Childhood…if you’re Black, Nikki Giovanni #poem #BlackLivesMatter

Nikki-Rosa by Nikki Giovanni

childhood remembrances are always a drag
if you’re Black
you always remember things like living in Woodlawn  
with no inside toilet
and if you become famous or something
they never talk about how happy you were to have
your mother
all to yourself and
how good the water felt when you got your bath
from one of those
big tubs that folk in chicago barbecue in
and somehow when you talk about home
it never gets across how much you
understood their feelings
as the whole family attended meetings about Hollydale
and even though you remember
your biographers never understand
your father’s pain as he sells his stock
and another dream goes
And though you’re poor it isn’t poverty that
concerns you
and though they fought a lot
it isn’t your father’s drinking that makes any difference
but only that everybody is together and you
and your sister have happy birthdays and very good
Christmases
and I really hope no white person ever has cause
to write about me
because they never understand
Black love is Black wealth and they’ll
probably talk about my hard childhood
and never understand that
all the while I was quite happy

Black History Month. From Arnold Rampersad, the Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry.

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For the love of words. And the freedom to love.

bettsxr-dwayne-betts

Photo by H. Darr Beiser. Photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths!

About his being locked up as an “adult” as a 16 year old in a men’s prison.

dwayne-betts

Photo by Gesi Schilling.

“For you: anthophilous, lover of flowers”

BY REGINALD DWAYNE BETTS

.
For you: anthophilous, lover of flowers,
green roses, chrysanthemums, lilies: retrophilia,
philocaly, philomath, sarcophilous—all this love,
of the past, of beauty, of knowledge, of flesh; this is
catalogue & counter: philalethist, negrophile, neophile.
A negro man walks down the street, taps Newport
out against a brick wall & stares at you. Love
that: lygophilia, lithophilous. Be amongst stones,
amongst darkness. We are glass house. Philopornist,
philotechnical. Why not worship the demimonde?
Love that—a corner room, whatever is not there,
all the clutter you keep secret. Palaeophile,
ornithophilous: you, antiquarian, pollinated by birds.
All this a way to dream green rose petals on the bed you love;
petrophilous, stigmatophilia: live near rocks, tattoo hurt;
for you topophilia: what place do you love? All these words
for love (for you), all these ways to say believe
in symphily, to say let us live near each other.
.
.
About his being locked up as an “adult” as a 16 year old in a men’s prison.
.
.
Tax cuts mean less time to read, fewer hours of access per month in the prison library- no they can’t go every day. Please.
Your tax cuts take humanity away from other persons.
.
Your tax cuts mean no time for therapy, no time to prepare for the living world, no time to better yourself, no strength to stay away, no better neighbourhood to return to, no vote. No voice.
.
And yes, everyone deserves to be heard, even if you sold coke or weed (that’s what the majority of black men are in prison for) or killed someone or defrauded thousands of people or paid your employees too little. They are people.
.
You have done wrong. Everybody has skeletons. If you’ve done your time, you should be given all your rights back.
.
Anyway.

Urban Haikus II

The birds have arrived
The birdfeeder is empty
Squirrel runs away

A cat named Panda
Cute, but don’t let that fool you –
He killed a squirrel!

— Talib

house across the street
silent and empty-
bank owns it

red leaves fluttering
skittering across the lawn-
broken toys 

Michael Pruchnicki

 

Jasmine scent lingers –
Although not in a garden
But a moving train

–Talib

The Harsh Morning Headache,
The Sweet Smell Of Summer Air,
Stop drinking and smoking man, it’ll kill you.

Krystian Szastok

 

 

We Aint Got No Money Honey But We Got Rain! Charles Bukowski.

We Aint Got No Money Honey But We Got Rain!

I particularly remember the rains of the 
depression era.
there wasn’t any money but there was
plenty of rain.

and the jobless men stood
looking out the windows
at the old machines dying
like living things out there.
the jobless men,
failures in a failing time
were imprisoned in their houses with their
wives and children
and their
pets.

“I’ll kill you,” I screamed
at him. “You hit her again
and I’ll kill you!”
“Get that son-of-a-bitching
kid out of here!”
“no, Henry, you stay with
your mother!”
all the households were under 
seige but I believe that ours
held more terror than the
average.
and at night
as we attempted to sleep
the rains still came down
and it was in bed
in the dark
watching the moon against 
the scarred window
so bravely
holding out 
most of the rain,
I thought of Noah and the
Ark
and I thought, it has come
again.
we all thought
that.
and then, at once, it would 
stop.
and it always seemed to 
stop
around 5 or 6 a.m.,
peaceful then,
but not an exact silence
because things continued to
drip
drip
drip

the the recess bells rang 
and we all waited for the 
fun.
then Mrs. Sorenson told us:
“now, what we are going to
do is we are going to tell
each other what we did 
during the rainstorm!
we’ll begin in the front row
and go right around!
now, Michael, you’re first!. . .”
well, we all began to tell
our stories, Michael began
and it went on and on,
and soon we realized that
we were all lying, 

one boy said he stuck
his fishing pole
out the window
and caught a little
fish
and fed it to his
cat.
almost everybody told
a lie.
the truth was just
too awful and
embarassing to tell.
then the bell rang
and recess was 
over.

Charles Bukowski

Link

Sindiwe Magona on Nelson Mandela

Black South African poet, Sindiwe Magona reads her poem The Taste of Change -about Mandela.

She worked as a help, got her secondary school diploma through correspondence, Columbia University later on, worked for the UN.

The Taste of Change 

Mandela in jail No milk in my body
Mother at work I hungry

De Klerk free Mandela No milk in my body
Father at work I sick 

Mandela meets De Klerk People clap and dance
Rain come through my roof I cold

Change on every lip Father Mother and Me 
and Thousands others We die