Monday, February 11, 2013



Lord she's gone done left me done packed / up and split
and I with no way to make her
come back and everywhere the world is bare
bright bone white    crystal sand glistens
dope death dead dying and jiving drove
her away made her take her laughter and her smiles
and her softness and her midnight sighs—

Fuck Coltrane and music and clouds drifting in the sky
fuck the sea and trees and the sky and birds
and alligators and all the animals that roam the earth
fuck marx and mao fuck fidel and nkrumah and
democracy and communism fuck smack and pot
and red ripe tomatoes fuck joseph fuck mary fuck
god jesus and all the disciples fuck fanon nixon
and malcolm fuck the revolution fuck freedom fuck
the whole muthafucking thing
all i want now is my woman back
so my soul can sing


from Blues Poems
(Everyman's Library Pocket Poets)

For twenty years — through the 80s & 90s — I visited an all women's boarding school as a poet-in-residence for each year's winter term. It worked well with my other work as a builder and landscaper since these were the lean months for me financially, and it worked for the school because it brought something different into the English Dept. One more win-win. I would allow a day off for the sophomore class teachers since these were the classes I worked in from 8AM until 1PM, and then in the afternoon I conducted a two-hour writing seminar where I welcomed in all ages and scholarship — no prejudice. This is where we got to walk into a classroom and really shut the doors (and open the windows) and write and speak our minds, and we did. The classes were often explosive in size — chairs used up and students sitting on the radiators or windowsills. Good stuff. Anything that could be handled with care was allowed into the class and contributed. So in came guitars, notebooks, personal journals, art work, poetry, sports, complaints, wisdom. Since I shot baskets in the gym an hour before class, I met the jocks and the janitors, and in more ways than one they also were inducted into the class. I always brought poetry, and every year this poem by Etheridge Knight came and every time it received the same thrill response. It's important for young women or men to receive the heart and soul of other women and men.