Black Poet, White Critic #BlackLivesMatter #poem Dudley Randall

Black Poet, White Critic

A critic advises
not to write on controversial subjects
like freedom or murder,
but to treat universal themes
and timeless symbols
like the white unicorn.

A white unicorn?


Dudley Randall


When I was a child desiring the title of grown-up
And toiling to earn it
In the inferno of the foundry knockout
I watched and admired you working by my side’
As, goggled, with mask on your mouth and shoulders bright
. with sweat,
You mastered the monstrous, lumpish cylinder blocks,
And when they clotted the line and plunged to the floor
With force enough to tear your foot in two,
You calmly stepped aside.

One day when the line broke down and the blocks clogged up
Groaning, grinding, and mounted like an ocean wave
And then rushed thundering down like an avalanche,
And we frantically dodged, then placed our heads together
To form an arch to lift and stack them,
You gave me your highest accolade:
You said, ‘You’re not afraid of sweat. You’re strong as a mule.’

Now, here, in the hospital,
In a ward where old men wait to die,
You sit, and watch time go by.
You cannot read the books I bring, not even
Those that are only picture books,
As you sit among the senile wrecks,
The psychopaths, the incontinent.

One day when you fell from your chair and stared at the air
With the look of fright which sight of death inspires,
I lifted you like a cylinder block, and said,
‘Don’t be afraid
Of a little fall, for you’ll be here
A long time yet, because you’re strong as a mule.’

From: Contemporary American Poetry edited by Donald Hall

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Satchell Paige #BlackLiberationMonth #poem #BlackExcellence Baseball Gd!

Satchell Paige was one of the best pitchers in baseball. Black.

Sometimes I feel like I will *never* stop
Just go on forever
Til one fine mornin’
I’m gonna reach up and grab me a handful stars
Swing out my long lean leg
And whip three hot strikes burnin’ down the heavens
And look over at God and say
How about that!

by Samuel Allen
Black History Month.

Everett Hoagland it matters only that there is black power in your loving #BlackLivesMatter #poem

the rhetoricians of blackness
matters me not
we are black
and you are beautiful

it matters me not whether
your breast are American pumpkin or
African gourds
they are full and you are beautiful

it matters me not be your belly
black or brown
it is soft and you are beautiful

it matters me not be your buttocks
bourgeois or “grass roots”
they are good
and you are beautiful

it matters me not if your bread loaf
thighs are Negro or Afro-American
they are round and so ripe
and you are so beautiful

it matters not whether it is
Victoria falls within your orgasms
instead of Niagara

there is little definition I need
it matters only that there is
black power
in your loving

this I know
you are beautiful
you are beautiful beyond reference
you are the night interpreted
you are

Everett Hoagland ‘the Anti-Semanticist’

Black History Month

Aunt her face a blur of wrinkles & sunshine #poem #BlackLivesMatter by Al Young




She talks too loud, her face
a blur of wrinkles & sunshine
where her hard hair shivers
from laughter like a pine tree
stiff with oil & hotcombing
O & her anger realer than gasoline
slung into fire or lighted mohair
She’s a clothes lover from way back
but her body’s too big to be chic
or on cue so she wear what she want
People just gotta stand back &
take it like they do Easter Sunday when
the rainbow she travels is dry-cleaned
She laughs more than ever in spring
stomping the downtowns, Saturday past
work, looking into JC Penney’s checking
out Sears & bragging about how when she
feel like it she gon lose weight &
give up smoking one of these sorry days
Her eyes are diamonds of pure dark space
& the air flying out of them as you look
close is only the essence of living
to tell, a full-length woman, an aunt
brown & red with stalking the years

Al Young, “Aunt” from The Blues Don’t Change. Copyright © 1982 by Al Young.  Reprinted by permission of Louisiana State University Press.

Source: The Blues Don’t Change (Louisiana State University Press, 1982)

#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.




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.



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:

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#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)



From: The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry.
NEW and USED: The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry
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The Black Unicorn, Audre Lorde.

Migraine morning, so no reading law but reading poetry.

The Black Unicorn

The black unicorn is greedy.
The black unicorn is impatient.
The black unicorn was mistaken
for a shadow or symbol
and taken
through a cold country
where mist painted mockeries
of my fury.
It is not on her lap where the horn rests
but deep in her moonpit
The black unicorn is restless
the black unicorn is unrelenting
the black unicorn is not

NEW and USED: The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry
NEW at independent bookstores:

The Black Unicorn isn’t supposed to be funny, but she makes me smile. I’m not sure: I think the mist means that a token black person is white washed by white friends or fellow academics, writers maybe, a place where she feels bound also by misogyny and emphasizes her power comes from her vag. That’s what I read into it. The black unicorn is powerful.

Quick notes about the poem.

Act Six, After Babel by Peter Goldsworthy. Poems about theatre and sex- Australia.

Act Six

Act six begins
when the curtain falls,
the corpses awake,
the daggers are cleaned.

Act six
is Juliet in the supermarket,
Mr Macbeth on the 8.15.

In act six
Hamlet sucks a tranquilliser,
Romeo washes up.

and death
is gentle and anonymous —
Lear’s respirator
switched discreetly off.

After Babel

I read once of a valley
where men and women
spoke a different tongue.

I know that any uncooked theory
can find its tribe
— but this one might be true.

For us there are three languages
— yours, mine, and the English between,
a wall of noises.

At times our children interpret,
or music connects our moods.
There are monosyllables,

the deeper grammar of fucking,
a language too subjective
for nouns.

But even after conjugation
the tense is still the same
— present imperfect.

We take our mouths from each other.
We carry away our tongues,
and the separate dictionaries of our heads.



The New Oxford Book of Australian Verse, chosen by Les A. Murray

RIP MC Big Bank Hank- rapper Legend! Sugar Hill Gang.

Rest in Peace, Rappers’ Legend, MC Big Bank Hank, of the legendary Sugar Hill Gang. Aged 58.

I remember “Rapper’s Delight”! (not the misogyny or the homophobia that is in there).

“I said a hip hop,
Hippie to the hippie,
The hip, hip a hop, and you don’t stop, a rock it
To the bang bang boogie, say, up jump the boogie,
To the rhythm of the boogie, the beat.
Now, what you hear is not a test – I’m rappin’ to the beat,
And me, the groove, and my friends are gonna try to move your feet.
See, I am Wonder Mike, and I’d like to say hello,
To the black, to the white, the red and the brown,
The purple and yellow…”

Pamela Sneed- Survivor 2014 “the frayed ends of my own un-lived dreams”


Photo by Robert Giard in book “Particular Voices: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Writers”

Pamela Sneed

Survivor 2014 

Contrary to what’s popular I never liked Diana Nyad

in my mind overrated white woman

ex-olympic swimmer most recently swam from Cuba to Florida


thrill seeker


doing voluntarily what so many people of color

are forced to do while attempting to gain freedom

drowning in boats, falling overboard, terrible accidents,

falling into the jaws of sharks, those waters a meat fest

for predators, slavers

Sometimes I think about slavery and think if only those waters

could tell the tale

I’ve always wanted to say to those people who go on the reality-show Survivor for kicks

try being an artist and make it your career choice

or how about a single mother or father trying to raise a family

on minimum wage living in an impoverished area

try being someone who comes to America and

doesn’t speak the language whose entire survival rests upon

learning english

arriving in a strange land, on strange soil, estranged from everything

you have ever known

like hitting your head against a glass door, or mirrors

like optical illusions that used to be in the old fun houses

or how about being uninsured and being sick for a number

of years

weathering that storm

or insured but burdened with a costly illness

health plans don’t cover

or like so many of my students who are bullied to the point

they have nowhere to turn and no longer have knowledge

of their own name

No I never liked Diana Nyad

until one day I caught a clip of her on Ellen

I caught the part where she talked about her friendship

with Superman Christopher Reeve who in real life suffered

paralysis from the neck down.

He looked at her in later years after she’d retired from swimming

said he feared she wasn’t living her own dreams, that

she was an Olympian

And something about her conversations with him motivated her

to try again, to listen.

Maybe through her I saw the frayed ends of my own un-lived dreams,

my own fear that caused paralysis

And so by the end of that conversation with Ellen

where Diana talked about returning to her Olympic Self

by swimming from Cuba to Florida at age 60 challenging

every notion of what it means to be an athlete, a woman,

and the stereotypes of aging I was crying

by the time she looked into the camera and said

Never give up

Don’t ever give up on your dreams


Click to access nepantla.ajournal.pdf

Established in 1970, Glad Day Bookshop is the world’s oldest LGBTQ bookstore and Toronto’s oldest surviving bookstore. In 2012, a group of 23 community members pooled their funds and bought Glad Day Bookshop to save it from closing.

“Our best strategy for survival is adding new revenues streams like food and drink – which means a larger space.
We’ve picked out a great spot on Church Street that would allow us to be a bookstore & coffee shop during the day and a bar at night.
It is wheelchair accessible, with an accessible washroom.

It has a cute patio, a small space for performances and walls for art.

We will be a space where everyone feels welcome, sexy and celebrated.

We will be a queer-owned, indie place on Church Street. We will amplify the love, creativity, sexuality, diversity & liberation that Glad Day Bookshop is known for.”

I am angry for a reason.

In poetry other answers to anger, trying to find some that fit, and enjoying finding new poets, happy with what I find:

Sapphics Against Anger
Angered, may I be near a glass of water;
May my first impulse be to think of Silence,
Its deities (who are they? do, in fact, they
Exist? etc.).

May I recall what Aristotle says of
The subject: to give vent to rage is not to
Release it but to be increasingly prone
To its incursions.

I did not write this poem — in anger. By Joel Dias-Porter

I did not write this poem
in anger,
I did not write this poem
in “Self-Defense.”
I did not write this poem.
Because my pen is empty from
having already written & written this poem.
– Joel Dias-Porter

Minnie Bruce Pratt
Justice, Come Down

I can smell my anger like sulfur-
struck matches. I wanted what had happened
to be a wall to burn, a window to smash.
At my fist the pieces would sparkle and fall.
All would be changed. I would not be alone. […]

From Violence to Peace

…I drove to Felipe’s house,
anger knotted in me
tight as the rope tied
to the stock trailer
steer strained against.
I pulled, but could not free myself. […]

“Felipe!” I yelled, porch light
flicked on, illuminating the yard.
“Came to fight,” I said, “take off
your glasses.” […]

First shot framed darkness round me
with a spillway of bright light,
eruption of sound, and second shot roared
a spray of brilliance and the third
gave an expanded halo-flash.
My legs woozed, and then
I buckled to the ground.
(I thought, holy shit, what ever happened
to the old yard-style fight between estranged friends!) […]

…During my week in bed,
pellets pollinated me
with a forgotten peace,
and between waking thoughts of anger and vengeance,
sleep was a small meadow of light,
a clearing I walked into and rested. Fragrance of peace
filled me as fragrance
of flowers and dirt permeate hands
that work in the garden all day…

“Le sporting-club de Monte Carlo (for Lena Horne)” James Baldwin. Daughter of the thunder!!


REX USA/Sten Rosenlund

Oh, I love these lines! G-d struts a little.

the lady is the apple
of God’s eye:
He’s cool enough about it
but He tends to strut a little
when she passes by


“Le sporting-club de Monte Carlo (for Lena Horne)”

The lady is a tramp

a camp
a lamp

The lady is a sight
a might
a light
the lady devastated
an alley or two
reverberated through the valley
which leads to me, and you

the lady is the apple
of God’s eye:
He’s cool enough about it
but He tends to strut a little
when she passes by

the lady is a wonder
daughter of the thunder
smashing cages
legislating rages
with the voice of ages
singing us through.

Poems about the body: African-American poet, Yusef Komunyakaa.


Poems about the body: African-American poet, Yusef Komunyakaa.

I love my crooked feet
shaped by vanity & work
shoes made to outlast
belief. The hardness
coupling milk it can’t
fashion. I love the lips,
salt & honeycomb on the tongue.
The hair holding off rain
& snow. The white moons
on my fingernails. I love
how everything begs
blood into song & prayer
inside an egg. A ghost
hums through my bones
like Pan’s midnight flute
shaping internal laws
beside a troubled river.
I love this body
made to weather the storm
in the brain, raised
out of the deep smell
of fish & water hyacinth,
out of rapture & the first
regret. I love my big hands.
I love it clear down to the soft
quick motor of each breath,
the liver’s ten kinds of desire
& the kidney’s lust for sugar.
This skin, this sac of dung
& joy, this spleen floating
like a compass needle inside
nighttime, always divining
West Africa’s dusty horizon.
I love the birthmark
posed like a fighting cock
on my right shoulder blade.
I love this body, this
solo & ragtime jubilee
behind the left nipple,
because I know I was born
to wear out at least
one hundred angels.

Poems about The Body. Black poet Sterling A. Brown- Ma Rainey. Will pierce your heart.

Screen Shot 2014-03-09 at 12.35.01 PM
Professor Sterling Brown, Duke Ellington, G Frederick Stanton

Poems about The Body. Black poet Sterling A. Brown- Ma Rainey.

I talked to a fellow, an’ the fellow say,
“She jes’ catch hold of us, somekindaway.
She sang Backwater Blues one day:

‘It rained fo’ days an’ de skies was dark as night,
Trouble taken place in de lowlands at night.

‘Thundered an’ lightened an’ the storm begin to roll
Thousan’s of people ain’t got no place to go.

‘Den I went an’ stood upon some high ol’ lonesome hill,
An’ looked down on the place where I used to live.’

An’ den de folks, dey natchally bowed dey heads an’ cried,
Bowed dey heavy heads, shet dey moufs up tight an’ cried,
An’ Ma lef’ de stage, an’ followed some de folks outside.”

Dere wasn’t much more de fellow say:
She jes’ gits hold of us dataway.