Posted in poem of the week

Poem of the Week: “For Saundra,” by Nikki Giovanni

tree roots, asphaltFor Saundra

I wanted to write
a poem
that rhymes
but revolution doesn’t lend
itself to be-bopping

then my neighbor
who thinks i hate
asked – do you ever write
tree poems – i like trees
so i thought
i’ll write a beautiful green tree poem
peeked from my window
to check the image
noticed that the school yard was covered
with asphalt
no green – no trees grow
in manhattan

then, well, i thought the sky
i’ll do a big blue sky poem
but all the clouds have winged
low since no-Dick was elected

so i thought again
and it occurred to me
maybe i shouldn’t write
at all
but clean my gun
and check my kerosene supply

perhaps these are not poetic
times
at all

 

From Black Judgement, copyright 1968, Nikki Giovanni

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Posted in poem of the week

Poem of the Week: “Home,” by Bruce Weigl

15-geese (1)

Home

 

I didn’t know I was grateful

         for such late-autumn

                  bent-up cornfields

 

yellow in the after-harvest

         sun before the

                  cold plow turns it all over

 

into never.

         I didn’t know

                  I would enter this music

 

that translates the world

         back into dirt fields

                     that have always called to me

 

as if I were a thing

         come from the dirt,

                  like a tuber,

 

or like a needful boy. End

                  lonely days, I believe. End the exiled

                           and unraveling strangeness.

 

From The Unraveling Strangeness, by Bruce Weigl, Grove/Atlantic, 2003.

 

Posted in poem of the week

Poem of the Week: “Break,” by Aracelis Girmay

1985-toyota-corolla-ae86-break-dancing-style-ad (1)

Break

By Aracelis Girmay

When the boys are carnivals
we gather round them in the dark room
& they make their noise while drums
ricochet against their bodies & thin air
below the white ceiling hung up like a moon
& it is California, the desert. I am driving in a car,
clapping my hands for the beautiful windmills,
one of whom is my brother, spinning,
on a hillside in the garage
with other boys he’ll grow old with, throw back.
How they throw back their bodies

on the cardboard floor, then spring-to, flying
like the heads of hammers hitting strings
inside of a piano.

Again, again.
This is how they fall & get back up. One
who was thrown out by his father. One
who carries death with him like a balloon
tied to his wrist. One whose heart will break.
One whose grandmother will forget his name.
One whose eye will close. One who stood
beside his mother’s body in a green hospital. One.
Kick up against the air to touch the earth.
See him fall, then get back up.
Then get back up.

 

 

Copyright © 2015 by Aracelis Girmay. From The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop (Haymarket Books, 2015).

Posted in poem of the week

Poem of the Week: “Hija,” by Ruth Irupé Sanabria

Dust Rays

Hija

Ruth Irupé Sanabria

 

I am the daughter of doves
That disappeared into dust

 

Hear my pulse whisper:
  progre-so
     justi-cia
     progre-so
     justi-cia

 

I have many friends and thirty thousand
Warrior angels to watch
Over my exiled skin.

 

Look what occupies the four chambers of my heart:
re/vo/lu/ción

 

You will know me by this.
I am the daughter that never forgets.

 

 

 From “The Strange House Testifies” (Bilingual Review Press, 2013).