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.

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#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

Mary’s Song by Sylvia Plath #Wintersolstice #Shoah #Holocaust

image-4737610Mary’s Song

The Sunday lamb cracks in its fat.
The fat
Sacrifices its opacity. . . .A window, holy gold.
The fire makes it precious,
The same fireMelting the tallow heretics,
Ousting the Jews.
Their thick palls floatOver the cicatrix of Poland, burnt-out
Germany.
They do not die.Grey birds obsess my heart,
Mouth-ash, ash of eye.
They settle.  On the high

Precipice
That emptied one man into space
The ovens glowed like heavens, incandescent.

It is a heart,
This holocaust I walk in,
O golden child the world will kill and eat.

 

Sylvia Plath
 Buy the Faber Book of 20th Century Women’s Poetry, ed. Fleur Adcock, from an indie bookseller here.

 

 

 

 

#wintersolstice Sheep in Fog by Sylvia Plath #iNeedFeminismBecause

Sheep In Fog

The hills step off into whiteness.
People or stars
Regard me sadly, I disappoint them.

The train leaves a line of breath.
O slow
Horse the colour of rust,

Hooves, dolorous bells –
All morning the
Morning has been blackening,

A flower left out.
My bones hold a stillness, the far
Fields melt my heart.

They threaten
To let me through to a heaven
Starless and fatherless, a dark water.

sylvia Plath

image

photos by:

Buy the Faber Book of 20th Century Women’s Poetry, ed. Fleur Adcock, from an indie bookseller here.

“Is Spot in Heaven?” David Kirby

1410792_10201773201145672_1092475997_oBest American Poetry 2015 (Sherman Alexie ed) is very disappointing- 5 good poems. 4 women, 1 man. This one is fabulous.
The others: It Was The Animals by Natalie Diaz; Endnotes on Ciudad Juarez by Natalie Scentres-Zapico; Goodness in Mississippi by LaWanda Walters; Dear Black Barbie by Candace G. Wiley.

“Is Spot in Heaven?” David Kirby

In St. Petersburg, Sasha points and says, “they’re restorating
this zoo building because someone is giving the zoo an elephant
and the building is not enough big, so they are restorating it,”

So I say, “Wheres, um, the elephant?” and Sasha says,
“The elephant is waiting somewhere! How should I know!”
When I was six, my dog was Spot, a brindled terrier

with the heart of a lion, though mortal, in the end, like all
of us, and when he died, I said to Father Crifasi, “/is Spot in heaven?” and he laughed and asked me if I were really

that stupid, insinuating that he, holy father of the church,
had the inside track on heaven entry, knew where
the back stairs were, had mastered the secret handshake.

Later we saw a guy with a bear, and I said, “Look a bear!”
and Sasha said, “Ah, the poor bear! Yes, you can have your
picture with this one, if you like,” but by then I didn’t want to.

Who is in heaven? God, of course, Jesus and his mother,
and the more popular saints: Peter, Michael, the various
Johns, Jospehs, and Catherines. But what about the others?

If Barsanuphius, Frideswide, and Jutta of Kulmsee,
why not Spot or the elephant or the bear when it dies?
Even a pig or a mouse has a sense of itself, said Leonard

Wolff, who applied this idea to politics, saying no single
creature is important on a global scale, though a politics that recognizes individual selves is the only one that offers

a hope for a future. Pets are silly, but the only world
worth living in is one that doesn’t think so. As to the world
beyond this one, as Sam Cooke says, I’m tired of living

But afraid to die because I don’t know what’s coming next.
I do know Spot was always glad to see me, turning,
himself inside out with joy when I came home from school,

wears Father Crifasi took no delight at the sight of me
or anyone, the little pleasure that sometimes hovered
about his lips falling out of his face like the spark from

his cigarette when the door to the classroom opened
and we boys filed in as slowly as we could. Those
years are covered as by a mist now, the heads of my parents

and friends breaking through like statues in the square
in a foreign city as the sun comes over my shoulder
and the night creeps down cobblestoned streets toward

The future I can’t see, though across the river, it’s still dark,
but already you can hear the animals stirring:
the first birds, then an elephant, a bear, a little dog.

From The Cincinnati Review

 Buy from an Indie bookstore here 

When you long for warmth… Poems about fire – I

When you are old- William Butler Yeats
WHEN you are old and gray and full of sleep 
And nodding by the fire, take down this book, 
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look 
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep; 

How many loved your moments of glad grace, 
And loved your beauty with love false or true; 
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you, 
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.
 
And bending down beside the glowing bars, 
Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled 
And paced upon the mountains overhead, 
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.


Burning Drift- John Greenleaf Whittier

Before my drift-wood fire I sit, 
And see, with every piece I burn, 
Old dreams and fancies coloring it, 
And folly's unlaid ghosts return.
... 
O ships of mine, whose swift keels cleft 
The enchanted sea on which they sailed,
...
Did I not watch from them the light 
Of sunset on my towers in Spain,
...
Did sudden lift of fog reveal 
...
Have I not drifted hard upon 
...
Did land winds blow from jasmine flowers, 
...
And find in Bagdad's moonlit street, 
Haroun al Raschid walking yet
...
Dear souls who left us lonely here, 
Bound on their last, long voyage, to whom 
We, day by day, are drawing near, 
Where every bark has sailing room.
I know the solemn monotone 
Of waters calling unto me; 
I know from whence the airs have blown 
That whisper of the Eternal Sea.
 

As low my fires of drift-wood burn, 
I hear that sea's deep sounds increase, 
And, fair in sunset light, discern 
Its mirage-lifted Isles of Peace.


Shelley- To a sky lark

Higher still and higher 
From the earth thou springest, 
Like a cloud of fire 
The blue deep thou wingest, 
And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.
 10 

In the golden lightning 
Of the sunken sun, 
O'er which clouds are bright'ning, 
Thou dost float and run, 
Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun.
 15 

The pale purple even 
Melts around thy flight; 
Like a star of heaven 
In the broad daylight, 
Thou art unseen, but yet I hear thy shrill delight¡ 20 

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