#BlackHistoryMonth I asked a young Blood poet if my stuff was correct by Hoagland

Puttin’ on the Dog

for “Corner Girl”
By Everett Hoagland

Is my shit correct?
Is my vine correct?
Are my kicks country or correct?
Is my “do” down?Is my shit correct?Is my rusty black diction correct?
Should my ever more erudite
utterances be in “The Vernacular?”
Should my presentation be
theatrical and spectacular?

Is my shit correct?

Should my manner be mannered
and laid back?
Is my poetry Posey?
Does it go to too far into haute couture
noire?
Does it come from hard facts
and Fanon,
or does it refer repeatedly
to The Canon trippin’
in Trickster Mode, tryin’
to Trope-A-Dope????

Is my shit correct?

But, hey, black poetry’s got more
than one good way.
The other day I asked a young Blood
poet if my stuff was correct, if it was
happenin’.
He said, Breaklight becomes dawn,
Ol’ Head.  The word “happenin”
ain’t happenin’, ain’t “where it’s at.”
Today it’s on. Word!
Our work is all that.

#Shoah #Holocaust #iNeedFeminismBecause “I cannot swim” by Irena Klepfisz

 

I cannot swim by Irena Klepfisz

I cannot swim    but my parents
say the land is less safe.     And
the first day    the water was smooth
like slate I could walk on.
It was a deception.

The sky greyed    darkened
then grew bright     as if it understood
our mood. I watched the land sink
and disappear. The boat was form.
I sat holding onto my father’s leg.
I was not sick like the others.

 

(..)

The poem goes on, you can google it, it is too heartbreaking to type out.

From:
Sarah’s Daughters Sing: A Sampler of Poems by Jewish Women
edited by Henny Wenkart

 

#BlackHistoryMonth I love black men by Kukumo #TransIsBeautiful

Tiq Milan in NOW Magazine and the NYT.

Black* Transwoman to Black Cis/Transman: An Open Letter/Poem for Trayvon and the Rest of Us

Two extracts below. For full poem click on link.
Donate monthly to BlackGirlDangerous here.
07/14/13

By KOKUMO

ATTENTION WORLD:

I, LOVE, BLACK* MEN.

From the drug dealers, heart surgeons, stuck at rock bottom, ten years sober, servin’ a dime to life, ex-con turned youth-minister, trans*, gay, D.L., paraplegic, Olympic gold-medal winnin’, current U.S. presidency presidin’, illiterate, artistic, broke as a joke, ballin’, dark-skindid, light-skindid, country-bama, Brooklyn-bred, OG, GD, Rasta bombaclot, to the European transplant and etc.

And no matter how many Jim Crow laws you revise, nothin’ can change that. I grew up with black* men. I’ve fought with black* men. And black* men have fought, for me. Hell, I was supposed to be, a black*, man. I’ve been insulted by black* men. I’ve been consoled by black* men. I’ve been schooled, had my socks knocked off, and mind blown by black* men. I’ve loved black* men, and had the privilege of having them love me back.

(…)

ATTENTION BLACK MEN:

Black* transwoman to black* cis/trans* man. I revere and respect you for living brave in a world that hunts you with hypocritical indignation. I thank you for living in the body I couldn’t and doing it with such swag, intellect, and a vengeance.

As a black* transwoman I want you to know that I never abandoned you or took the easy way out. A war was waged on black* bodies the moment the first slave touched Virginian soil in the 1600′s. So I transitioned from “male” to “female” because I just needed to be in more comfortable battle fatigues.

(…)

“KOKUMỌ is an African-American transgender woman and product of Chicago’s South Side. To KOKUMỌ surviving is passé. Therefore, she believes in sanctioning artistic, political, and actual space for other Trans, Gender Non-Conforming, and Intersex (TGI) people of color to thrive in. In accordance to this belief and her name, she created KOKUMỌMEDIA. KOKUMỌMEDIA uses film, music, and literature to create and generate realistic depictions of TGI people of color.”

Click on link: http://www.blackgirldangerous.org/2013/07/2013714black-transwoman-to-black-cistransman-an-open-letterpoem-for-trayvon-and-the-rest-of-us/

Donate to BlackGirlDangerous here: http://www.blackgirldangerous.org/donate/

 

#idlenomore Nourishing terrains poetry: Tony Birch and aboriginal city dwelling. Deborah Bird Rose writes.

Deborah Bird Rose says: “Some urban poets and songwriters speak of the cityscapes which form the sig- nificant places of their lives, and for those whose home country has been overtaken by a metropolis, their creative expression forms powerful links in the continuity of Aboriginal life in Australia.”

Tony Birch

Ladies’ Lounge
straddled across
laminex chairs
dragged from kitchens
into the warm streets
these women
would drink shandies
and smoke cork-tips
while the Hit Parade
drifted from the verandah
we would sit along
the bluestone gutter
listening to our mothers
singing Cilla Black
they would do nails
brush hair and
touch each other
in a late afternoon
summer sun

Read further: http://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/62db1069-b7ec-4d63-b9a9-991f4b931a60/files/nourishing-terrains.pdf

#OscarsSoWhite #Pulitzer Looking for Colour by Elizabeth Alexander

timthumb.php.pngPhotographer unknown.

11373118-essayAP Photo/Julie Jacobson, Gymnast Gabrielle Douglas (gold medal).

Today’s news
by Elizabeth Alexander

Composer of Barack Hussein Obama’s inauguration poem!
Professor of Poetry at Yale. Feminist!
Shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize!

Heavyweight champion of the world Mike Tyson
broke his fist in the street brawl in Harlem
At three AM outside an all-night clothing store
where he was buying 800-dollar, white
leather coat. The other dude, on TV, said,
“It was a sucker punch.” Muhammad Ali said
Tyson ain’t pretty enough to be a heavyweight
champion of the world. Years ago a new Ali
threw his Olympic gold into the Ohio
River, said he’d get it when black people were truly
free in this country. In South Africa there is a dance
that says       we are fed up       we have no work    you have
struck a rock. I saw it on today’s news.

I didn’t want to write a poem that said “blackness
is,” because we know better than anyone
that we are not one or ten or ten thousand things
Not one poem      We could count ourselves forever
and never agree on the number. When the first
black Olympic gymnast was black and on TV I called
home to say it was colored on channel three
in nineteen eighty-eight. Most mornings these days
Ralph Edwards comes into the bedroom and says, “Elizabeth,
this is your life. Get up and look for color,
look for color everywhere.”

.

More to read at http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/elizabeth-alexander

From: The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry.

NEW and USED: Abebooks.com The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry
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2012 Summer Olympics, Tuesday, July 31, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

 

#idlenomore #iNeedFeminismBecause Water Under World by Hannah Faith Notess! Faith and the Lost River of the Pharaohs.

aboriginal-girl-arnhem-land-wading-615-2

Photo by Amy Tensing of an Australian aboriginal girl/child.

Hannah Faith Notess

WATER UNDER WORLD

That river had me marked
as soon as I drifted underground.

I palmed the coins from my eyes
and leapt from the raft into dark water

as cat-eyed goddesses watched me,
whirring their displeasure. From fog

a young god emerged and gathered me
against his body, dripping, onto the bank.

Of course I worshipped him. Of course
I should begin again. Eighth grade:

I wanted a shirtless lifeguard
at the waterpark to see me, so I leapt

from the flotilla of plastic innertubes
into the waist-deep canal, where spotlit

mummies craned animatronic necks.
He came. He rustled, furious,

from a plastic hedge and banned
me from the Lost River

of the Pharaohs for life. No Nile.
No Underworld. Cast out,

sunburned, that night I drifted,
thought of diving, as the waves kept

rocking me, like hands
on my shoulders. Now I could die

because a boy had held me and
his anger made him warm.

 

Via Rattle.com’s website here.

More information on Hannah Faith Notess here.

 

Wind is a Cat! By Ethel Romig Fuller #Christmas

wind-blown-tree.jpg

Photo by WildSherkin islander.

Wind is a cat
That prowls at night,
Now in a valley,
Now on a height,

Pouncing on houses
Till folks in their beds
Draw all the covers
Over their heads.

It sings to the moon,
It scratches at doors;
It lashes its tail
Around chimneys and roars.

It claws at the clouds
Till it fringes their silk;
It laps up the dawn
Like a saucer of milk;

Then, chasing the stars
To the tops of the firs,
Curls down for a nap
And purrs and purrs.

by Ethel Romig Fuller

 

2892421591_25389d1ecb_b

#BlackHistoryMonth #poem i am running into a new year by Lucille Clifton

i am running into a new year by Lucille Clifton

i am running into a new year
and the old years blow back
like a wind
that i catch in my hair
like strong fingers like
all my old promises and
it will be hard to let go
of what i said to myself
about myself
when i was sixteen and
twentysix and thirtysix
even thirtysix but
i am running into a new year
and i beg what i love and
i leave to forgive me

—Lucille Clifton, Good Woman: Poems and A Memoir 1969-1980

From: The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry.
NEW and USED: Abebooks.com The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry
NEW at independent bookstores: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780195125634

#BlackHistoryMonth #poem Tired by Fenton Johnson

Don’t read this when you’re tired or sad or have given up hope. This is a poem by a writer who is tired of the world we are still building together: a racist society. Ta-Nehissi Coates (he/him) and El Jones (she/her) aren’t  the only ones who feel hopeless.

Tired
I am tired of work; I am tired of building up somebody else’s civilization.
Let us take a rest, M’lissy Jane.

I will go down to the Last Chance Saloon, drink a gallon or two of gin, shoot a
game or two of dice and sleep the rest of the night on one of Mike’s barrells.

You will let the old shanty go to rot, the white people’s clothes turn to dust, and
the Cavalry Baptist Church sink to the bottomless pit.

You will spend your days forgetting you married me and your nights hunting the
warm gin Mike serves the ladies in the rear of the Last Chance Saloon.

Throw the children in the river; civilization has given us too many. It is better to die
than it is to grow up and find out that you are colored.

Pluck the stars out of the heavens. The stars mark our destiny. The stars mark my destiny.

I am tired of civilization.

.

.

From: The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry.
NEW and USED: Abebooks.com The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry
NEW at independent bookstores: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780195125634

#BlackHistoryMonth Old Black Ladies Standing on Bus Stop Corners #poem

7db2148cc553f6b4793de5f6fc583e7cLadies On The Town, Bus Stop In Chinatown, Washington, DC
Photo by Gerald L. Campbell

Old Black Ladies Standing on Bus Stop Corners #2

for my grandmother, Leona Smith

blue black & bow bent under, beautiful
blue black & bow bent under, beautiful
blue black & bow bent under, beautiful

& it never did matter
whether the weather
was flame-tongue-licked
or as cold as a welldigger’s asshole
in late december when santa claus
was working his cold money bullshit
that made financiers grin ear to ear
all the way to secret bank vaults
overflowing with marble eyes
of dirt-poor children

blue black & bow bent under, beautiful
blue black & bow bent under, beautiful
blue black & bow bent under, beautiful

never did matter
whether the days were storm raked
unzipped by lightning streaking clouds
dropping tornadoes that skipped crazy
to their own exploding beat
shooting hailstone death–
that popped like old bones–
crashing into the skulled
sunken eyes of tired old ladies
tired old black ladies
standing on bus stop corners
pain wrapped as shawls around their necks

blue black & bow bent under, beautiful

& “mama” it didn’t matter
that your pained scarred feet overworked
numb legs grew down out of old worn dresses
seemingly fragile, gaunt & skeletal frail
as two old mop sticks–scarecrow legs–
and didn’t matter because you stood there anyway
defying nature’s chameleon weather–
cold as a welldigger’s asshole, then oven-hot–
defying all reason, you stood
there, testifying over 300 years
stretching back, of madness & treason

blue black & bow bent under, beautiful

no, it didn’t matter
because the beauty of your heroic life
grown lovely in twisted swamps
grown lovely in a loveless land
grown pure & full from wombs
of concrete blood & bones
of concrete blood & bones & death
of death & sweat chained to breath
didn’t matter dark proud flower
who stood tall scrubbed by cold
& rain & heat & age carrying
the foreign name given your grandfather–
who swayed body high
twisting & turning in the breeze
like billie’s “strange fruit”–

because you stood there anyway
unforgettably silent in your standing
beautiful work-scarred black lady
numb legs & bow bent under beautiful
stood there on pain-scarred feet overworked
numb legs
& bow bent under beautiful
under the memory of your grandfather swaying high
up there in a burning southern breeze
now sweet music love sings soft tender beauty
deep in your washed aging windows–
& you give me strength
during the mad, bizarre days–

& we have learned to love your life
& will vindicate the pain & silence of your life
the memory of your grandfather with the foreign name
& who sways high up there in history over your legs
blue black & bow bent under beautiful
the weight of over 300 years carried
of blood & bones & death in mud
of breath & sweat chained to death
numb legs & bow bent under beautiful
under the memory of your grandfather
swaying high up there in the burning breeze

didn’t matter whether the weather was flame-tongue-licked
or cold as a welldigger’s asshole in late december
because you stood there anyway
in full bloom of your strength & rare beauty
& made us strong

blue black & bow bent under, beautiful
blue black & bow bent under, beautiful
blue black & bow bent under, beautiful

Quincy Troupe, in The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry, ed. Arnold Rampersad (Oxford 2006)

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From: The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry.
NEW and USED: Abebooks.com The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry
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#BlackHistoryMonth #poem Old People Speak of Death #blacklivesmatter

Quincy Troupe the poet is an amazing black poet, prof and writer for children!

Quincy Troupe feels like home, because he is Emeritus Professor American and Caribbean Literature at the University of California. Anyone who loves Caribbean literature has a special place in my heart.

He is #BlackExcellence: Quincy Troupe publishes Black Renaissance Noire, an academic, cultural, political and literary newspaper co-published by the University of New York through the African studies and the Institute of Afroamerican Issues program/department.

And, and, and… He was co-author along with Miles Davis of Miles: The Autobiography, 1989.

What a fine man!

The Old People Speak of Death,
For Grandmother, Leona Smith
by Quincy Troupe

the old people speak of death
frequently, now
my grandmother speaks of those now
gone to spirit, now
less than bone

they speak of shadows that graced
their days, made lovelier by their wings of light
speak of years & of the corpses of years, of darkness
& of relationships buried
deeper even than residue of bone
gone now, beyond hardness
gone now, beyond form

they smile now from ingrown roots
of beginnings, those who have left us
& climbed back through holes the old folks left
inside their turnstile eyes
for them to pass through

eye walk back now, with this poem
through turnstile-holes the old folks – ancestors – left inside
their tunneling eyes for me to pass through, walk back to where
eye see them there
the ones who have gone beyond hardness
the ones who have gone beyond form
see them there
darker than where roots began
& lighter than where they go
carrying spirits heavier than stone –
their memories sometimes brighter
than the flash of sudden lightning –

& green branches & flowers will grow
from these roots – wearing faces –
darker than time & blacker than even the ashes of nations
sweet music will sprout from these flowers & wave petals
like hands caressing love-stroked language
under sun-tongued mornings –
shadow the light spirit in all our eyes –

they have gone now, back to shadow
as eye climb back out of the holes of these old peoples
eyes, those spirits who sing now through this poem
who have gone now back with their spirits
to fuse with greenness
enter stones & glue their invisible traces
as faces nailed upon the transmigration of earth
their exhausted breath now singing guitar blues
voices blowing winds through white ribcages
of these boned days
gone now back to where
years run, darker than where
roots begin, greener than what
they bring – spring
the old people speak of death
frequently, now
my grandmother speaks of those now
gone to spirit, now
less than bone

 

Quincy Troupe was born in New York , United States , in 1943. Poet, narrator, essayist, college professor. He has published, among other works, the poetry books: Embryo, 1971; Skulls along the River, 1984; Weather Reports: New and Selected Poems, 1991; Avalanche, 1997; Trascircularities; New and Selected Poems, 2002; and more recently, The Architechture of Language. He is Emeritus Professor of creative writing and American and Caribbean Literature at the University of California .

His poetry and prose have been translated into French, Spanish, German, Italian, Russian, Polish and Dutch. He has read his work throughout all the United States as well as in Europe, Africa, Canada , The Caribbean, Mexico and Brazil .

He has published the following books for children: Take it to the hoop, Magic Johnson, based on his popular “Poem for Magic” 2000; Little Stevie 2005 and Hallalujah about old Ray Charles, 2006.”

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From: The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry.
NEW and USED: Abebooks.com The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry
NEW at independent bookstores: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780195125634

#BlackHistoryMonth Walking Down Park by Nikki Giovanni #iNeedFeminismBecause

Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 10.52.07 PM

Walking Down Park

BY NIKKI GIOVANNI

walking down park
amsterdam
or columbus do you ever stop
to think what it looked like
before it was an avenue
did you ever stop to think
what you walked
before you rode
subways to the stock
exchange (we can’t be on
the stock exchange
we are the stock
exchanged)
.
did you ever maybe wonder
what grass was like before
they rolled it
into a ball and called
it central park
where syphilitic dogs
and their two-legged tubercular
masters fertilize
the corners and side-walks
ever want to know what would happen
if your life could be fertilized
by a love thought
from a loved one
who loves you
 .
ever look south
on a clear day and not see
time’s squares but see
tall Birch trees with sycamores
touching hands
and see gazelles running playfully
after the lions
ever hear the antelope bark
from the third floor apartment
 .
ever, did you ever, sit down
and wonder about what freedom’s freedom
would bring
it’s so easy to be free
you start by loving yourself
then those who look like you
all else will come
naturally
 .
ever wonder why
so much asphalt was laid
in so little space
probably so we would forget
the Iroquois, Algonquin
and Mohicans who could caress
the earth
 .
ever think what Harlem would be
like if our herbs and roots and elephant ears
grew sending
a cacophony of sound to us
the parrot parroting black is beautiful black is beautiful
owls sending out whooooo’s making love …
and me and you just sitting in the sun trying
to find a way to get a banana tree from one of the monkeys
koala bears in the trees laughing at our listlessness
 .
ever think its possible
for us to be
happy
 .
.

Nikki Giovanni, “Walking Down Park” from The Selected Poems of Nikki Giovanni. Copyright © 1996 by Nikki Giovanni. Used with the permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Source: The Collected Poems of Nikki Giovanni (2003)

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From: The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry.
NEW and USED: Abebooks.com The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry
NEW at independent bookstores: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780195125634

The Gods Wrote #blacklivesmatter South Africa

THE GODS WROTE
We are breath of drop of rain
Grain of sea sand in the wind
We are root of baobab
Flesh of this soil
Blood of Congo brush elegant
As breast of dark cloud
Or milk flowing through the groaning yearsWe also know
Centuries with the taste
Of white shit down to the spine…The choice is ours
So is the life
The music of our laughter reborn
Tyityimba or boogaloo passion
Of the sun-eyed gods of our blood
Laughs in the nighttime, in the daytime too
And across America vicious cities
Clatter to the ground. Was it notAll written by the gods!
Turn the things! I said
Let them things roll
To the rhythm of our movement
Don’t you know this is a love supreme!
John Coltrane  John Coltrane tell the ancestors
We listened we heard your message
Tell them you gave us tracks to move

Trane and now we know
The choice is ours
So is the mind and the matches too
The choice is ours

So is the beginning
‘We were not made eternally to weep’
The choice is ours
So is the need and the want too
The choice is ours
So is the vision of the day