On Returning Home To Nana’s

a small hair sprouts

defying the odds

bursting through the surface

only to crinkle and bend

like palm trees in the wind

coconut oil eases the shaft

from root to ends

smooth, dipping my curls

into the Atlantic

becoming one with the island

and the wave

and the nappiness

of my kitchen

the way she might have as a child on family vacations

her thick black locs hang

like freedom

and nooses

and mangoes

strong and sweet as sugarcane

standing up

resisting gravity

and the box that bottles beauty

Poem For Black Boys (With special love to James)

Where are your heroes, my little Black ones
You are the Indian you so disdainfully shoot
Not the big bad sheriff on his faggoty white horse

You should play run-away-slave
Or Mau Mau
These are more in line with your history

Ask your mothers for a Rap Brown gun
Santa just may comply if you wish hard enough
Ask for CULLURD instead on Monopoly
This is a game you can win.

As you sit there with all your understanding eyes
You know the truth of what I’m saying
Play Back-to-Black
Grow a natural and practice vandalism
These are useful games (some say a skill even learned)

There is a new game I must tell you of
Its called Catch The Leader Lying
(and knowing your sense of the absurd you will enjoy this)

also a company called revolution has just issued a special kit for little boys called Burn Baby
I’m told it has full instructions on how to siphon gas and fill a bottle

Then our old friend Hide and Seek becomes valid
Because we have much to seek and ourselves to hide from a lecherous dog

And this poem I give is worth much more than any nickle bag or ten cent toy
And you will understand all too soon
That you, my children of battle, are your heroes
You must invent your own games and teach us old ones how to play.

–Nikki Giovanni

Let Me Be Held When The Longing Comes

Let me be held when the longing comes

by you

yours the arms, yours the tenderabstract willow


Tumble down into the quiet dark

of this embrace

night is come again.

Stay a little longer,

for no other reason than it is

good not to be alone always

let there be a song of remembering and not knowing

what is there except

a warmth and a blossom

of a feeling, sweetly,

gladly, home.


It’s Just Another Day In the Neighborhood

A neighborhood’s blood pumps thick

busting through vessels stickin to the sides of deactivated muscles

limp fingers flail where once a fist formed

forced acceptance replaces the anger

‘that lingered in every household

silent voices reign

into the gutters of the ghetto

cold sunshine drapes clotheslines packed with designer labels

but still bills laid unpaid, slurpin government checks through the mail slots

Lives tormented by words unsaid

Shoot up the anecdote to the ebb and flow

as T-cell counts drop low down through inconspicuous  looks of lust tossed

affecting the whole race of us


are these perforated prophylactics littering school grounds

children bearing children already heaven bound

as boroughs pulsate

unclean red hate spilled onto the pavement

meant to transport

the souls of our soles

steppin over the next gunshot victims ghost as he grabs at your ankles

On your way to the liquor store?

Or Crown Fried?

condemn this hood’s arteries

facilities cloggin the mentalities of the people

bleeding onto insulin detectors

kidney failure running rampant shutting down our natural bullshit filter

sprinting through our systems

Break our blood

drop  by drop into America’s pot

before they cleanse our culture in assimilated soaps

exalt our hope for freedom in sudsy prisons

where we sing our souls blue through bars on hip hop notes

Spit this verse written for you

Money fuels the industries manufacturing artists

willing to appease the crowd


i want bloodfire pumpimg in my veins

to see clearly the obstacles placed in front of me

take every neighborhood by the lifeless limb to the mountaintop

just over the horizon

wars peace isnt between death and defeat

our blood shed will never be a means to an end

a means to an end

is our blood boiling

with a renewed sense of justice


This is a call to action3885668363_12d2876299


Everyone trailer parks Bayamon boogie down boriquas in their mothers kitchens cooking rice and hotdogs downtown chinatown italianos chicanos the village jamaica in queens

This Is A Call To Action

Life, Love, and The Pursuit of Happiness

its in the blood

get it pumping

with revolution

into those dead fingers

then ball it

into a fist.

The Poet

He sang of life, serenely sweet,

With, now and then, a deeper note.

From some high peak, nigh yet remote,

He voiced the world’s absorbing beat.

He sang of love when earth was young,

And Love, itself, was in his lays.

But ah, the world, it turned to praise

A jingle in a broken tongue.

–Paul Laurence Dunbar



Who Is Not A Stranger Still

Who is not a stranger still

even after making love,

or the even the morning after?

The interlude of sleep again divides

it is clear again where one body

ends and the next begins,

Think to think at each encounter,

we will be strangers still

even after making love

and long conversation,

even after meals and showers


and years of touching.

(excerpt from Nikki Giovanni)