#BlackHistoryMonth #poem Old People Speak of Death #blacklivesmatter

Quincy Troupe the poet is an amazing black poet, prof and writer for children!

Quincy Troupe feels like home, because he is Emeritus Professor American and Caribbean Literature at the University of California. Anyone who loves Caribbean literature has a special place in my heart.

He is #BlackExcellence: Quincy Troupe publishes Black Renaissance Noire, an academic, cultural, political and literary newspaper co-published by the University of New York through the African studies and the Institute of Afroamerican Issues program/department.

And, and, and… He was co-author along with Miles Davis of Miles: The Autobiography, 1989.

What a fine man!

The Old People Speak of Death,
For Grandmother, Leona Smith
by Quincy Troupe

the old people speak of death
frequently, now
my grandmother speaks of those now
gone to spirit, now
less than bone

they speak of shadows that graced
their days, made lovelier by their wings of light
speak of years & of the corpses of years, of darkness
& of relationships buried
deeper even than residue of bone
gone now, beyond hardness
gone now, beyond form

they smile now from ingrown roots
of beginnings, those who have left us
& climbed back through holes the old folks left
inside their turnstile eyes
for them to pass through

eye walk back now, with this poem
through turnstile-holes the old folks – ancestors – left inside
their tunneling eyes for me to pass through, walk back to where
eye see them there
the ones who have gone beyond hardness
the ones who have gone beyond form
see them there
darker than where roots began
& lighter than where they go
carrying spirits heavier than stone –
their memories sometimes brighter
than the flash of sudden lightning –

& green branches & flowers will grow
from these roots – wearing faces –
darker than time & blacker than even the ashes of nations
sweet music will sprout from these flowers & wave petals
like hands caressing love-stroked language
under sun-tongued mornings –
shadow the light spirit in all our eyes –

they have gone now, back to shadow
as eye climb back out of the holes of these old peoples
eyes, those spirits who sing now through this poem
who have gone now back with their spirits
to fuse with greenness
enter stones & glue their invisible traces
as faces nailed upon the transmigration of earth
their exhausted breath now singing guitar blues
voices blowing winds through white ribcages
of these boned days
gone now back to where
years run, darker than where
roots begin, greener than what
they bring – spring
the old people speak of death
frequently, now
my grandmother speaks of those now
gone to spirit, now
less than bone

 

Quincy Troupe was born in New York , United States , in 1943. Poet, narrator, essayist, college professor. He has published, among other works, the poetry books: Embryo, 1971; Skulls along the River, 1984; Weather Reports: New and Selected Poems, 1991; Avalanche, 1997; Trascircularities; New and Selected Poems, 2002; and more recently, The Architechture of Language. He is Emeritus Professor of creative writing and American and Caribbean Literature at the University of California .

His poetry and prose have been translated into French, Spanish, German, Italian, Russian, Polish and Dutch. He has read his work throughout all the United States as well as in Europe, Africa, Canada , The Caribbean, Mexico and Brazil .

He has published the following books for children: Take it to the hoop, Magic Johnson, based on his popular “Poem for Magic” 2000; Little Stevie 2005 and Hallalujah about old Ray Charles, 2006.”

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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

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Song Cycle of the Moon Bone, Wonguri-Mandjigai people. #nativelivesmatter #LifeLivedLikeaStory 1/3

Song Cycle of the Moon Bone

…The prawn is there, at the place of the Dugong, digging out mud with its claws
The hard-shelled prawn living there in the water, making soft little noises.

They are sitting about the camp, among the branches, along the
.        back of the camp;
sitting along in lines in the camp, they’re in the shade of the paperbark
.        trees:
sitting along in a line, like the new white spreading clouds;
In the shade of the paperbarks, they’re sitting like resting clouds.
People of the clouds, living there like the mist; like the mist sitting
.        resting with arms on knees,
In here towards the shade, in this Place, in the shadow of paperbarks.
Sitting there in rows, those Wonguri-Mandjigai people, paperbarks
.        along like a cloud.
Living on cycad-nut bread; sitting there with white-stained fingers,
Sitting in there resting, those people of the Sandfly clan…
Sitting there like mist, at that place of the Dugong… And of the
.        Dugongs Entrails…
Sitting resting there in the place of the Dugong…
In the place of the Moonlight Clay Pans, and at the place of the
.        Dugong…
There at that Dugong place they are sitting all along.

The prawn is there, at the place of the Dugong, digging out mud
.        with its claws…
The hard-shelled prawn living there in the water, making soft little
.        noises.
It burrows into the mud and casts it aside, among the lilies…
Throwing aside the mud, with soft little noises…
Digging out mud with its claws at the place of the Dugong, the place
.        of the Dugong’s Tail…
Calling the bone bukalili, The catfish bukalili, the frog bukalili, the
.        sacred tree bukalili,
The prawn is burrowing, coming up, throwing aside the mud, and
.        digging…
Climbing up on to the Lotus plants and onto their pods…

(Note from book: bukalili mans sacred epithet, power name)

 

USED: The New Oxford Book of Australian Verse at Abebooks!
chosen by Les A. Murray

Cavalry Way and After Reading Mickey In The Night Kitchen for the Third Time Before Bed.

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: Abebooks.com The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry
NEW at independent bookstores: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780195125634

One sad, one happy poem.

Calvary Way

How did you feel, Mary,
Womb heavy with Christ Child,
Tasting the dust of uncertain journey?
Were you afraid?
When, winding the swaddling clothes,
You laid him in the manger,
Were you afraid?
Could you trace nail holes
Under his curling fingers,
Thorn pricks on the forehead?
Could you trace them?

I should bear a warm brown baby,
A new dark world of wonder;
But I fear the nails that pierce the spirit,
The unseen crosses.
How did you feel, Mary,
On the road beyond the star-lit manger,
Up to the hill to crucifixion?
Were you afraid?

May Miller

A graduate of Howard University; did graduate work at Columbia. Teacher of Speech and Dramatics in Baltimore schools.

 

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.

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Thank you Wiki: From 1993 to 1995 she served as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. She is the first African American Poet Laureate. Dove is the second African American to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (1987). 2011 National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama.

The documentary film Rita Dove: An American Poet by Argentinean-American filmmaker Eduardo Montes-Bradley premiered at the Paramount Theater (Charlottesville, Virginia) on January 31, 2014.

The annual “Rita Dove Poetry Award” was established by Salem College Center for Women Writers in 2004.

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Australian (Aboriginal) Poetry 2: Judith Rodriguez, Nigel Roberts!

After / the Moratorium Reading

.         the marie antoinette / slice
.                   of cake / was
.       awarded to
.                              who ever said
.            after this reading / let’s
. get it on / at Michael’s place / I heard
.                                       that guy
.       from Canberra’s got
.                   some farout
.                   vietnamese
.                        shit.

Nigel Roberts (re: Michael Wilding)

Eskimo Occasion

I am in my Eskimo-hunting-song mood,
Aha!
The lawn is tundra    the car will not start
The sunlight is an avalanche     we are avalanche-struck at our
.    breakfast
struck with sunlight through grass    me and my spoonfed daughters
out of this world in our kitchen

I will sing the song of my daughter-hunting,
Oho!
The waves lay down     the ice grew strong
I sang the song      of dark water under ice
the song of the winter fishing     the magic for seal rising
among the ancestor-masks.

I waited by water to dream new spirits,
Hoo!
The water spoke     the ice shouted
the sea opened      the sun made young shadows
they breathed my breathing       I took them from deep water
I brought them fur-warmed home.

I am dancing the year of the two great hunts,
Ya-hay!
It was I who waited       cold in the wind-break
I stamp like the bear       I call like the wind of the thaw
I leap like the sea spring-running.         My sunstruck daughters
.      splutter
and chuckle and bang their spoons:

Mummy is singing at breakfast and dancing!
So big!

Judith Rodriguez

From: The New Oxford Book of Australian Poetry

Caribou. Indigenous Winter Poem. Winter Solstice story telling! — complete now!

3c445cdb9ababc8af588fccd8f2e0221
Photo credit: unknown.

When lake froze in winter,
When Caribou came,
It was just like horses, same.
You could hear their feet making noise,
Making noise [imitates hoofs on ice].
Lots of caribou covered up these hills.

I want to talk about this story,
old people tell this story.

One time, caribou took people
That man had a little bit of doctor, I guess;
Well, caribou took him.

Everybody felt bad: he was gone.
His wife was left alone.

Right in the middle of the lake, they heard caribou singing his song.
People don’t know what to do —
They tried to get him.

One man said, “Well,let’s go. We’re going to try.”
Yeah!

NGS Picture ID:696517
Photo: Paul Nicklen. National Geographic.

They’ve got bow and arrow, that’s all — they have no gun yet.
It was a long time ago, I guess.
They heard that man’s song.
I think it was wintertime.
Wintertime.

That caribou just lay down in the middle of that ice.

All the time he stayed in the middle.
For a long time, they watched him.
Whenever they tried to come to that caribou, all the time he watched them.
He looked from person to person.
And all the time he didn’t sleep.

One man told them he was going to do it.
Then he sneaked in. [She shows how he wrestled with the caribou and held it down.]

The caribou spoke:
‘You smell,” he told people.

Well that man knew how to talk to caribou.
“What about your kids,” they asked him.
“Your kids are crying for you,” his own brother told him.
“What’s wrong with you?”

He couldn’t help it.
So they brought him. They brought him home.
They took him home!
I guess his wife is glad: he’s got kids too!
His wife came, and his kids.
He held his kids’ hands, but for his wife, nothing.
He doesn’t know her yet.

Well, they took him back.
They told him.
Then they watched him.
They made a camp for it [away from the human camp].

Somebody watched him there.
He wanted to go!
He doesn’t eat their food — he eats only willows.
You know what that means!
But they kept him the other side of the fire.

Then he came back to person.
But he can’t hunt caribou anymore.

This was way before my time, but I saw lots of caribou.
they came back, caribou.
All this mountain was covered by caribou.
Used to be we had caribou not too long ago when my kids were growing up.

One time lots of caribou fell through the ice, one lake.
I called my husband back to get the meat.
My mother-in-law came to get the skins.
She got enough that time: she had her son with her.
They are hard to clean when they fall in that way
That’s the last time that caribou came this way.
That’s the last time we saw caribou come.

But they didn’t come back. How come?
That man came back to person.
Then he knew where moose are, where caribou are.
He tells them, but he can’t hunt them.

That’s the last time caribou came this way.
Since then nothing.

After Skookum Jim found gold everything changed.
White people came to this country.
White people learned everything from Indians.
Now they want the whole thing, the land!
I’ve got 64 grandchildren in this Yukon.
I worry about them, what’s going to happen?
White people, where’s their grandpa? Their grandma?
Indians should have their own land
To be continued

From: Life Lived Like a Story
Life Stories of Three Yukon Native Elders
Julie Cruikshank. UBC Press.

Library in Toronto: http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/detail.jsp?Entt=RDM521988&R=521988

Order online:
– New: http://www.ubcpress.ca/search/title_book.asp?BookID=444
– Used: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?sts=t&tn=Life+Lived+Like+a+Story

 

Canadian geographic
Photo: Canadian National Geographic.

caribou_kusawa
Photo: Milo Burcham

Walt Whitman- queer white man on Bumble Bees. Can you even imagine swarms of thousands of them bumbles?!

Walt Whitman was against slavery but held “the widespread opinion that even free African-Americans should not vote.” He believed all religions to be equally important. He was a supporter of temperance, the movement to set limits to drinking alcohol. White, lower middle class, I think.

Walt Whitman, diary entry on Bumble-Bees.

MAY-MONTH… I am out just after sunrise, and down towards the creek.

The lights, perfumes, melodies—the blue birds, grass birds and robins, in every direction—
For undertones, a neighboring wood-pecker tapping his tree, and the distant clarion of chanticleer.
Then the fresh earth smells—the colors, the delicate drabs and thin blues of the perspective. The bright green of the grass has receiv’d an added tinge from the last two days’ mildness and moisture.

Later.— But for the last two days it has been the great wild bee, the humble-bee, or “bumble,” as the children call him. As I walk, or hobble, from the farm-house down to the creek, I traverse the before-mention’d lane, fenced by old rails, with many splits, splinters, breaks, holes, &c., … Up and down and by and between these rails, they swarm and dart and fly in countless myriads.

As I wend slowly along, I am often accompanied with a moving cloud of them. They play a leading part in my morning, midday or sunset rambles, and often dominate the landscape in a way I never before thought of—fill the long lane, not by scores or hundreds only, but by thousands.
Large and vivacious and swift, with wonderful momentum and a loud swelling perpetual hum, varied now and then by something almost like a shriek, they dart to and fro, in rapid flashes, chasing each other, …

As I write, I am seated under a big wild-cherry tree—the warm day temper’d by partial clouds and a fresh breeze, neither too heavy nor light—and here I sit long and long, envelop’d in the deep musical drone of these bees, flitting, balancing, darting to and fro about me by hundreds—big fellows with light yellow jackets, great glistening swelling bodies, stumpy heads and gauzy wings—humming their perpetual rich mellow boom.

How it all nourishes, lulls me, in the way most needed; the open air, the rye-fields, the apple orchards…

…my spirit at peace. (Yet the anniversary of the saddest loss and sorrow of my life is close at hand.)

Almost every bird I notice has a special time in the year—sometimes limited to a few days—when it sings its best; and now is the period of these russet-backs.