Tag Archives: Poetry

National Poetry Month featuring Yrsa Daley-Ward

Some of us love badly. Sometimes the love is the type of love that

implodes. Folds in on itself. Eats its insides. Turns wine to poison.

Behaves poorly in restaurants. Drinks. Kisses other people. Comes

back to your bed at 4am smelling like everything outside. Asks about

your ex. Is jealous of your ex. Thinks everyone a rival. Some of us

love others badly, love ourselves worse. Some of us love horrid, love

beastly. Love sick love anti light. Sometimes the love can’t go home

at night, can’t sleep with itself cannot contain itself, catches fire,

destroys the belly, strips buildings, goes missing. Punches. Smashes

heirlooms. Tells lies. The best lies. Fucks around. Writes poems,

impresses people. Chases lovers into corners. Leaves them longing.

Sea sick. Says yes. Means anything but. Tricks the body. Kills the

body. Dances wild and walks away, smiling.

– When it is but It Ain’t

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National Poetry Month featuring Nayyirah Waheed

“what i never
learned
from my mother
was that
just because someone desires you
does
not mean they value you.
desire is the kind of thing that
eats you
and

leaves you starving.”

The Color of Low Self Esteem


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World Poetry Day: You Are Oceanic

 

You Are Oceanic

By Tapiwa Mugabe

All she wanted

Was find a place to

Stretch her bones

A place to lengthen

Her smiles

And spread her hair

A place where her

Legs could walk

Without cutting and

Bruising

A place unchained

She was born out of

Ocean breath.

I reminded her;

‘Stop pouring so

Much of yourself

Into hearts that have

No room for

Themselves

Do not thin yourself

Be vast

You do not bring the

Ocean to a river’

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A Poem by Warsan Shire

1. I’m lonely so I do lonely things
2. Loving you was like going to war; I never came back the same.
3. You hate women, just like your father and his father, so it runs in your blood.
4. I was wandering the derelict car park of your heart looking for a ride home.
5. You’re a ghost town I’m too patriotic to leave.
6. I stay because you’re the beginning of the dream I want to remember.
7. I didn’t call him back because he likes his girls voiceless.
8. It’s not that he wants to be a liar; it’s just that he doesn’t know the truth.
9. I couldn’t love you, you were a small war.
10. We covered the smell of loss with jokes.
11. I didn’t want to fail at love like our parents.
12. You made the nomad in me build a house and stay.
13. I’m not a dog.
14. We were trying to prove our blood wrong.
15. I was still lonely so I did even lonelier things.
16. Yes, I’m insecure, but so was my mother and her mother.
17. No, he loves me he just makes me cry a lot.
18. He knows all of my secrets and still wants to kiss me.
19. You were too cruel to love for a long time.
20. It just didn’t work out.
21. My dad walked out one afternoon and never came back.
22. I can’t sleep because I can still taste him in my mouth.
23. I cut him out at the root, he was my favorite tree, rotting, threatening the foundations of my home.
24. The women in my family die waiting.
25. Because I didn’t want to die waiting for you.
26. I had to leave, I felt lonely when he held me.
27. You’re the song I rewind until I know all the words and I feel sick.
28. He sent me a text that said “I love you so bad.”
29. His heart wasn’t as beautiful as his smile
30. We emotionally manipulated one another until we thought it was love.
31. Forgive me, I was lonely so I chose you.
32. I’m a lover without a lover.
33. I’m lovely and lonely.
34. I belong deeply to myself .

― Warsan Shire from Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth

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Saying Adieu: “Mandela Dead and Alive”

“. . . And Africa you go on palavering

first hands offered then clenched fists

you the eternal survivor

speaking of onyx not of glass

for man must fathom all

plunge deep and rise along

his secret blood

row row relentlessly

row towards the sun . . . ”

(Edouard J. Maunick – translation)

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Ghanaian Literature Week: “African Heaven”

  

“African Heaven” – Frank Kobina Parkes

Give me black souls,
Let them be black
Or chocolate brown
Or make them the
Color of dust —
Dustlike,
Browner than sand.
But if you can
Please keep them black,
Black.

Give me some drums;
Let them be three
Or maybe four
And make them black —
Dirty and black:
Of wood,
And dried sheepskin,
But if you will
Just make them peal,
Peal.
Peal loud,
Mutter.
Loud,
Louder yet;
Then soft,
Softer still
Let the drums peal.
Let the calabash
Entwined with beads
With blue Aggrey beads
Resound, wildly
Discordant,
Calmly
Melodious.
Let the calabash resound
In tune with the drums.

Mingle with these sounds
The clang
Of wood on tin:
Kententsekenken
Ken-tse ken ken ken
:
Do give me voices
Ordinary
Ghost voices
Voices of women
And the bass
Of men.
(And screaming babes?)

Let there be dancers,
Broad-shouldered Negroes
Stamping the ground
With naked feet
And half-covered
Women
Swaying, to and fro,
In perfect
Rhythm
To “Tom shikishiki”
And “ken,”
And voices of ghosts
Singing,
Singing!
Let there be
A setting sun above,
Green palms
Around,
A slaughtered fowl
And plenty of
Yams.

And dear Lord,
If the place be
Not too full,
Please
Admit spectators.
They may be
White or
Black.

Admit spectators
That they may
See:
The bleeding fowl,
And yams,
And palms
And dancing ghosts.

Odomankoma,
Do admit spectators
That they may
Hear:
Our native songs,
The clang of wood on tin
The tune of beads
And the pealing drums.

Twerampon, please, please
Admit
Spectators!
That they may
Bask
In the balmy rays
Of the
Evening Sun,
In our lovely
African heaven!

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Poem of the Month: “An African Elegy”

“We are the miracles that God made
To taste the bitter fruit of Time.
We are precious.
And one day our suffering
Will turn into the wonders of the earth.

There are things that burn me now
Which turn golden when I am happy.
Do you see the mystery of our pain?
That we bear poverty
And are able to sing and dream sweet things

And that we never curse the air when it is warm
Or the fruit when it tastes so good
Or the lights that bounce gently on the waters?
We bless things even in our pain.
We bless them in silence.

That is why our music is so sweet.
It makes the air remember.
There are secret miracles at work
That only Time will bring forth.
I too have heard the dead singing.

And they tell me that
This life is good
They tell me to live it gently
With fire, and always with hope.
There is wonder here

And there is surprise
In everything the unseen moves.
The ocean is full of songs.
The sky is not an enemy.
Destiny is our friend.”

— Ben Okri

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The Philosopher’s Corner: A Brief Review of Richard Wright’s “Haiku”

In the introduction of the 2012 publication of Richard Wright’s posthumous book, Haiku: The Last Poetry of Richard Wright (Arcade Publishing), Wright’s daughter, Julia, referred to the following as his literary enigma: “how the creator of the inarticulate, frightened, and enraged Bigger Thomas ended up leaving us some of the most tender, unassuming, and gentle lines in African-American poetry.” Wright left some four thousand haiku (only a few hundred published), and the question has been left unanswered: what, if any, is the relationship between his haiku poems and his social/political prose and non-fiction?

I have always been drawn to Wright’s interest in nature, in the mysteries of nature, and how this interest influenced and informed the social and political (perhaps protest) work for which he has become strictly known and infamous. What if we rethought the relation of politics to nature, “realism” to “surrealism” such that these haiku are no longer understood as a side-interest, or the ramblings of a sick man at the end of his life, but as evocative of the meaning of human existence, black existence?

Link to purchase:

http://www.amazon.com/Haiku-Last-Poems-American-Icon/dp/1611453496/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1382584170&sr=8-1&keywords=richard+wright+haiku

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