Audre Lorde

Today’s Black History Month spotlight goes to another poet I discovered in college. Happy Birthday Audre Lorde! Rest in Peace!

I love her work. Strong imagery. I can actually hear her speaking the words to me as I read them. Isn’t that what good poetry is supposed to do? Transport you into the situation so that you can see what is being said? Whew! Audre Lorde was born February 18, 1934 and died November 17, 1992.   She was an incredible poet, essayist and feminist. A champion of causes. She used her writing to speak to the times. Much of it could be felt now.

 

Power

BY AUDRE LORDE

The difference between poetry and rhetoric
is being ready to kill
yourself
instead of your children.
I am trapped on a desert of raw gunshot wounds
and a dead child dragging his shattered black
face off the edge of my sleep
blood from his punctured cheeks and shoulders
is the only liquid for miles
and my stomach
churns at the imagined taste while
my mouth splits into dry lips
without loyalty or reason
thirsting for the wetness of his blood
as it sinks into the whiteness
of the desert where I am lost
without imagery or magic
trying to make power out of hatred and destruction
trying to heal my dying son with kisses
only the sun will bleach his bones quicker.
A policeman who shot down a ten year old in Queens
stood over the boy with his cop shoes in childish blood
and a voice said “Die you little motherfucker” and
there are tapes to prove it. At his trial
this policeman said in his own defense
“I didn’t notice the size nor nothing else
only the color”. And
there are tapes to prove that, too.
Today that 37 year old white man
with 13 years of police forcing
was set free
by eleven white men who said they were satisfied
justice had been done
and one Black Woman who said
“They convinced me” meaning
they had dragged her 4’10” black Woman’s frame
over the hot coals
of four centuries of white male approval
until she let go
the first real power she ever had
and lined her own womb with cement
to make a graveyard for our children.
I have not been able to touch the destruction
within me.
But unless I learn to use
the difference between poetry and rhetoric
my power too will run corrupt as poisonous mold
or lie limp and useless as an unconnected wire
and one day I will take my teenaged plug
and connect it to the nearest socket
raping an 85 year old white woman
who is somebody’s mother
and as I beat her senseless and set a torch to her bed
a greek chorus will be singing in 3/4 time
“Poor thing. She never hurt a soul. What beasts they are.”
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Dominique Christina

I discovered this beautiful poet on YouTube (Button Poetry) and when one of my favorite websites For Harriet wrote a piece about her in 2014. She is a poetry slam champion. She is part of my Black History where she tells Herstory about race in America. Her words are beautiful and painful at the same time. As a mother I cried when I heard her recite her poem “Emmet Till”.

Check out her video:

Langston Hughes

Yay! One of my favorite poets. Langston Hughes was born February 1, 1902 and died May 22, 1967. He was a novelist and a social activist too. I discovered Langston Hughes in college. Can you believe it? Way too late.

But, it was in college that I fell in love with the Harlem Renaissance and the words of his poems “The Weary Blues”, “Mother to Son” and of course “Dream Deferred”. If you’ve never heard of Langston Hughes, please check your local library. He’s part of our history. Black History is American History.

Mother To Son

Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor-
Bare.
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So, boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps.
‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now-
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

 

langston hughes

My Past

I spent so many nights sleeping in your bed under the guise that you missed me. You missed me? You didn’t even know that I existed other than in the privacy of your own home. Your “bedroom queen” is what you called me even though I longed to be more.

But, you weren’t ready. No commitment would come, but I would give you pieces of my spirit in hopes that you would find solace between my thighs. See, I knew that life had dealt you some difficult blows and I was sacrificing my womb to give you shelter from your pain.

Pain that was inflicted when you no longer had love in your life and I like so many before me thought that I could save you. To change you. To make you see that I am the woman who you should choose. My spirit belonged to you and I wanted to sit inside your soul and sing sweet songs to your spirit.

But, the pain became unbearable. I could no longer stand the smell of you, the taste of you, the feel of you, the look of you and the thought of you. I chose the path less traveled in order to save myself and pull my battered heart away from yours. I untangled my spirit from your lips and your lies and buried the hurt in a sea so deep that no one will ever see…

That in this space where you and I laid…there was love.

The Man

No, you can’t date me.

You can’t waste my time with your fictitious lies

Or mediocre behavior

You can’t try to woo me with your one liners

Or be the main man in my life

You can’t seduce me with your looks

You can’t wow me with your career

You can’t be anything to me.

Why?

Because I want more

More time

More energy

More courting

More conversations

More…everything

And you just aren’t ready

Step aside man and let the one who is destined to take me as his queen see me

No more hiding behind your fake references for a future or trusting that you care

I just want to be his forever and you my friend…

Can’t even compete with his swag

Happy Father’s Day!

Today is father’s day and I want to wish all the men out there who are father’s or play a fatherly role to a child, Happy Father’s Day! We salute and honor you for all that you do. I know it seems that no one recognizes you and all your contributions, but trust me they do. More importantly, the children recognize your importance.

Here’s a poem I wrote in honor of my son’s relationship with his dad. I wanted to share what I think that my 7-year-old thinks about his dad. The first person that held him. The first person that kissed him. The first person that changed his diaper. His dad.

I AM HIS

Strong

Powerful

Reliable

First love

Survivor

Friend

Guardian

Protector

My dad

Always knows what to do

Protects me from the dark

Holds my hand always

Tells me he loves me everyday

Even when I can’t be near him I

Call to remind him of my voice

He smiles and laughs and says

“You know I will never forget” and I nod

But, there is something about my daddy

That makes me want to always check-in and

Share

The small things that happened

Talk about my day

For this man whose eyes and smile are a reflection of my own

Loves without thought

Gives without concern

And knows

That he is raising a king

His king

Enjoy your day loves!

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