The acre of grass is a sleeping
swarm of locusts and in the house
beside it, tears too are mistaken:
thin streams of kerosene
when night throws itself against
the wall, when Nina Simone sings
in the next room without her body
and I’m against the wall, bruised
but out of body: dream-headed
with my corset still on, stays
slightly less tight, bones against
bones, broken glass on the floor
like dance steps for a waltz
with no partner. Father in my room
looking for more sissy clothes
to burn. Something pink in his fist,
negligee, lace, fishnet, whore.
His son’s a whore this last night
of Sodom. And the record skips
and skips and skips. Corset still on,
nothing else on, I’m at the window;
he’s in the field, gasoline jug,
hand full of matches, night made
of locusts, column of smoke
mistaken for Old Testament God.
— saeed jones, boy in whale bone corset. (via black-poetry)
In the wake of the Fannie May and Freddie Mac foreclosures, police attempted to evict a 90-year-old woman from Akron, Ohio. She survived the wounds after shooting herself twice.
there in a house, lying
in a white house, on the bed
of the 101 year-old white house,
the old woman lying in her own
dark blood with the tree fallen
in a wood—what does not make
a sound, what blast does not make
a sound, if no one was there to hear it:
here is Akron, Ohio, city of great
migration, rubber, methamphetamine,
what is owed to feed a hungry horse
that never tires of hunger, a country
of slick cycle, sick conveyor belt,
faster and faster
on the bed quilt-covered, a porcelain
prayer, a great oak frame,
and what cannot be tamed
is a hedonist’s genius:
all belly and boom,
all enterprise, progress,
all tumor and swell.
here is a letter from the evicted,
sealed to Fannie in blood
on the quilt-covered bed,
a broken deal.
— karen alayna thimell, addie polk. (via black-poetry)
clouds fill the sky
the breeze is cool
work a demanding task
my mind is relazed
my body, remembering
the morning after love
a feeling fills my heart
like a cup of calm black
a new day, remembering
for a short spell
life trying to take on new
meaning, a dirty world reaching
I smell chrysanthemums from
and blinding rain drops smell
on the morning after… love.
— kattie m. cumbo, the morning after… love. (via black-poetry)
No one can communicate to you
The face of poverty—
Can tell you neither the shape,
Nor the depth,
Nor the breadth
Until you have lived with her intimately.
No one can guide your fingers
Over the rims of her eye sockets,
Over her hollow cheeks—
Until one day perhaps
In your wife’s once pretty face
You see the lines of poverty:
Until you feel
In her now skinny body,
The protruding bones,
The barely covered ribs,
The shrunken breasts of poverty.
Poverty can be a stranger
In a far off land:
An alien face
Briefly glimpsed in a newsreel,
An empty rice bowl
In a skinny brown hand,
Until one bleak day
You look out the window—
and poverty is the squatter
In your own backyard.
Poverty wils in the night for milk,
Not knowing the price of milk a quart.
It is the stark desperation in your teen-ager’s face,
Wanting a new evening gown for the junior prom,
After going through school in rummage store clothes.
It is the glass of forgetfulness sold over the bar.
And poverty’s voice is a jeer in the night—
“You may bring another child
Into the rat race that is your life;
You may cut down on food
To buy contraceptives;
You make see your wife walk alone down some back alley route
To a reluctant appointment with an unsterile knife—
Or you may sleep alone.”
And one morning shaving
You look in the mirror—
And never again will poverty be alien,
For the face of poverty is not over your shoulder,
The face of poverty is your own.
And hearing the break in your wife’s voice
At the end of a bedtime story,
You realize that somewhere along the way
The stock ending in your own story went wrong.
And now you no longer ask
That you and your wife
Will live happily ever after—
But simply that you
And your wife
And your children
— lucy smith, face of poverty. (via black-poetry)
my brothers i will not tell you
who to love or not love
i will only say to you
Black women have not been
i will say to you
we are at war & that
Black men in america are
being removed from the
like loose sand in a wind storm
Soulfolk, think a minute
It is not what is on your head
But rather what is in it.
It is not what you wear
Around your neck
But rather the head
That is on your neck.
Nor is it the cloth
That covers you
But rather the heart
That beats for you
And all of humankind.
Humanity and head and heart
Are the most important part.
Soulfolk, think on that
— margaret goss burroughs, to soulfolk. (via black-poetry)
The first was a drummer boy,
Tall and dark with a deliciously wicked control in his hands.
Like a conductor, he twirled his stick around and around till my heart was set a-flutter and with each beat forced ragged breaths through my parched lips.
Eddy was his name.
The second was a dancer,
My beautiful broken dancer with fire for breath and body a tangle of limbs, muscle and tightly wound sinew.
When he danced, he moved with the purpose of a hunting lioness and grace of a gazelle.
With each step, twist and thrust he formed a dew in me and with each breath on my skin made my knees buckle in weakness.
He was known as Greg
The third, a student.
Of average build and height, but what wasn’t average about him was the way he talked. The finest spun silk dipped in the smoothest chocolate couldn’t rival the richness of his voice.
His skin was decidedly dark and supple, always inviting for a kiss, lick or bite.
When he talked, I oft stared in wonder of his mind and tongue.
I called him Solomon
The fourth worked in retail.
A wickedly assure man he was.
He had a thick head of unruly strands and the perpetual glint in his eye always spoke of secrets shared the world would never know of. I so desperately tried to make him mine but even when cradling his weeping head in my laps I knew the better…. Or I thought I did
Eventually, he broke me.
With each secret, he smote me with disgust.
He called himself Raphael
I only let myself dream I’d find someone like you
in those moments of wild abandon
when the lines of consciousness and imagination are blurred.
It’s almost like you walked out of my perfectly weaved dreams
and dared me to believe in reality.
I’m scared to believe you exist
and worse, that you’d suddenly realise how better off you are without me.
your aunt gave birth
to still cities
hiroshima a cyst in her stomach
mogadishu a lump in her breast
everyone in your family
told her to
you won’t find a man who wants
to kiss an atlas
dont map out stars on your back
where you gonna find
a man who wants to join
your constellations with his tongue
push out falestine from under your
let damascus drip from your neck
and wash out the havana of
your dreams are too large
they make everyone around you
hold their breath
what man wants a woman
covered in continents
teeth small colonies
stomach an island
what man wants to
watch the world
from his bedroom
face a small riot
hands a civil war
with an immigrants story home
behind your ears
a refugee camp
a body littered entirely
with ugly things
doesn’t she wear the world well.
— warsan shire
there are days that i don’t feel like smiling
or being touched
or being surrounded
and on those days i want to breathe
and dance among the raindrops
and play the same song on repeat because it makes me feel good
there are days when all i want to do is write down the lyrics to my favorite song then sing and hum along in a space big enough for me
and my thoughts
and my quirks
and my questions
and there are days
when i need to crawl inside of myself
and spend some time with me
and this does not mean that i am upset
or need to be consoled
or spoken to
there are just some days when i need to be with me
and sometimes, just sometimes, those days are connected by strings
Critical Race Theorist: Y’all gotta read this poem.
Göttin der Dummheit: Two Women
I am a woman.
I am a woman.
I am a woman born of a woman whose man owned a factory.
I am a woman born of a woman whose man labored in a…
Whenever I go bike riding with my family
there is a certain riding arraignment that we fall into.
My brother leads the way- spokes spinning
And my father close behind-pedals working
breathing rhythmically. One hand gracefully on his side.
And I am somewhere in…
I had loved you as the soil
had loved a tree,
as it had nurtured its roots,
until its boughs hang low
and its arms, sweetly scented
from its fruits.
But still I loved you
as the soil had loved a tree,
under the harvest moon
when it bore their offspring
on its arm, or in autumn
when it lost its charm,
to winter fast approaching.
What happened is, we grew lonely
living among the things,
so we gave the clock a face,
the chair a back,
the table four stout legs
which will never suffer fatigue.
We fitted our shoes with tongues
as smooth as our own
and hung tongues inside bells
so we could listen
to their emotional language,
and because we loved graceful profiles
the pitcher received a lip,
the bottle a long, slender neck.
Even what was beyond us
was recast in our image;
we gave the country a heart,
the storm an eye,
the cave a mouth
so we could pass into safety.
— Lisel Mueller, “Things” (via fleurishes)
Peace is on the way
By the sword they say
After this, this last blow
Last chop, last drop
After this. this last scream
Last shout, last trample of boot
Just one more, one last
Rubble wreck where once were dreams housed
Last plane, last flame, last sky
Just one, one more…