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

Aunt

Image

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)

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#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.

#Blacklivesmatter #Harlem Baby Cobina by Gladys May Casely Hayford

 

laluah

Baby Cobina

Brown Baby Cobina, with his large black velvet eyes,
His little coos of ecstacies, his gurgling of surprise,
With brass bells on his ankles, that laugh where’er he goes,
It’s so rare for bells to tinkle, above brown dimpled toes.

Brown Baby Cobina is so precious that we fear
Something might come and steal him, when we grown-ups are not near;
So we tied bells on his ankles, and kissed on them this charm —
” Bells, guard our Baby Cobina from all devils and all harm. ”

Gladys May Casely Hayford (Aquah LaLuah)

From: “Caroling Dusk: an Anthology of Verse by Black Poets.” Edited by Countee Cullen.

NEW and USED: Abebooks.com Caroling Dusk
NEW at independent bookstores NEAR you: Caroling Dusk

Other reading:

Wall, Cheryl. Women of the Harlem Renaissance. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995.

Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn B. Bennett and Gladys May Casely Hayford: poems for #BlackOutFriday

‪#‎BlackOutFriday‬ poems.

Dream variation

To fling my arms wide
In some place of the sun,
To whirl and to dance
Till the white day is done.
Then rest at cool evening
Beneath a tall tree
While dark night comes on gently,
…Dark like me,—
That is my dream!

To fling my arms wide
In the face of the sun,
Dance! whirl! whirl!
Till the quick day is done.
Rest at pale evening. …
A talk, slim tree. …
Night coming tenderly
… Black like me.

Langston Hughes.

1955536

Photo: New York public Library, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

Hatred

I shall hate you
Like a dart of singing steel
Shot through still air
At even-tide,
Or solemnly
As pines are sober
When they stand etched
Against the sky.
Hating you shall be a game
Played with cool hands
And slim fingers.
Your heart will yearn
For the lonely splendor
Of the pine tree
While rekindled fires
In my eyes
Shall wound you like swift arrows.
Memory will lay its hands
Upon your breast
And you will understand
My hatred.

Gwendolyn B. Bennett

 

laluah

Baby Cobina

Brown Baby Cobina, with his large black velvet eyes,
His little coos of ecstacies, his gurgling of surprise,
With brass bells on his ankles, that laugh where’er he goes,
It’s so rare for bells to tinkle, above brown dimpled toes.

Brown Baby Cobina is so precious that we fear
Something might come and steal him, when we grown-ups are not near;
So we tied bells on his ankles, and kissed on them this charm —
” Bells, guard our Baby Cobina from all devils and all harm. ”

Gladys May Casely Hayford (Aquah LaLuah)

From: “Caroling Dusk: an Anthology of Verse by Black Poets.” Edited by Countee Cullen.

NEW and USED: Abebooks.com Caroling Dusk
NEW at independent bookstores NEAR you: Caroling Dusk

Other reading:

Wall, Cheryl. Women of the Harlem Renaissance. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995.