Elegy for my Husband- Toi Derricotte

As a poet who often writes grief poetry, Toi Derricotte’s “Elegy for my Husband” struck a chord in me that I am still battling with. Some poets are able to craft elegies that give you glimpses into their grief but also manage to give you insight into who the person they are mourning was. They manage to convey just who and what they lost and this poem does that very well. ¬†This poem is an amazing testament to those who work to build elegies and to mold their grief into words.

 

wordle

 

Bruce Derricotte, June 22, 1928 – June 21, 2011

 

What was there is no longer there:

Not the blood running its wires of flame through the whole length

Not the memories, the texts written in the language of the flat hills

No, not the memories, the porch swing and the father crying

The genteel and elegant aunt bleeding out on the highway

(Too black for the white ambulance to pick up)

Who had sent back lacquered plates from China

Who had given away her best ivory comb that one time she was angry

Not the muscles, the ones the white girls longed to touch

But must not (for your mother warned

You would be lynched in that all-white Ohio town you grew up in)

Not that same town where you were the only, the one good black boy

All that is gone

Not the muscles running, the baseball flying into your mitt

Not the hand that laid itself over my heart and saved me

Not the eyes that held the long gold tunnel I believed in

Not the restrained hand in love and in anger

Not the holding back

Not the taut holding

 

 

 

 

 

Untitled

This piece is a rarity written by me because it’s untitled right now. I’m going to be tweaking it a bit and rewording some of the lines to add more depth. It is a rough version of what it will be but I still wanted to share it.

You want to put a spell on me

Like your name is Nina or you 

Can conjure the blues greats 

But I’m immune

My people talk the fire out of burns,

read dreams,

and see dead people. 

There is no magic you can weave 

strong enough

to break generations 

of bindings

to rip the ties that bind 

Sarah and Lymon’s 

blood coursing through these veins.

My people wove dreams from land

ripe with cotton, scuppernong vines and sweet potatoes.

They poured sweat into the future 

and brought forth

their own brand of magic.

Look for Me-Ted Kooser

I apologize for slacking this past week, I had poems selected to share and didn’t have them drafted the way I should have. I rarely ever slack like that during National Poetry Month so I am posting twice today to end on a strong note. This poem is by U.S Poet Laureate Ted Looser and he shared it in celebration of his 87th birthday. 


Look for me under the hood

of that old Chevrolet settled in weeds
at the end of the pasture.

I’m the radiator that spent its years
bolted in front of an engine
shoving me forward into the wind.

Whatever was in me in those days
has mostly leaked away,
but my cap’s still screwed on tight
and I know the names of all these
tattered moths and broken grasshoppers
the rest of you’ve forgotten.

What Do You Call It?- Write Azaglo

Poetry is more than words. It is a force for change, the song of our souls, a call to action, a means to claim pride, or to capture a moment. Sometimes, the voice of the poet is so powerful that it leaps off the page! That’s what happened with this piece. I am proud to share with you the words of one of my favorite poets, Write Azaglo. This piece first appeared on her Instagram and I begged her to let me share it here. 

Hope you enjoy! 

What do you call it 

When they bottle up your blackness too

and place your body in the hands of white supremacy?

As if it was supposed to soothe their hunger for peace

Like they didn’t cause it to starve in the first place 

Like we ‘pos to just cheer on another black body being handed to  the police

For them to drink

For them to consume

For them to destroy 

Like we have smiles on our faces when we mourn

Like we don’t have tombstones written at the bottom of our soles

What do you call it? 

Aubade-Claudia Rankine

They say brave but I don’t want it.
Who will we mourn today. Or won’t we.

Black all the windows. Lower

down the afternoon. I barricade

all my belonging. I am mostly never real

American or anything

availing. But I do take. And take

what’s given. The smell of blood.

I breathe it in. The dirt so thick with our good

fortune. And who pays for it. And what am

I

But fear, but wanting. I’ll bite

the feeding hand until I’m fed

And buried. In the shining day. 

All deadly good

intentions. A catalogue of virtues

 This is how I’ll disappear. 

Oak Grove Cemetery- Don Thompson

This week I wanted to share the work of  another, new to me, poet. There is something beautiful in the way that he describes “this place” that resonated with me. Maybe it’s because right as this hit my inbox, I was working on a similar piece. Regardless of the reason, it seemed like the perfect piece to share. 

Just enough rain an hour ago

to give the wispy dry grass some hope,
turning it green instantly.

This place has been abandoned,
the old faith overgrown, confused
by brambles,
and in these hard times,
its upkeep cut from the budget.

But we walk, soaked to the knees,
making our slow pilgrimage
among gravestones, speaking
blurred names back into the world. 

Happy National Poetry Month!!!

It’s April again which is National Poetry Month. It’s one of my favorite months, not just because I am a poet, but because I’ve always been a fan of poetry. 

In the years since I found out about National Poetry Month, I’ve always had lists of how I plan to celebrate and I usually never accomplish them. I always want to do a lot but don’t plan ahead or enough in advance which seems to be the case against in 2017. 

 So this year, I am doing something simple. I’m scaling it all the way back to enjoying and supporting the art form. In that vein, I will still be sharing poetry all month but these are my major plans for NPM in 2017:

Read More Poetry!

Buy More Poetry!

Support a poetic event!

Does anyone have plans for National Poetry Month? Any exciting events that you plan to participate in or attend?