She demands to see mine and momentarily we’re a lopsided star #BlackLivesMatter #poem #iNeedFeminismBecause

Because The Oxford Anthology of African American Poetry is one of the best, most satisfying, fat books of poetry I have, you should go buy it too. Poets get paid and editors get paid and we get more poesie. This leads to joy.

NEW and USED: The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry
NEW at independent bookstores:


After Reading Mickey In The Night Kitchen for the Third Time Before Bed 
Rita Dove

I’m the milk and the milk’s in me!… I’m Mickey!

My daughter spreads her legs
to find her vagina:
hairless, this mistaken
bit of nomenclature
is what a stranger cannot touch
without her yelling. She demands
to see mine and momentarily
we’re a lopsided star
among the spilled toys,
my prodigious scallops
exposed to her neat cameo.

And yet the same glazed
tunnel, layered sequences.
She is three; that makes this
innocent. We’re pink! 
she shrieks, and bounds off.

Every month she wants
to know where it hurts
and what the wrinkled string means
between my legs. This is good blood
I say, but that’s wrong, too.
How to tell her that it’s what makes us —
black mother, cream child.
That we’re in the pink
and the pink’s in us.

Oh, Lucille Clifton… “Listen Children/we have always loved each other” #BlackLivesMatter #ValentinesDay

One of the most beautiful love poems for black children. So much love she has, and so careful to talk simply and direct. No big words, no flowers, chocolate or stars. Lucille Clifton passed away 5 years ago after many years of fighting cancer.

Listen Children

listen children
keep this in the place
you have for keeping
keep it all ways

we have never hated black

we have been ashamed
hopeless tired mad
but always
all ways
we loved us

we have always loved each other
children all ways

pass it on


good times

my daddy has paid the rent
and the insurance man is gone
and the lights is back on
and my uncle brud has hit
for one dollar straight
and they is good times
good times
good times

my mama has made bread
and grampaw has come
and everybody is drunk
and dancing in the kitchen
and singing in the kitchen
of these is good times
good times
good times

oh children think about the
good times


Poem in praise of menstruation

if there is a river
more beautiful than this
bright as the blood
red edge of the moon if
there is a river
more faithful than this
returning each month
to the same delta if there

is a river
braver than this
coming and coming in a surge
of passion, of pain if there is

a river
more ancient than this
daughter of eve
mother of cain and of abel if there is in

the universe such a river if
there is some where water
more powerful than this wild

pray that it flows also
through animals
beautiful and faithful and ancient
and female and brave


The New Yorker remembers one of the great poets, Lucille Clifton!!

A longer, very satisfying, piece that has long lists of what to read for various age groups is at the poetry foundation.

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

You. love yourself: i bleed every month. but do not die. how am i not magic. 5 poems by #NayyirahWaheed #BlackLivesMatter #ValentinesDay

i am mine.
before i am ever anyone else’s.

i fell apart many times.
what does that say about me
i live through

the ocean
can calm itself,
so can you.
are both
salt water
mixed with

the beauty of my people
thick and intricate.
i spend days
to undo my eyes
i can sleep.

she asked ‘you are in love, what does love look like’ to which i replied ‘like everything i’ve ever lost come back to me.

Nayyirah Waheed