When others asked the truth of me, I was convinced it was not the truth they wanted, but an
“Feeling the capacity to be,
to pour out the spirit of their souls into concrete and objective form with a high fervor born of their racial characteristics,
they glide through our complex civilization like wailing ghosts;
they spin like fiery planets lost from their orbits;
they wither and die like trees ripped from native soil.”
— excerpt from Book Three: Fate of Native Son by Richard Wright, 1940
Black women’s faces are so expressive because we have
always been perceived to be in the position of servants
meant to bow politely
and with aggressive humility
enjoy giving service to the man or woman above us
She’s not sassy because she wants to be
but because she has to be.
Because the sheer absurdity of other people’s realities encroaching on her ability to live freely necessitates comment even if she is not allowed to speak.
The larger picture is this: Brooklyn is a bitch built on turmoil
blood, black and white, has steeped into its foundation
that’s the legacy we fight over
and churn the butter to claim
when you from here
I will always do better
but I giggle through your attempt at trying to tell me my history
my grandfather was a blockbuster
he stood on our porch with a shotgun in hand
as they scribbled nigger across his domain
it was as real as the bricks and mortar I reside in my mixed neighborhood
seeing as how that wasn’t the point though. let me stay on message
thanks for reading, for being a critic
for caring enough about the consequences of your words and mine to blot out your name so I can impartially give you these facts
shoutout to the first of firsts and to dissenters in the ranks
His spirit is smoke ascended to high heaven.
His father, by the cruelest way of pain,
Had bidden him to his bosom once again;
The awful sin remained still unforgiven.
All night a bright and solitary star
(Perchance the one that ever guided him,
Yet gave him up at last to Fate’s wild whim)
Hung pitifully o’er the swinging char.
Day dawned, and soon the mixed crowds came to view
The ghastly body swaying in the sun:
The women thronged to look, but never a one
Showed sorrow in her eyes of steely blue;
And little lads, lynchers that were to be,
Danced round the dreadful thing in fiendish glee.
somewhere in me beneath the mists
is a city on fire
burning like napalm bombs
and somewhere, even deeper
is also a calm feeding the flames
Hail the press, sword-arm of justice
once chosen for its resistance but the existence of fake news is a mass misconception because there has always been the fake and the real
The black journalist, duplicitous in nature, was shut out of newsrooms
strung up by their necks
literature spread that let the long-arm of the law snatch boys from their cribs
who fit the profile
The panther party persisted
the so called Freedom Messengers
inciting revolutions with pens and passion
What did the press and the president say of them then
the fake, the real. The red or the blue pill
my daddy’s name was john henry
my moms name was polly ann
he never sold crack
but was a hard workin man who laid track in the subways
bent back like his people
and when he died from all that
he gave ma his legendary hammer
she had a slammer that was mean
and took no shit from men, white brown or black
me and your daddy built this city
so you wouldn’t have to
now take this hammer
and show’ em what you can do
Love set you going like a fat gold watch. The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry Took its place among the elements.
Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue. In a drafty museum, your nakedness Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls. I’m no more your mother Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow Effacement at the wind’s hand. All night your moth-breath Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen: A far sea moves in my ear. One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral In my Victorian nightgown. Your mouth opens clean as a cat’s. The window square Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try Your handful of notes; The clear vowels rise like balloons.
–By Sylvia Plath
poisons the air like fallout,
I come again to see
the serene, great picture that I love.
Here space and time exist in light
the eye like the eye of faith believes.
The seen, the known
dissolve in iridescence, become
illusive flesh of light
that was not, was, forever is.
O light beheld as through refracting tears.
Here is the aura of that world
each of us has lost.
Here is the shadow of its joy