brothers, who will hold her, who will find her beautiful if you do not? Lucille Clifton. #OscarsSoWhite

song at midnight

brothers,
this big woman
carries much sweetness
in the folds of her flesh.
her hair
is white with wonderful.
she is
rounder than the moon
and far more faithful.
brothers,
who will hold her,
who will find her beautiful
if you do not?

won’t you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on the bridge between
starshine and clay,
my own hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.

Lucille Clifton

.

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

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Snow White was nude at her wedding, she’s so white… #OscarsSoWhite #ThyliasMoss #poetryisjustawesome

Lessons from a Mirror

Snow White was nude at her wedding, she’s so white
the gown seemed to disappear when she put it on.

Put me beside her and the proximity is good
for a study of chiaroscuro, not much else.

Her name aggravates me most, as if I need to be told
what’s white and what isn’t.

Judging strictly by appearance there’s a future for me
forever at her heels, a shadow’s constant worship.

Is it fair for me to live that way, unable
to get off the ground?

Turning the tables isn’t fair unless they keep turning.
Then there’s the danger of Russian roulette

and my disadvantage: nothing falls from the sky
to name me.

I am the empty space where the tooth was, that my tongue
rushes to fill because I can’t stand vacancies.

And it’s not enough. The penis just fills another
gap. And it’s not enough.

When you look at me,
know that more than white is missing.

.

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

About the meaning read this post by Tara Betts: ““Lessons from a Mirror” is from Moss’ third collection. Pyramid of Bone was part of the Callaloo Poetry Series, which published early books by Rita Dove, Brenda Marie Osbey, and Elizabeth Alexander.

Lessons from a Mirror” is a concise gathering of 10 couplets that articulates the contrast between a woman of color and someone who she will never be, Snow White.

[…]

This not only implies a sense of possible servitude but a sense that a shadow, darkness will always be beneath whiteness that

darkness must bow and defer as an underling.

[…]

“And it’s not enough.” To say this, recalls how black people have often had to work much

harder to gain a toehold

similar to counterparts of another race, a toehold that has become increasingly more difficult to gain as shown in recent Pew Research Center study about wealth accumulation and loss in the U.S..

[…]

After revisiting Anne Sexton’s poems in Transformations or Lucille Clifton’s biblical poems many times and looking at recent work like Barbara Jane Reyes’ Diwata, Marjorie Tesser’s The Magic Feather, Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s Miracle Fruit, Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber, and the anthology The Poets’ Grimm, I’m reminded of how necessary

and jarring it is to see

archetypal stories deconstructed, retold, or even replaced with more inclusive stories.”

USED and NEW– books by Tara Betts at abebooks!