I knew it was wishful thinking, but in just two months I have lost two friends: Casper Banjo and now Reginald Lockett. When devorah [major] called and told me she had something to tell me, I asked her if someone had died. I was hoping it was good news, but devorah doesn’t call me often—I got two more calls and I made two. I couldn’t think, and the details the only details that stuck were that Reggie was dead—I was foggy on the when and the who discovered this and why devorah knew it was so. I was hoping that someone was pretending to be devorah and really, it wasn’t her and then Phil Hutchings called, and Sharifah, and Kim verified what everyone else said and I was like—well I guess it’s true.

I had to get away, so I went to the theater to see Figaro. It was great. I loved the language and the physicality of the piece. When I walked out and looked down there was a poem by Alice Walker, next to hers was one by Rilke (translated by someone else.)

I can see Reggie. I hear his voice…see him walking the Lake with Derethia. I remember giving him a ride to the dentist in Montclair when his crown broke one time. I always saw him, and if I didn’t see him a Cave Canem announcement was his calling card.

He was really supportive of the Maafa Book Project and gave me lots of poems and made others I liked available.

Reggie Lockett will be missed. Two writers gone in two years, not a year apart: Chauncey Bailey and now Reginald Lockett.

Wanda Sabir




Creative Arts Book Company, 2001

Innocent? When was I ever innocent? I was guilty of just about everything I was accused of doing.
– Reginald Lockett, “How I Started Writing Poetry”

“At the age of fourteen,” Reginald Lockett tells us in his prose memoir, “How I Started Writing Poetry,” “I was what Richard Pryor over a decade later would call ‘going for bad’ or what my Southern-bred folks said was ‘smellin’ your pee’…I ‘talked that talk and walked that walk’ most parents found downright despicable”:

We’d steal clothes, records, liquor, jewelry–anything for the sake of magnifying to the upteenth degree that image of death-defying manhood and to prove I was indeed a budding Slick Draw McGraw. Luckily, I was never caught, arrested and hauled off to Juvenile Hall or the California Youth Authority like so many of the guys I ran with.

One of the main factors that saved Lockett from the fate of “so many of the guys I ran with” was a creative writing class taught by Miss Nettelbeck, “who looked and dressed like one of them beatniks I’d seen one night on East Side, West Side.” While Lockett took the class,

I wasn’t running up and down the streets with the fellas much anymore. Harvey would get bent out of shape everytime I’d tell him I had something else to do. I had to be turning punkish or seeing some girl I was too chinchy to introduce him to. This also bothered my mother because she kept telling me I was going to ruin my eyes if I didn’t stop reading so much; and what was that I spent all my spare time writing in a manila notebook? Was I keeping a diary or something? Only girls kept diaries, and people may start thinking I was one of “them sissy mens” if I didn’t stop. Even getting good grades and citizenship and making the honor roll didn’t keep her off of my case. But I kept right on reading and writing, looking forward to Miss Nettelbeck’s class twice a week.

Lockett, now in his fifties, is himself a teacher with many years of experience. In one of the most moving poems of his new collection, The Party Crashers of Paradise, he writes, “Teaching saves lives.” (Further on in the book he adds that it is “the poet’s duty / to save lives, / especially our own.”)

Reginald Lockett was born in Berkeley, California. His father–about whom he has a very fine poem, “Endless Ports of Call”–was a Master Chief Steward in the US Navy. In “Endless Ports of Call” Lockett recalls his father unexpectedly showing up at a high school class

in full Navy dress blues with the gold chevron
of a master chief steward and five hash marks
on the left sleeve a show of authority
and years of service, and that grin
just like the one Scatman Crothers wore,
the whole ghetto classroom in awe of him….

Lockett began school in Hawaii, “believing himself / the dumb, ugly / little nigger / the white kids called him,” moved to Texas, and then came to Oakland in 1960, when he was about twelve years old. He later attended San Francisco State University and lived in San Francisco for thirteen years. But even poems written in San Francisco, he says, “have an Oakland feel to them.” One of his poems is called “Oaktown, CA”: “Oaktown” is the rappers’ term for “Oakland.” Echoing Bessie Smith’s “Black Mountain Blues,” Lockett concludes the poem by simultaneously invoking the classic blues and leveling a damning commentary on the current world

in a town, in a town, in a town
in a state, in a state, in a state,
in a nation, in a nation, in a nation
so bad,
even the birds sing bass

The Party Crashers of Paradise also gives us Lockett’s experiences in “The Dumb Class”–“They didn’t use / nice terms like / learning disabled”–where he eventually taught himself “to write in longhand / and how to do / third, fourth, and fifth grade arithmetic”

after the new colored school nurse
discovered I needed glasses ….

The book reveals that Lockett’s birth mother, whom he came eventually to know, gave him up for adoption. This is from “Bastard”:

At my mother’s funeral,
I suddenly
became untouchable.
Printed right there
in the obituary
the name of a third son
relatives and friends
knew nothing about
as long as they
knew my mother.
A son
never mentioned,
a son
not born in holy wedlock
like the other two.

Poet David Henderson calls Reginald Lockett’s poems “mainstream Black with a Third World consciousness implicit in every line,” which is accurate enough. Lockett refers to himself, not as a “jazz poet,” but as “the original Rhythm & Blues poet.” Certainly one of great strengths of this book is the author’s wonderful ease with Black speech.This is from the opening of “The Terminator”:

his homey in my class.
loud yellow baseball cap
pulled waaaaaaaay down
over matted, jet black blue
ocean waves and earphones
hooked up to a matching
yellow Walkman radio
hidden in the inside pocket
of a black leather Raiders jacket
feeling good behind large
smoke tinted shades
and high on indica and crack
rolled into a grimmie

Again and again one senses the refreshing presence of slang, of talk–though Lockett is also capable of neologisms like “epiphanous” and “politricks.” Ishmael Reed has referred to Lockett’s “hip, urban, observant” idiom, and Al Young has described Lockett’s “boppish, bluesy lines”: “[Lockett] has created a crusty yet tender poetry that tick-tocks between staying cool and getting involved….”

The Party Crashers of Paradise is a fine introduction to the work of a poet who ought to be far better known than he is. Lockett is definitely one of Oaktown’s best-kept secrets. The “Bro. Radio” series–echoing back to “Brer Rabbit”–is by itself worth the price of the book. There are poems about childhood, about family, about political involvement (Lockett was a Black Panther), shaman poems (including poems evoking ancient Africa and the presence of the Yoruba deities, the Orisha), erotic poems, poems about lost youth:

Black Power! Her natural
stood tall, erect,
red and golden
like the flame
we thought
ignite the revolution
that never came…
I know,
I know. I am
a vague, remote
amorous memory,
color and image
each step closer
sistah love
gets to death. My heart
erupts in tears–

all manifesting in a language which remains remarkably accessible, often noble and moving, constantly streetwise. I miss the presence here of a wonderful piece, “The Movement” (“the music of Trane, Albert, and Pharoah, / the teachins of Fanon, Mao, Che, and Huey, / and the muses of Baraka, Sonia, Askia and Larry”), but it is available in Lockett’s earlier collection, Where the Birds Sing Bass (winner of the 1996 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award). The word “being” echoes at various places throughout the book, but the concluding section moves us out beyond Oakland into Paris and Jamaica and deliberately introduces a more“spiritual” dimension–what Robert Farris Thompson calls flash of the spirit:

the holy ground
of … ancient ancestral truths
zooming in on
the black, brown, and beige express,
making connections
in the upper heavens of our souls.

It is Religion at its hippest. Here we read of “the divine horseman” of Vodun and the Yoruba goddess Oshun (“the blue / jazz hued goddess”) and experience “songs of a different revolution.” Under the influence of figures such as Sun Ra–whom Lockett knew personally–Lockett himself becomes a “party crasher of paradise”:

we floated on the ceiling
at the Savoy-On-The-Third-Moon-From-Jupiter
we did the celestial Glide to a Venusian groove
across floors of endless possibilities
at the Palladium Palace on a planet
we never knew was there
until the souls of our shoes glistened
like molten diamonds

In addition to writing and teaching, Reginald Lockett performs with a group called “WordWind Chorus,” and he can be heard on their excellent CD, we are of the saying. (Lockett performs “The Movement” on the CD; other members of the Chorus are Brian Auerbach, Q.R. Hand, Jr., and Lewis Jordan: their e-mail address is

One quibble: not only small-press books like The Party Crashers of Paradise but books issued from major houses in New York are, these days, very likely to contain a considerable number of typographical errors. Unfortunately, Lockett’s book is no exception. Most of these errors are not of a serious nature–spelling “stationery” as “stationary,” “MAllister” for McAllister”–but in one case the poem’s meaning is altered. “MOM”–a poem dealing with the poet’s birth mother–here ends

cocks her head
to that favored
right angled slant
just looks far off
into a distance
we three have yet begun
to travel.

Happily, the poem was published in Where the Birds Sing Bass. This is the correct ending:

cocks her head
to that favored
right angled slant
just looks far off
into a distance
we three have not yet begun
to travel.

Throughout The Party Crashers of Paradise Reginald Lockett is able to take us there and get us back again. The entire book is a spirit journey. Lockett is not only “the original Rhythm & Blues poet.” He is also, in his deeply-felt social concern and awareness of spirit, “the silent songwriter / of our Apocalypse”:

He keeps a Big John de Conqueror
root in his hip pocket & a
lodestone hidden
neatly away in his vest.

Jack Foley

This essay appeared originally in The Alsop Review



Things weren’t always like this.
We were circuit riders of Garvey’s whirlwind,
working the rhythms of blues drenched streets,
jazz soaked nightclubs and gatherings
of houngans and necromancers committed to struggle,
breathing the fire of Malcolm’s words.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Way was Grove Street,
and no children stood on corners
speaking the language of doom and hawking
the wares of self-doubt and destruction.
Fillmore was alive with the comings, goings, and doings
of a people dancing
across collard green floors and holding up cornbread walls
under buttermilk skies,
pawing, clawing, dreaming, scheming, screaming . . .
getting up, standing up, and flying, dying, crying,
conniving their way towards newer tomorrows.
Good brothers and sisters on the speedboat
of revolution, our sights set on this thing
called freedom.
Things weren’t always dismal and dank like this.
We were cosmic griots taking the point,
searching infinite perimeters of sights and sounds
from the funky Four Corners of existence,
talking smack by the boatloads and getting one up
on the would-be grafters of our dreams,
slipping and sliding through concrete bayous
in urban undergrowth,
the bloodhounds of oppression, repression,
and suppression
snapping and baying at the iridescence of our heels.
Some of us drank gallons and gallons of Red Mountain
or shortneck after shortneck of Ripple
under the harsh glow of red and blue party lights,
and held tight to women blacker than forty midnights,
suddenly beautiful,
getting the R-E-S-P-E-C-T and do rightness
Aretha demanded in that brand new bag
James Brown shouted and hollered into our thoughts.
Things weren’t always crazy like this.
Incarcerated in the desolate barnyards of Amerikkka,
we were fast and slick in the way we saw ourselves.
We were cutesy tootsie roosters wearing our crowns
a good fifty degrees to the side,
and laid, sprayed, and ready to get paid
in plumage of silk and satin.
We kept the hawks of our misery confused and perplexed
beyond cocaine and cognac tainted perspectives.
We were keepers of the eagle’s eye view
on the watch out for the cutthroats of reason
and the backstabbers of sanity
on these long, winding and twisting highways and byways,
booking midnight flights of fancy
on the music of Trane, Albert, and Pharoah,
the teachings of Fanon, Mao, Che, and Huey,
and the muses of Baraka, Sonia, Askia and Larry,
trying to get back home to Ditty-Wah-Ditty *
in a nick of time to call winners
and cash in all the chips
in this game of chance called life.

* Black Folks’ Heaven


lines from Reginald Lockett’s poem, “The Movement”

Things weren’t always like this.
Blues people
We were circuit riders of Garvey’s whirlwind,
The Black Arts Movement (BAM)
working the rhythms of blues drenched streets,
I remember the poem about your father
jazz soaked nightclubs and gatherings
Trig and Navy even at home—a tight ship
of houngans and necromancers committed to struggle,
The Black Panthers
breathing the fire of Malcolm’s words.
Not always like this
Martin Luther King, Jr. Way was Grove Street,
Not always hearing the news of your death on the telephone
and no children stood on corners
speaking the language of doom and hawking
But seeing you alive and smiling
the wares of self-doubt and destruction.
And talking in that breathy way I always thought was cool
We were keepers of the eagle’s eye view
on the watch out for the cutthroats of reason
and the backstabbers of sanity
on these long, winding and twisting highways and byways,
booking midnight flights of fancy
on the music of Trane, Albert, and Pharoah,
the teachings of Fanon, Mao, Che, and Huey,
and the muses of Baraka, Sonia, Askia and Larry,
trying to get back home to Ditty-Wah-Ditty *
in a nick of time to call winners
Live forever, brother
and cash in all the chips
in poetry,
in this game of chance called life.
in that place called Ditty-Wah-Ditty–
home to Ditty-Wah-Ditty

(* Black Folks’ Heaven)

Jack Foley


for Reginald

times we shared
times we meant to have…
more times ahead ¬— in the spirit-land.

You always led by inspiration
still will fuel the journeys of many…

..thank you, my brother, for leaving
such a clear impression
sharing such a force.

You remain an inspiration
who will continue to lead and guide…
bones you taught to rattle
will be Cage-less.

Diem Jones


REGGIE LOCKETT: Message from Al Young Read by Javier Chapa at the San José City College Memorial, 20th May 2008 — and, in an augmented version, read by Ishmael Reed at the 22nd May Church Memorial

Reginald Lockett was indeed a rare treasure: a teacher who cared about his country and its citizens, a poet whose passions and concerns encompassed more than himself and career advancement. Reggie spoke often to me of his students at San José City College and how crucial it was for them to grasp and master what he worked so hard to teach them. It was reading and his love of literature that enabled him to see clearly his own immediate community and the problems it faced and understand that his little corner of Oakland, California was not unique. When Reggie spoke of the gifts that many of his Asian-born students bestowed on him at semester’s end to thank him for teaching them, I could see in his eyes the emotion this stirred.

Anyone who finds Reginald Lockett mysterious need only read his poems about growing up Texas, Hawaii and California. In primary school he was placed not in “special ed” but in “the dumb class.” The poem he composed about this experience cites the school nurse who discovered through testing that Reggie actually needed eyeglasses to read properly. Such is the nature of poetry that it enables us to explore the vastness of of what we like to think of as our personal selves. What we are really exploring when we read stories and poetry is our one big self. Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as the other.

Reginald Lockett and I agreed that if the spirit of democracy is to be preserved in this republic for which we stand, the United States, it will persevere not on the so-called ivy league campuses — the Stanfords, the Harvards, the Yales — but, rather, on community college campuses, whose students are usually immigrants or first-in-the-family college students. For every Reginald Lockett we lose, we lose a a whole universe of knowledge and experience. We lose not just a song, but an entire album; a symphony.
— Al Young
California Poet Laureate


Joseph P. McNair’s Asili: The Journal of Multicultural Heartspeak celebrates the poetry of Reginald Lockett


farewell, my friend

for reginald m. lockett

farewell, my friend & agemate,
tho our paths like an ancient
river’s branches have paralleled &
crossed many times in our many
attempts “to from the essential
facts of life” & reach beyond the
possible limits of attanable results …
tho sourced alike from boggy
emotional landscapes, fed & renewed
by the glacial melt of spirit, tellurian
surface runoff & elysian water
flowing through subsurface rocks.
we converged of late, a mighty tributary,
flowing from elevated headwaters to
the sea.
tho u’ve slipped yr mortal coil,
it is not as tho u’ve flowed into the
ground or dried up completely. Our
waters are joined: there are none
who have known u who do not
happily carry the weights of yr
verse, yr love of life & memory.
Your lifesong rings in my ears &
heart, & i am full with the joy of
knowing u ….
farewell, ole gangsta poet,
farewell, my friend, adieu

j. mcnair


Random Notes For a Selfish Poem

Each of us has our Reggie, you yours, I mine

We were bone to bone friends
He put bread into my mouth, I into his
When one of us got a fat gig, he was sure
to recommend the other; he hired me, I hired him

He generously inscribed, “Mentor, poet, friend, who
contributed to the growth of these poems,” in my copy
of “Party Crashers.” He allowed me to tinker with his
Msss after he thought they were finished.

Reggie is the one person I would permit a half hour on the phone
to vent and clarify his thoughts. My wife Elise and I tended
his apartment, watered his plants and fed his cat
when he visited Paris and New York.

Although he loved words, his own, he was
always willing to share space with other poets.
Because certain poets hog the podium, I’ll never read
behind them. Reggie is not one of these.

Once I read after him and the Word Wind Chorus
I took advantage of the glow they left.
So whether we were reading at a Katrina benefit
or a Kim-directed Oakland Festival, I loved
to follow in Reggie’s glow.

He did not take that with him.
Even now, YES! even now, I feel that glow.

Adam David Miller
May 30, 2008



This is a poem about Reggie
I just found out about Reggie
We’d been in Europe three weeks
during the time he died
So the impact was delayed
in me
for an eight-hour day
Then the full force swept over me
The leaves on the tree outside the window
cast shadows on the sunlight
that frosts the glass
and the little bit of light that shimmers on it
shivers for a moment
in my being
about Reggie

Something dear
hovers inside
like a memory
that never

Sorry, Reg

Floyd Salas



q.r. hand, jr and Karla Brundage at the KPFA gathering to honor Reggie Lockett on Kris Welch’s noontime Living Room
Raymond Nat Turner/Zigi Lowenberg



Kirk Lumpkin, John Curl, Judy Juanita (back turned), Karla Brundage, Karen Folger Jacobs, Florence Miller, Kris Welch, Jim LeCuyere | Zigi Lowenberg



Damien, unidentified KPFA staffer, Slim Russell, Florence Miller, Mary Rudge, Karla Brundage | Raymond Nat Turner



Karen Folger Jacobs, Al Young, Slim Russell, Lucha Corpi wait at KPFA to honor Reggie, 30 May 2008 | Raymond Nat Turner


christina-springer.jpgChristina Springer’s Springer’s Journal features “Strut on Home, Then”– Reginald Lockett Makes His Transition

Oakland’s Unofficial Poet Laureate Dies at 60 (Angela Hill, Oakland Tribune)



Blue Reggie on BART, 2004 | Al Young


8 Responses to “REGINALD LOCKETT (1947-2008)”

  1. Julinda Says:

    Reggie I’m Missing You Already

    I miss your large entrance each morning when you came through the doors to work.
    Your brassy voice always let me know that you were there.
    I miss your calls when you were stuck in traffic or just simply running late.
    I miss your stories of your father and daughters whom I never met.
    But feel like I know.
    I will miss your straight forwardness; you never compromised yourself for politics.
    You were a fair and understanding man to all.
    You were a role model for Black men and women- young and old.
    You loved your Blackness and always kept it real- just has your dreads grew long.
    I love your poems of past generations and the love of family and friends.
    You had just spoken of your Uncle Levi last week.
    The streets of Oakland filled your soul from the Black Panthers to Noble poets such as Al Young. His flyer is still in your mailbox.
    Your words have spread from Cali to Atlanta to New York.
    You have been an unsung hero to many that respect and admire you.
    At least I know I do.
    I miss you Reggie- my friend.

    Julinda Caldwell

  2. Portia Cobb-Heyward Says:

    At Any Moment
    (On hearing of the passing of Reggie Lockett)

    I recall times back then
    in the past
    it now seems/
    but like it
    could happen again
    at any moment

    You were that essential soul/
    friend and closest neighbor in the City
    the one who would guide me
    through the rite
    to write
    and call my self

    I can still see your head
    cocked to one side
    the first time you read my words
    on paper and gave an affirmative nod

    I remember how
    your nurturing spirit often lifted mine
    and that you intuited my journey
    long before I did

    I can still see
    your twinkling eyes and
    that constant smile
    & how you pridefully
    embraced the books you carried-always
    held tight against your chest
    Close to your heart.

    I hear in my head now
    the quick staccato of your speech
    and those weighted pauses
    between and sometimes after
    as if you were extracting and
    holding onto its cadence

    This all brings to mind
    something I once read about
    the spaces between the notes
    in the music of
    Earl Fatha Hines.

    Yeah. You would know.

    Cause you were a brother who was
    Hip like that
    A product of the good times
    the Good times

    But like
    all of it
    could happen again
    at any moment.

    By Portia Cobb (Heyward)
    written in Charleston, South Carolina
    On May 25, 2008

  3. lizz bronson Says:


    I was looking at the poetry flash site, saw the announcement, and googled him.
    I started out awhile ago. I never met the man, but after reading his work, he seems like what i’ve been waiting for, what i’ve missed up til now, and i know i have to keep looking… he sounds like he must’ve been amazing.

    blessings to his people and community.
    lizz bronson

  4. Judy Juanita Says:

    reggie, I’m just mad
    mad that you up and left
    without so much
    as a moment’s notice
    mad that you left in the middle of it all
    mad mad mad mad mad
    come to think of it
    when we met we were mad
    madly in awe of the revolution
    angry young poets at sf state
    deliriously mad and happy to be reading
    with sonia leroi don lee sarah webster fabio
    askia the labries marvin x
    and so mad at the world
    mad at white people
    mad at the system
    mad at inequality
    mad at the black bourgeoisie
    mad at anyone who couldn’t hear us
    mad mad mad mad mad
    right there in the gallery lounge
    at sf state with all the madness around
    us and inside us and ahead of us
    but I’m glad we were there in the 60s
    and that we always remembered it
    not everyone was too high to recall it
    some of us were too mad not to remember
    what we did who we did it with
    how we did what we did when we were
    our maddest
    some said our finest
    some said our worst
    so what
    we were mad
    and now that a road
    your road our road
    has forked and you had to split
    carrying your leather pouch and bags
    on off into the great space the beyond
    I’m still mad but sadgladmad crazymad
    that we blossomed once in a seldom season
    like bellyflowers that people have to get down
    on their bellies to see
    I’m not quite as mad even though
    I still can’t see you
    I can read you
    I can’t run into you at a reading
    I can rail at you through this medium
    I’m so glad you marvin and I read
    in oakland last fall one last time
    after 40 years of madness
    40 years of poetry and water
    under the sf-oakland bay bridge
    it is. it was. we were. we are.
    goodbye brother
    goodbye friend
    goodbye reggie

  5. F. A. Nettelbeck Says:

    just NOW googling around for a friend of me and Reggie’s whom I fear is dead and I come across this news that REGGIE IS DEAD man man too many years out of touch ain’t no good no good Roll In Peace my Brother………

  6. Tim Jacobs Says:

    Reginald Lockett was — and is — a great guy, a terrific and versatile poet, and a friend I regret not having spent nearly enough time with. Too many years of separation. But–if we all do as well with what we know as Reginald Lockett (who can bear shortening that wonderfully poetic name?) has, none of us need to fear the Great Beyond.

  7. Zooey Deschanel Katy Perry Says:

    I tried to post a comment earlier, but it hasn’t shown up. I assume your spam filter may be broken?

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