#BlackLivesMatter #poem “You is kind,” she say, “you is smart. You is important.”

Last page of The Help.

 

And then she say it, just like I need her to. “You is kind,” she say, “you is smart. You is important.”

But at the same time feeling, in a way, that I’m free, like Minny. Freer than Miss Leefolt, who so locked up in her own head she don’t recognize herself when she read it…

I head down the hot sidewalk at eight thirty in the morning wondering what I’m on do with the rest a my day. The rest a my life. I am shaking and crying and a white lady walk by frowning at me. The paper gone pay me ten dolars a week, there’s the book money plus a little more coming. Still it ain’t enough for me to the rest a my life on…

The sun is bright but my eyes wide open. I stand at the bus stop like I been doing for forty-odd years. In thirty minutes, my whole life’s …done. Maybe I ought to keep writing, not just for the paper, but something else, about all the people I know and the things I seen and done. Maybe I ain’t too old to start over, I think and I laugh and cry at the same time at this. Cause just last night I thought I was finished with everything new.

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Charles Bukowski on a white cross-eyed tailless cat

The History Of One Tough Motherfucker. When poetry is just the best thing ever… The final word on cross-eyed,
shot, runover de-tailed cats. The only words probably because most people would not write about cats that have come back from the dead. I should take a look before I state that so positively of course: for all I know there is a cannon of poetry on this range of cats.

By Charles Bukowski

he came to the door one night wet thin beaten and
terrorized
a white cross-eyed tailless cat
I took him in and fed him and he stayed
grew to trust me until a friend drove up the driveway
and ran him over

I took what was left to a vet who said,”not much
chance…give him these pills…his backbone
is crushed, but is was crushed before and somehow
mended, if he lives he’ll never walk, look at
these x-rays, he’s been shot, look here, the pellets
are still there…also, he once had a tail, somebody
cut it off…”

I took the cat back, it was a hot summer, one of the
hottest in decades, I put him on the bathroom
floor, gave him water and pills, he wouldn’t eat, he
wouldn’t touch the water, I dipped my finger into it
and wet his mouth and I talked to him, I didn’t go any-
where, I put in a lot of bathroom time and talked to
him and gently touched him and he looked back at
me with those pale blue crossed eyes and as the days went
by he made his first move
dragging himself forward by his front legs
(the rear ones wouldn’t work)
he made it to the litter box
crawled over and in,
it was like the trumpet of possible victory
blowing in that bathroom and into the city, I
related to that cat-I’d had it bad, not that
bad but bad enough

one morning he got up, stood up, fell back down and
just looked at me.
“you can make it,” I said to him.
he kept trying, getting up falling down, finally
he walked a few steps, he was like a drunk, the
rear legs just didn’t want to do it and he fell again, rested,
then got up.

you know the rest: now he’s better than ever, cross-eyed
almost toothless, but the grace is back, and that look in
his eyes never left…
and now sometimes I’m interviewed, they want to hear about
life and literature and I get drunk and hold up my cross-eyed,
shot, runover de-tailed cat and I say,”look, look
at this!”
but they don’t understand, they say something like,”you
say you’ve been influenced by Celine?”
“no,” I hold the cat up,”by what happens, by
things like this, by this, by this!”
I shake the cat, hold him up in
the smoky and drunken light, he’s relaxed he knows…
it’s then that the interviews end
although I am proud sometimes when I see the pictures
later and there I am and there is the cat and we are photo-
graphed together.
he too knows it’s bullshit but that somehow it all helps.

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
– http://www.howard.edu/msrc/treasures_howardiana_vips-honorees.html

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.

23_huarchives_sterling_brown

Black History Month-poetry: A Dance for Ma Rainey by Al Young.

Image

A Dance for Ma Rainey

I’m going to be just like you, Ma
Rainey this monday morning
clouds puffing up out of my head
like those balloons
that float above the faces of white people
in the funny papers

[…]

A Dance for Ma Rainey by Al Young

I’m going to be just like you, Ma
Rainey this monday morning
clouds puffing up out of my head
like those balloons
that float above the faces of white people
in the funny papers

I’m going to hover in the corners
of the world, Ma
& sing from the bottom of hell
up to the tops of high heaven
& send out scratchless waves of yellow
& brown & that basic black honey
misery

I’m going to cry so sweet
& so low
& so dangerous,
Ma,
that the message is going to reach you
back in 1922
where you shimmer
snaggle-toothed
perfumed &
powdered
in your bauble beads
hair pressed & tied back
throbbing with that sick pain
I know
& hide so well
that pain that blues
jives the world with
aching to be heard
that downness
that bottomlessness
first felt by some stolen delta nigger
swamped under with redblooded american agony;
reduced to the sheer shit
of existence
that bred
& battered us all,
Ma,
the beautiful people
our beautiful brave black people
who no longer need to jazz
or sing to themselves in murderous vibrations
or play the veins of their strong tender arms
with needles
to prove that we’re still here