My Poetry

words

This is a piece that I have been toying with. First off, its title is taken directly from the poem which is different for me. My first draft had another stanza that I am still trying to tweak. So expect to see another version of this at a later date because I am still working on it. But feel free to share your thoughts on this first draft.
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My poetry
Is irreverent and relevant
It is timeless but speaks the truth
My poetry is appealing and revealing
It peels back layers of lies
Knows that a woman’s worth cannot be written or told by anyone who has never walked in her heels
That being young urban and colored still carries the same death penalty as the 1930s,50s and 60s
My poetry picks at pretty girl’s problems and smart girl’s issues
It feeds a blog, a belly and supplies
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse toys and episodes

My poetry is disrespectful
It doesn’t like you
It says, if you don’t get it
then don’t read it
Those words will sweep you up into
a whirlwind and take you to a deserted island of
horrid poems
And leave you there to wither in a world of poorly put together words

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Be Drunk…

I am so in love with this poem and although it isn’t new; I feel as if it’s a newly discovered piece. In the back of my head when I’m writing, I repeat the Hemingway mantra “Write drunk, edit sober” and I think that is part of the appeal of this poem. I know others who think I’m crazy when I say that I write drunk but that’s how creating new poems, fiction and essays makes me feel. It’s like I’m tipsy and ready to step off the curb to sing drunk in the streets. I hope that you all enjoy this poem and are celebrating the month.

Be Drunk

You have to be always drunk. That’s all there is to it—it’s the only way. So as not to feel the horrible burden of time that breaks your back and bends you to the earth, you have to be continually drunk.

But on what? Wine, poetry or virtue, as you wish. But be drunk.

And if sometimes, on the steps of a palace or the green grass of a ditch, in the mournful solitude of your room, you wake again, drunkenness already diminishing or gone, ask the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, everything that is flying, everything that is groaning, everything that is rolling, everything that is singing, everything that is speaking. . .ask what time it is and wind, wave, star, bird, clock will answer you: “It is time to be drunk! So as not to be the martyred slaves of time, be drunk, be continually drunk! On wine, on poetry or on virtue as you wish.”

-Charles Baudelaire, 1821 – 1867

Courtesy of poets.org

Southern Mansion- Bontemps

DSC05004

As usual, I want to share the poetry of some of my favorite poets with you all during this month which celebrates poetry. This time it is piece from Harlem Renaissance poet Arnaud “Arna” Bontemps. This poem is so beautiful and full of imagery. I have my students examining this piece this week to try to decipher what it means, the language and the poet’s intent. I hope you all enjoy.

Southern Mansion

Poplars are standing there still as death
And ghosts of dead men
Meet their ladies walking
Two by two beneath the shade
And standing on the marble steps.

There is a sound of music echoing
Through the open door
And in the field there is
Another sound tinkling in the cotton:
Chains of bondmen dragging on the ground.

The years go back with an iron clank,
A hand is on the gate,
A dry leaf trembles on the wall.
Ghosts are walking.
They have broken roses down
And poplars stand there still as death.

-Arna Bontemps

Juke Joint Love

whiskey

Pour on me
like Memphis blues.
Smoky, gravelly
and intense

Like a smooth
shot of tequila;
electrifying me from
roots to toes.

You don’t know
how tightly I
clench onto the
beauty of you.
Like the freedom
of a child’s imagination
married with the verbosity
of a dictionary.

You erupt from me
fully formed
not like the goddess
Diana/Athena
but words
imagery, metaphorical lyrical
You.

The Trouble with Lists

lists

Okay, so most of you know that every year I establish a list of writing goals that I want to accomplish. Well, I’m in a bit of a conundrum. On my 2015 writer’s resolution list, I have the goal to completely finish two pieces and to get started on a third. The two major pieces are the ones that I wrote during NaNoWriMo over the last two years. I haven’t completely finished either one so I thought that I’d make the time to do it this year. The third piece is a hilarious marriage between Death at a Funeral and a few other comedic films and I have been trying to write it for more than 12 years. I have all of these amazing anecdotes and bits to add to this piece but I also have another story clamoring to be told. I am in love with it and although it’s a bit complicated (in my head) I cannot wait to share it. What’s one to do when there are so many stories begging to be told?

Another problem is that I have no idea if I’m committed enough to complete these stories around grading, planning, lectures, poetry writing, final exams and the all-important reading. It also doesn’t help that I’ve realized that it’s April, National Poetry Month, and I want to have a few activities. I find that I am bogged down by my aspirations but lacking in follow through. Although, I have made a bit of progress on my other goals this one has me stymied and I hate to feel as if I’m going to fail at those goals even though it’s only April.

Have any of you accomplished a large part of your list? Or do you feel as if you aren’t going to be able to?

The Beauty of Poetry

Today in the spirit of reinvention, legacy, poetry and the beauty that is Maya Angelou’s words I am posting another of my favorite Angelou poems. I hope that you enjoy it.

Still I Rise
Maya Angelou, 1928 – 2014

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.