#idlenomore Nourishing terrains poetry: Tony Birch and aboriginal city dwelling. Deborah Bird Rose writes.

Deborah Bird Rose says: “Some urban poets and songwriters speak of the cityscapes which form the sig- nificant places of their lives, and for those whose home country has been overtaken by a metropolis, their creative expression forms powerful links in the continuity of Aboriginal life in Australia.”

Tony Birch

Ladies’ Lounge
straddled across
laminex chairs
dragged from kitchens
into the warm streets
these women
would drink shandies
and smoke cork-tips
while the Hit Parade
drifted from the verandah
we would sit along
the bluestone gutter
listening to our mothers
singing Cilla Black
they would do nails
brush hair and
touch each other
in a late afternoon
summer sun

Read further: http://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/62db1069-b7ec-4d63-b9a9-991f4b931a60/files/nourishing-terrains.pdf

Old #Transit poem by famous Canadian poet Margaret Avinson

Transit

Blowing hard at the bus stop: southbound, NW corner.
Barometer falling.
Stars falling, but in that
blue sky who marks it, they fall all over out there.

Wind’s off the Barren Straits.
But the sun is blowing too.
Rearing high out of the nest snakeheads flap in it till the
tear ducts crackle.

The whole geste unrolls; black cars,
poles, black-and-white headlines,
dentist’s floss, wire mesh,
heads spinning, and
a thorn needle for every solitary tune even though there’s no
automatic arm. And it’s
all plugged in
and everything is coming.
But the bus isn’t coming.

Noon keeps swallowing.

The Find…Francis Ledwidge

From Blanche Jennings Thompson’s comments: “It was a little Irish boy who made a flute for himself out of a reed and played a fairy tune. What do you think he found in the fairy ring?”

This poem takes me immediately to the quiet and the hill…

The Find

I took a reed and blew a tune,
And sweet it was and very clear
To be about a little thing
That only few hold dear.

Three times the cuckoo named himself,
But nothing heard him on the hill,
Where I was piping like an elf
The air was very still.

‘Twas all about a little thing
I made a mystery of sound,
I found it in a fairy ring
Upon a fairy mound.
Francis Ledwidge

Buy All The Silver Pennies from an Indie bookstore 🙂 here 

 

Hold on onto life. Love. “For Black Poets Who Think of Suicide” Etheridge Knight #ValentinesDay #BlackLivesMatter

For Black Poets
Who Think of Suicide

Black Poets should live — not leap
From steel bridges (Like the white boys do.
Black poets should live — not lay
Their necks on railroad tracks (like the white boys do.
Black Poets should seek — but not search too much
In sweet dark caves, not hunt for snipe
Down psychic trails (like the white boys do.

For Black Poets belong to Black People. Are
The Flutes of Black Lovers. Are
The Organs of Black Sorrows. Are
The Trumpets of Black Warriors.
Let All Black Poets die as trumpets,
And be buried in the dust of marching feet.

Etheridge Knight

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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

Black man: I’m a black man; I’m black; I am— A black man; black— I’m a black man; I’m a black man; I’m a man; black— I am— #OscarsSoWhite, Michael S. Harper, jazz poetry.

Brother John

Black man:
I’m a black man;
I’m black; I am—
A black man; black—
I’m a black man;
I’m a black man;
I’m a man; black—
I am—

Bird, buttermilk bird—
smack, booze and bitches
I am Bird
baddest night dreamer
on sax in the ornithology-world
I can fly–higher, high, higher
I’m a black man;
I am; I’m a black man—

Miles, blue haze,
Miles high, another bird,
more Miles, mute,
Mute Miles, clean,
bug-eyed, unspeakable,
Miles, sweet Mute,
sweat Miles, black Miles;
I’m a black man;
I’m black; I am;
I’m a black man—

Trane, Coltrane; John coltrane;
it’s tranetime; chase the Trane;
it’s a slow dance;
it’s the Trane
in Alabama; acknowledgment,
a love supreme,
it’s black Trane; black;
I’m a black man; I’m black—
I am, I’m a black man—

Brother John, Brother John
plays no instrument;
he’s a black man; black;
he’s a black man; he is
Brother John; Brother John—

I’m a black man; I am;
black; I am; I’m a black
man; I am; I am;
I’m a black man;
I’m a black man;
I am; I’m a black man;
I am:

.
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Read more about this poem and jazz poetry here.

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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

Poetry books by Michael S. Harper:
NEW and USED: Dear John, dear Coltrane and Images of KinAbebookds.com

Yusef Komunyakaa and God.

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Photo: True Groove Records

Interesting spiritual lines, (more beautiful in the poem, so read it all). Yusef Komunyakaa’s first book was the christian bible, and he was a black muslim for some time. The cadence of the bible drew him closer to the texture of language. Komunyakaa is the last name of one of his grandfathers before becoming enslaved and given the name of his owner.

Komunyakaa considered desertion due to his opposition of the Vietnam war; however, he remained in the service in order to “bear witness.”

“Someone could stand here
contemplating the future, leafing
through torn pages of St. Augustine
or the prophecies by fishermen,…

& till the church-steeple birds
fly sweet darkness home.
Whoever this friend or lover is,
he intones redemptive harmonies.

To lie down in remembrance
is to know each of us is a prodigal
son or daughter, looking out beyond land
& sky,

the mind comes back to rest,
stretching out over the white sand.”

 

ISLANDS
For Derek Walcott
An island is one great eye
gazing out, a beckoning lighthouse,
searchlight, a wishbone compass,
or counterweight to the stars.
When it comes to outlook & point
of view, a figure stands on a rocky ledge
peering out toward an archipelago
of glass on the mainland, a seagull’s
wings touching the tip of a high wave,
out to where the brain may stumble.But when a mind climbs down
from its high craggy lookout
we know it is truly a stubborn thing,
& has to leaf through pages of dust
& light, through pre-memory & folklore,
remembering fires roared down there
till they pushed up through the seafloor
& plumes of ash covered the dead
shaken awake worlds away, & silence
filled up with centuries of waiting.

Sea urchin, turtle, & crab
came with earthly know-how,
& one bird arrived with a sprig in its beak,
before everything clouded with cries,
a millennium of small deaths now topsoil
& seasons of blossoms in a single seed.
Light edged along salt-crusted stones,
across a cataract of blue water,
& lost sailors’ parrots spoke of sirens,
the last words of men buried at sea.

Someone could stand here
contemplating the future, leafing
through torn pages of St. Augustine
or the prophecies by fishermen,
translating spore & folly down to taproot.
The dreamy-eyed boy still in the man,
the girl in the woman, a sunny forecast
behind today, but tomorrow’s beyond
words. To behold a body of water
is to know pig iron & mother wit.

Whoever this figure is,
he will soon return to dancing
through the aroma of dagger’s log,
ginger lily, & bougainvillea,
between chants & strings struck
till gourds rally the healing air,
& till the church-steeple birds
fly sweet darkness home.
Whoever this friend or lover is,
he intones redemptive harmonies.

To lie down in remembrance
is to know each of us is a prodigal
son or daughter, looking out beyond land
& sky, the chemical & metaphysical
beyond falling & turning waterwheels
in the colossal brain of damnable gods,
a Eureka held up to the sun’s blinding eye,
born to gaze into fire. After conquering
frontiers, the mind comes back to rest,
stretching out over the white sand.

The African Burial Ground

They came as Congo, Guinea, & Angola,
feet tuned to rhythms of a thumb piano.
They came to work fields of barley & flax,

livestock, stone & slab, brick & mortar,
to make wooden barrels, some going
from slave to servant & half-freeman.

They built tongue & groove— wedged
into their place in New Amsterdam.
Decades of seasons changed the city

from Dutch to York, & dream-footed
hard work rattled their bones.
They danced Ashanti. They lived

& died. Shrouded in cloth, in cedar
& pine coffins, Trinity Church
owned them in six & a half acres

of sloping soil. Before speculators
arrived grass & weeds overtook
what was most easily forgotten,

& tannery shops drained there.
Did descendants & newcomers
shoulder rock & heave loose gravel

into the landfill before building crews
came, their guitars & harmonicas
chasing away ghosts at lunch break?

Soon, footsteps of lower Manhattan
strutted overhead, back & forth
between old denials & new arrivals,

going from major to minor pieties,
always on the go. The click of heels
the tap of a drum awaking the dead.

RIP MC Big Bank Hank- rapper Legend! Sugar Hill Gang.

Rest in Peace, Rappers’ Legend, MC Big Bank Hank, of the legendary Sugar Hill Gang. Aged 58.

I remember “Rapper’s Delight”! (not the misogyny or the homophobia that is in there).

“I said a hip hop,
Hippie to the hippie,
The hip, hip a hop, and you don’t stop, a rock it
To the bang bang boogie, say, up jump the boogie,
To the rhythm of the boogie, the beat.
Now, what you hear is not a test – I’m rappin’ to the beat,
And me, the groove, and my friends are gonna try to move your feet.
See, I am Wonder Mike, and I’d like to say hello,
To the black, to the white, the red and the brown,
The purple and yellow…”