#BlackHistoryMonth Old Black Ladies Standing on Bus Stop Corners #poem

7db2148cc553f6b4793de5f6fc583e7cLadies On The Town, Bus Stop In Chinatown, Washington, DC
Photo by Gerald L. Campbell

Old Black Ladies Standing on Bus Stop Corners #2

for my grandmother, Leona Smith

blue black & bow bent under, beautiful
blue black & bow bent under, beautiful
blue black & bow bent under, beautiful

& it never did matter
whether the weather
was flame-tongue-licked
or as cold as a welldigger’s asshole
in late december when santa claus
was working his cold money bullshit
that made financiers grin ear to ear
all the way to secret bank vaults
overflowing with marble eyes
of dirt-poor children

blue black & bow bent under, beautiful
blue black & bow bent under, beautiful
blue black & bow bent under, beautiful

never did matter
whether the days were storm raked
unzipped by lightning streaking clouds
dropping tornadoes that skipped crazy
to their own exploding beat
shooting hailstone death–
that popped like old bones–
crashing into the skulled
sunken eyes of tired old ladies
tired old black ladies
standing on bus stop corners
pain wrapped as shawls around their necks

blue black & bow bent under, beautiful

& “mama” it didn’t matter
that your pained scarred feet overworked
numb legs grew down out of old worn dresses
seemingly fragile, gaunt & skeletal frail
as two old mop sticks–scarecrow legs–
and didn’t matter because you stood there anyway
defying nature’s chameleon weather–
cold as a welldigger’s asshole, then oven-hot–
defying all reason, you stood
there, testifying over 300 years
stretching back, of madness & treason

blue black & bow bent under, beautiful

no, it didn’t matter
because the beauty of your heroic life
grown lovely in twisted swamps
grown lovely in a loveless land
grown pure & full from wombs
of concrete blood & bones
of concrete blood & bones & death
of death & sweat chained to breath
didn’t matter dark proud flower
who stood tall scrubbed by cold
& rain & heat & age carrying
the foreign name given your grandfather–
who swayed body high
twisting & turning in the breeze
like billie’s “strange fruit”–

because you stood there anyway
unforgettably silent in your standing
beautiful work-scarred black lady
numb legs & bow bent under beautiful
stood there on pain-scarred feet overworked
numb legs
& bow bent under beautiful
under the memory of your grandfather swaying high
up there in a burning southern breeze
now sweet music love sings soft tender beauty
deep in your washed aging windows–
& you give me strength
during the mad, bizarre days–

& we have learned to love your life
& will vindicate the pain & silence of your life
the memory of your grandfather with the foreign name
& who sways high up there in history over your legs
blue black & bow bent under beautiful
the weight of over 300 years carried
of blood & bones & death in mud
of breath & sweat chained to death
numb legs & bow bent under beautiful
under the memory of your grandfather
swaying high up there in the burning breeze

didn’t matter whether the weather was flame-tongue-licked
or cold as a welldigger’s asshole in late december
because you stood there anyway
in full bloom of your strength & rare beauty
& made us strong

blue black & bow bent under, beautiful
blue black & bow bent under, beautiful
blue black & bow bent under, beautiful

Quincy Troupe, in The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry, ed. Arnold Rampersad (Oxford 2006)

.

.

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

Advertisements

Australian (Aboriginal) poetry- Sam Mitchell (m), J.S. Harry (f), Kate Llewellyn!

Thunderstorm

After sundown the clouds start to burn,
A big one is bending low, stays and breaks up,
Then it rounds again and raises its forehead high.
On both ends sheet lightning shines.
In the middle where the first layer is gone,
You can see the flash, even inside your home.
Everything dissolves.
In the desert, wide-spread falls the cloudburst,
Drenching all the trees between the two sandhills.

Song by Sam Mitchell, sung in Njangumarda language and translated by S. Mitchell and Georg Brandenstein.

Honesty-Stones

The land between us
had grown so bare
the landscape so denuded—
all we had left was what we knew—
just the rocks and the shades they cast—
your eyes my eyes, across them.

We did not need to speak, to talk.
Everything was in the rocks.
It had been said before.

We could not live there.

J.S. Harry

Colonel

He rode a white horse
heading the Anzac Day Parade
fought at Ladysmith
and Gallipoli
was 90
tall
and treated me
as his batman

helping him
down the hospital corridor
seemed holding rare archeology
by the elbow

I apologized for clumsiness
he said ‘Never mind Sister
every beginning is difficult’
but he said it in Latin

his marriage of 60 years ended
when she died
he ran the funeral elegantly
with military style
and died a month later

Kate Llewellyn

The New Oxford Book of Australian Verse, chosen by Les A. Murray.

USED: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=14144434264

NOURISHING TERRAINS, Australian Aboriginal Views of Landscape and Wilderness:
http://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/62db1069-b7ec-4d63-b9a9-991f4b931a60/files/nourishing-terrains.pdf

Poems about the body: African-American poet, Yusef Komunyakaa.

Image

Poems about the body: African-American poet, Yusef Komunyakaa.

[…]
I love my crooked feet
shaped by vanity & work
shoes made to outlast
belief. The hardness
coupling milk it can’t
fashion. I love the lips,
salt & honeycomb on the tongue.
The hair holding off rain
& snow. The white moons
on my fingernails. I love
how everything begs
blood into song & prayer
inside an egg. A ghost
hums through my bones
like Pan’s midnight flute
shaping internal laws
beside a troubled river.
I love this body
made to weather the storm
in the brain, raised
out of the deep smell
of fish & water hyacinth,
out of rapture & the first
regret. I love my big hands.
I love it clear down to the soft
quick motor of each breath,
the liver’s ten kinds of desire
& the kidney’s lust for sugar.
This skin, this sac of dung
& joy, this spleen floating
like a compass needle inside
nighttime, always divining
West Africa’s dusty horizon.
I love the birthmark
posed like a fighting cock
on my right shoulder blade.
I love this body, this
solo & ragtime jubilee
behind the left nipple,
because I know I was born
to wear out at least
one hundred angels.