Magpies by Judith Wright

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Photos by Patrick Ingremeau and The Wildlife Studio

Along the road the magpies walk

with hands in pockets, left and right.
They tilt their heads, and stroll and talk.
In their well-fitted black and white

they look like certain gentlemen who seem most nonchalant and wise
until their meal is served – and then
what clashing beaks, what greedy eyes!

But not one man that I have heard
throws back his head in such a song
of grace and praise – no man nor bird.
Their greed is brief; their joy is long.
For each is born with such a throat
as thanks his God with every note.

Judith Wright’s poem Magpies

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.

Great Amazon of God behold your bread #poem #blacklivesmatter #malcolmx #blackfuturemonth

Two stanzas from two different poems For Malcolm X and For Mary McLeod Bethune.

Margaret Walker is an incredibly influential writer. She is a poet whose work is fresh and powerful in its conscious pride, its longing, vehement prayers and its direct broken hearted-ness.

From the Poetryfoundation:
“Walker’s first novel, Jubilee, is notable for being “the first truly historical black American novel,” reported Washington Post contributor Crispin Y. Campbell.

It was also the first work by a black writer to speak out for the liberation of the black woman.

The cornerstones of a literature that affirms the African folk roots of black American life, these two books have also been called visionary for looking toward a new cultural unity for black Americans that will be built on that foundation.”

For Mary McLeod Bethune

Believing in the people who are free,
who walk uplifted in an honest way,
you look at last upon another day
that you have fought with God and women to see.
Great Amazon of God behold your bread.
We walk with you and we are comforted.

 

For Malcolm X

Snow-white moslem head-dress around a dead black face!
Beautiful were your sand-papering words against our skins!
Our blood and water pour from your flowing wounds.
You have cut open our breasts and dug scalpels in our brains.
When and Where will another come to take your holy place?
Old man mumbling in his dotage, crying child, unborn?

 

Full poems:

For Mary McLeod Bethune

Great Amazon of God behold your bread
washed home again from many distant seas.
The cup of life you lift contains no less,
no bitterness to mock you. In its stead
this sparkling chalice many souls has fed,
and broken hearted people on their knees
lift up their eyes and suddenly they seize
on living faith, and they are comforted.

Believing in the people who are free,
who walk uplifted in an honest way,
you look at last upon another day
that you have fought with God and men to see.
Great Amazon of God behold your bread.
We walk with you and we are comforted.

—margaret walker, mary mcleod bethune.

 

For Malcolm X

BY MARGARET WALKER

All you violated ones with gentle hearts;
You violent dreamers whose cries shout heartbreak;
Whose voices echo clamors of our cool capers,
And whose black faces have hollowed pits for eyes.
All you gambling sons and hooked children and bowery bums
Hating white devils and black bourgeoisie,
Thumbing your noses at your burning red suns,
Gather round this coffin and mourn your dying swan.
Snow-white moslem head-dress around a dead black face!
Beautiful were your sand-papering words against our skins!
Our blood and water pour from your flowing wounds.
You have cut open our breasts and dug scalpels in our brains.
When and Where will another come to take your holy place?
Old man mumbling in his dotage, crying child, unborn?
More from Poetry foundation:
“Walker’s volume of poetry Prophets for a New Day was published in 1970. She called Prophets for a New Day her civil rights poems…Walker begins the volume with two poems in which the speakers are young children;
one eight-year-old demonstrator eagerly waits to be arrested with her group in the fight for equality, and a second one
is already jailed and wants no bail.
Her point is that these young girls are just as much prophets for a new day as were Nat Turner, Gabriel Prosser, Denmark Vesey, Toussaint L’Ouverture, and John Brown.”

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

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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.

 

#FifteenDogs Dramatis Canes @GillerPrize

.@GDBooks “Dramatis Canes” reads like a poem! Hilarious and interesting. Andre Alexis says: “place is fundamental in fiction.” 

(but wth is up with the eye on top of every i?! odd and bothersome after one sentence. Where is my white-out?).

AGATHA               an old labradoodle

 

ATHENA               a brown teacup Poodle

 

ATTICUS               an imposing Nepolitan Mastiff,
                                       with cascading jowls

 

BELLA                    a Great Dane, Athena’s closest pack mate

 

BENJY                    a resourceful and conniving Beagle

 

BOBBIE                 an unfortunate Duck Toller

 

DOUGIE                a Schnauzer, friend to Benjy

 

FRICK                    a Labrador Retriever

 

FRACK                  a Labrador Retriever, Frick’s litter mate

 

LYDIA                   a Whippet and Weimaraner cross,
                                 tormented and nervous

 

MAJNOUN           a black Poodle, briefly referred to as
                                 ‘Lord Jim’ or simply ‘Jim’

 

MAX                      a mutt who detests poetry

 

PRINCE                a mutt who composes poetry,
                                 also called Russell or Elvis

 

RONALDINHO   a mutt who deplores the condescension
                                 of humans

 

ROSIE                   a German Shephers bitch, close to Atticus
.
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or from an Indie bookstore here

Natalie Diaz It Was The Animals

#

It Was the Animals

BY NATALIE DIAZ

Today my brother brought over a piece of the ark
wrapped in a white plastic grocery bag.
He set the bag on my dining table, unknotted it,
peeled it away, revealing a foot-long fracture of wood.
He took a step back and gestured toward it
with his arms and open palms —
            It’s the ark, he said.
            You mean Noah’s ark? I asked.
            What other ark is there? he answered.
            Read the inscription, he told me,
            it tells what’s going to happen at the end.
            What end? I wanted to know.
            He laughed, What do you mean, “what end”?
            The end end.
Then he lifted it out. The plastic bag rattled.
His fingers were silkened by pipe blisters.
He held the jagged piece of wood so gently.
I had forgotten my brother could be gentle.
He set it on the table the way people on television
set things when they’re afraid those things might blow-up
or go-off — he set it right next to my empty coffee cup.
It was no ark —
it was the broken end of a picture frame
with a floral design carved into its surface.
He put his head in his hands —
            I shouldn’t show you this — 
            God, why did I show her this?
            It’s ancient — O, God,
            this is so old.
            Fine, I gave in, Where did you get it?
            The girl, he said. O, the girl.
            What girl? I asked.
            You’ll wish you never knew, he told me.
I watched him drag his wrecked fingers
over the chipped flower-work of the wood —
            You should read it. But, O, you can’t take it — 
            no matter how many books you’ve read.
He was wrong. I could take the ark.
I could even take his marvelously fucked fingers.
The way they almost glittered.
It was the animals — the animals I could not take —
they came up the walkway into my house,
cracked the doorframe with their hooves and hips,
marched past me, into my kitchen, into my brother,
tails snaking across my feet before disappearing
like retracting vacuum cords into the hollows
of my brother’s clavicles, tusks scraping the walls,
reaching out for him — wildebeests, pigs,
the oryxes with their black matching horns,
javelinas, jaguars, pumas, raptors. The ocelots
with their mathematical faces. So many kinds of goat.
So many kinds of creature.
I wanted to follow them, to get to the bottom of it,
but my brother stopped me —
            This is serious, he said.
            You have to understand.
            It can save you.
So I sat down, with my brother wrecked open like that,
and two-by-two the fantastical beasts
parading him. I sat, as the water fell against my ankles,
built itself up around me, filled my coffee cup
before floating it away from the table.
My brother — teeming with shadows —
a hull of bones, lit only by tooth and tusk,
lifting his ark high in the air.

Source: Poetry (March 2014).

Endnotes on Ciudad Juarez #intersectionality #iNeedFeminismBecause #borders Natalie Scentres-Zapico

Screen Shot 2015-12-12 at 9.25.21 AMPhoto by Dominic Bracco II

Endnotes on Ciudad Juarez

1. The larger portion of this text discusses El Paso, Texas, the boring sister to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

2. There are apartments that feel like they are by the sea, but out the window there is only freeway.

3. The geraniums always wilt either from heat or pollution.

4. El Canelo is the red-headed Mexican boxer that only speaks Spanish.

5. Sometimes the candles are religious, sometimes they are not.

6. The girl from Juarez is beautiful. The girl from Juarez is God.

7. The tortilla border has shanties on one side and trailers on the other.

8. Some call them Fronchis because their license plates read: Fron-Chi for Frontera Chihuahua. Some just call them fresas.

9. Some summers, roaches cross the street and travel home to home like people.

10. Campestre, Anapra, Chavena, Anahuac, Flores Magon, and Independencia are only some of the neighborhoods in Ciudad Juarez.

11. Some streets are lined in wires because it’s so easy to steal electricity.

12. Moxas graffiti walls: mee aamooo!! noo aa laas coopiioonaas!!

13. Some days saliva evaporates from the tongue.

14. The river has become the only blue vein left pulsing on the map.

15. The river is only blue on the map.

An interview with Natalie Scentres-Zapico is done on Blue Mesa Review here!

.

a flier in my hand—

 

a seventeen-year-old girl I knew

her picture splotched with toner.

Her physical description reads

 

like an epitaph looking for its grave.

I let the paper fly again. I know

she is dead.

                                                                                               From “In a Dust Storm”

 

Photo caption: “Youth hang out in the Diaz Ordaz colonia, one of the poorest neighborhoods of Ciudad Juarez. The group hangs out out a lookout above the neighborhood to see if outside gangs are coming to attack or rob them, after they had recieved death threats and a series of violent exchanges between neighborhoods left them nervous.”