4 April 2017

This week's poem: "Still I rise"

Whatever you do, she rises. Maya Angelou. You may do this or that to her, she rises, and you couldn't do much about it. Someone recently called her a "ho", and still she rises. I enjoy Maya's poetry for the way she finds a vein and then mines it, gets all the juice there is in it, and uses it to slap the infidel. After which she continues to rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?

That's just the kind of question to ask, isn't it? In this poem, Maya asks questions. And if it's not her sassiness that gets up your nose, then what is it? What's getting you hot under the collar? Why are you upset, mean, illogical, idiotic. Is it her? Has she done anything wrong? And since she knows she hasn't done anything wrong, she asks, ...

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?

HUGH MASEKELA - Don't Go Lose It Baby

Maya Angelou's "We Had Him"

Beloveds, now we know that we know nothing, now that our bright and shining star can slip away from our fingertips like a puff of summer wind.

Without notice, our dear love can escape our doting embrace. Sing our songs among the stars and walk our dances across the face of the moon.

In the instant that Michael is gone, we know nothing. No clocks can tell time. No oceans can rush our tides with the abrupt absence of our treasure.

Though we are many, each of us is achingly alone, piercingly alone.

Only when we confess our confusion can we remember that he was a gift to us, and we did have him.

He came to us from the creator, trailing creativity in abundance.

Despite the anguish, his life was sheathed in mother love, family love, and survived and did more than that.

He thrived with passion and compassion, humor and style. We had him whether we knew who he was or did not know, he was ours and we were his.

We had him, beautiful, delighting our eyes.

His hat, aslant over his brow, and took a pose on his toes for all of us.

And we laughed and stomped our feet, for him.

We were enchanted with his passion because he held nothing. He gave us all he had been given.

Today in Tokyo, beneath the Eiffel Tower, in Ghana’s Black Star Square,

In Johannesburg and Pittsburgh, in Birmingham, Alabama, and Birmingham, England,

We are missing Michael Jackson.

But we do know we had him, and we are the world.


3 March 2017

Yellow girl blues

My Mama she done told me
she tell me every day
no mind your skin is yellow
you're a nigger anyway.

Yellow girl blues
yellow girl blues.
I walking up the muddy road
in my sampata shoes.

So I grew up a nigger
please check on my behind
my mouth, my nose, my curly
hair – I'm glad to know my kind.

Yellow girl blues
yellow girl blues.
I’m walking on the muddy road
in my sampata shoes.

And I go to America
and join in all the fights
sit in and demonstrate
and go to jail for Civil Rights.

Yellow girl blues
yellow girl blues.
I walk through so much macca
there's holes in all my shoes.

Dr King say it don't matter,
he say we all is one –
the hose don't know the difference,
nor the truncheon, nor the gun.

Yellow girl blues
yellow girl blues.
I feel the firewater
and I run away in my shoes.

Now I come north to Canada
my story it is true
they look me in my face and say
"White woman, who is you?"

Yellow girl blues
yellow girl blues.
I walking in the macca still
and my own take way my shoes...

--Pamela Mordecai