Childhood…if you’re Black, Nikki Giovanni #poem #BlackLivesMatter

Nikki-Rosa by Nikki Giovanni

childhood remembrances are always a drag
if you’re Black
you always remember things like living in Woodlawn  
with no inside toilet
and if you become famous or something
they never talk about how happy you were to have
your mother
all to yourself and
how good the water felt when you got your bath
from one of those
big tubs that folk in chicago barbecue in
and somehow when you talk about home
it never gets across how much you
understood their feelings
as the whole family attended meetings about Hollydale
and even though you remember
your biographers never understand
your father’s pain as he sells his stock
and another dream goes
And though you’re poor it isn’t poverty that
concerns you
and though they fought a lot
it isn’t your father’s drinking that makes any difference
but only that everybody is together and you
and your sister have happy birthdays and very good
Christmases
and I really hope no white person ever has cause
to write about me
because they never understand
Black love is Black wealth and they’ll
probably talk about my hard childhood
and never understand that
all the while I was quite happy

Black History Month. From Arnold Rampersad, the Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry.

The Bagel & Rescue The Dead, Ignatow #poem

The Bagel

I stopped to pick up the bagel
rolling away in the wind,
annoyed with myself
for having dropped it
as if it were a portent.
Faster and faster it rolled,
with me running after it
bent low, gritting my teeth,
and I found myself doubled over
and rolling down the street
head over heels, one complete somersault
after another like a bagel
and strangely happy with myself.

 

And this weird, ridiculous, desperate and lovely poem…He sounds so depressed. Obviously  everything that he describes as not being love, can be love. Love of the small things in your day. A commitment not to draw attention to drama- which is fine, if you work through the drama at some point. Anyway. It is interesting to see his muted style.

Rescue the Dead

Finally, to forgo love is to kiss a leaf,
is to let rain fall nakedly upon your head,
is to respect fire,
is to study man’s eyes and his gestures
as he talks,
is to set bread upon the table
and a knife discreetly by,
is to pass through crowds
like a crowd of oneself.
Not to love is to live.

To love is to be led away
into a forest where the secret grave
is dug, singing, praising darkness
under the trees.

To live is to sign your name,
is to ignore the dead,
is to carry a wallet
and shake hands.

To love is to be a fish.
My boat wallows in the sea.
You who are free,
rescue the dead.

—David Ignatow

From: Contemporary American Poetry edited by Donald Hall

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The Shadow People, Francis Ledwidge

Laughing faces in the wild… Some of the images are so lovely.

The Shadow People

[…]

Old lame Bridget says to me,
“It is just your fancy, child.”
She cannot believe I see
Laughing faces in the wild,
Hands that twinkle in the sedge
Bowing at the water’s edge
Where the finny minnows quiver,
Shaping on a blue wave’s ledge
Bubble foam to sail the river.
And the sunny hands to me
Beckon ever, beckon ever.
Oh! I would be wild and free,
And with the shadow people be.

Francis Ledwidge

Oh, better than the minting
. Of a gold-crowned king
Is the safe-kept memory
. Of a lovely thing.

Blanche Jennings Thompson

 
Some One

Some one came knocking
. At my wee, small door;
Someone came knocking;
. I’m sure-sure-sure;
I listened, I opened,
. I looked to left and right,
But nought there was a stirring
. In the still dark night;
Only the busy beetle
. Tap-tapping in the wall,
Only from the forest
. The screech-owl’s call,
Only the cricket whistling
. While the dewdrops fall,
So I know not who came knocking,
. At all, at all, at all.

Walter de la Mare

Night Dancers

Their quick feet pattered on the grass
As light as dewdrops fall.
I saw their shadows on the glass
And heard their voices call.

But when I went out hurrying
To join them, they were gone.
I only found a little ring
Of footprints on the lawn.

Thomas Kennedy

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Ted Joans sings out in love and gladness: “I SEE BLACK PEOPLE/I HEAR BLACK PEOPLE/I SMELL BLACK PEOPLE/I TASTE BLACK PEOPLE/I TOUCH BLACK PEOPLE” #ValentinesDay #BlackLivesMatter

What a talented person… Painter, trumpeter and jazz poet…And revolutionary…

…and repatriate to Timbuktu and later moved to Canada where he died poor “was surviving by reading poetry and selling his personal papers to libraries. He had just completed his “Collaged Autobiography,” a remarkable memoir waiting for the right publisher.” See below for the link on this information.

Andandand short before he died he said:

“So in my rather sorrowful impecunious state, I find myself filled to the beautiful brim with love and with this shared love I continue to live my poem-life.”

Black People by Ted Joans:

I SEE BLACK PEOPLE
I HEAR BLACK PEOPLE
I SMELL BLACK PEOPLE
I TASTE BLACK PEOPLE
I TOUCH BLACK PEOPLE
BLACK PEOPLE IS MY MOMMA
BLACK PEOPLE IS MY DAD
BLACK PEOPLE IS    MY SISTER,BROTHER,UNCLE,AUNT,
.      AND COUSINS
BLACK PEOPLE IS   ALL WE    BLACK PEOPLE    EVER HAD
NOW THAT WE THE BLACK PEOPLE KNOW THAT
WE THE BLACK PEOPLE SHOULD BE GLAD

 

From: My Black Me: A Beginning Book of Black Poetry (A Puffin Poetry Book)
NEW and USED: Abebooks.com My Black Me: A Beginning Book of Black Poetry 
NEW at independent bookstores NEAR you: My Black Me.

Yiddish poetry by Mani Leib and Abraham Reisen!

“Indian Summer,” by Mani Leib

My Indian Summer, like an offering,
Burns into gold and spirals of smoke.
With brown hand, I push my last
Starry ember through the ash.
Night and villages. On moonlit flutes
The crickets play a breaking music on my heart;
In white grass, by blue-washed pickets,
Gourds are yellow like the moon.
Trees —blue, waxen— in cool space shining.
Like candles, upright: men fearful before God.
Sharp in stillness, the fall of a spent leaf.
Even sharper —the worries in my step.
.
.
And by Abraham Reisen “A Song”

The sweetest melody,
Your heart can sing
Keep for your autumn hour,
Not for the spring.

Glad is the blossom time
With its own tune and chime;
Ah, but the sunset day—
Sing it away.
.
.

From: a Treasury of Yiddish Poetry edited by Irving Howe and Liezer Greenberg.
USED and NEW: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=13535919967 

Black History Month: Nikki-Rosa by Nikki Giovanni. Childhood.

Image

Nikki-Rosa by Nikki Giovanni

childhood remembrances are always a drag
if you’re Black
you always remember things like living in Woodlawn
with no inside toilet
and if you become famous or something
they never talk about how happy you were to have
your mother
all to yourself and
how good the water felt when you got your bath
from one of those
big tubs that folk in chicago barbecue in
and somehow when you talk about home
it never gets across how much you
understood their feelings
as the whole family attended meetings about Hollydale
and even though you remember
your biographers never understand
your father’s pain as he sells his stock
and another dream goes
And though you’re poor it isn’t poverty that
concerns you
and though they fought a lot
it isn’t your father’s drinking that makes any difference
but only that everybody is together and you
and your sister have happy birthdays and very good
Christmases
and I really hope no white person ever has cause
to write about me
because they never understand
Black love is Black wealth and they’ll
probably talk about my hard childhood
and never understand that
all the while I was quite happy

Black History Month. From Arnold Rampersad, the Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry.

 

BUY the book:

USED: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?sts=t&tn=oxford+anthology+of+african-american+poetry
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All about chickens- I

Chicken Pig
BY JENNIFER MICHAEL HECHT
It’s like being lost
in the forest, hungry, with a
plump live chicken in your cradling
arms: you want to savage the bird,
but you also want the eggs.

You go weak on your legs.
What’s worse, what you need
most is the companionship,
but you’re too hungry to know that.
That is something you only know after
you’ve been lost a lot and always,

eventually, alit upon
your bird; consumed her
before you’d realized what
a friend she’d been, letting you
sleep-in late on the forest floor
though she herself awoke
at the moment of dawn

and thought of long-lost
rooster voices quaking
the golden straw. She
looks over at you, sleeping,
and what can I tell you, she loves
you, but like a friend.

Eventually, when lost
in a forest with a friendly chicken
you make a point of emerging
from the woods together,
triumphant; her, fat with bugs,
you, lean with berries.

Still, while you yet wander,
you can not resist telling her
your joke:

Guy sees a pig with three legs,
asks the farmer, What gives?
Farmer says, That pig woke
my family from a fire, got us all out.
Says the guy, And lost the leg thereby?
Nope, says the farmer,
Still had all four when he took
a bullet for me when I had
my little struggle with the law.
Guy nods, So that’s where
he lost his paw? Farmer shakes
it off, says, Nah, we fixed him up.
A pause, guy says, So how’d he lose
the leg? Farmer says, Well, hell,
a pig like that
you don’t eat all at once.

Chicken squints. Doesn’t think
it’s funny.