Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

“Poem for a Gunman” – Soyini Ayanna Forde — Novel Niche: A Place for Books

May 16, 2018

I was quite thrilled to see my poem among those featured on #PuncheonandVetiver last month over at Novel Niche because “absolutely unmixed attention is prayer” and having someone dress the altar of your work so carefully is rare and it’s quite enjoyable to experience and also low-key strange but in a good way (talk about feeling writerly, oui). Being a writer also means being subject to criticism and I know not all of it would feel like this: ensconced in the celebratory month-long reflections of contemporary Caribbean writing.  

Sometimes, love takes you by the mouth. Both of them. Soyini Ayanna Forde‘s “Poem for a Gunman” tugs your underpinnings aside, curls urgency and sincerity upwards into your heart in slow, molasses-drugged strokes. The address of the poem is intimate, revelatory, confessional: we learn of a lover with “slow walk solid calf muscles nutmeg flesh […]

via “Poem for a Gunman” – Soyini Ayanna Forde — Novel Niche: A Place for Books

For Women Who Are Difficult To Love

March 21, 2012

“You are a horse running alone
and he tries to tame you . . .

you are terrifying
and strange and beautiful
something not everyone knows how to love.”

This feels like I’ve been looking for these words & knowing them almost all my life! Such beauty. Such achingly astute truth-telling.

Why you talk so white?

February 28, 2012

This right here.


via: Maya Wegerif

seen: poetic musings

May 28, 2011

Why Do So Few Blacks Study Creative Writing?

By: Cornelius Eady

Always the same, sweet hurt,
The understanding that settles in the eyes
Sooner or later, at the end of class,
In the silence pooling in the room.
Sooner or later it comes to this,

You stand face to face with your
Younger face and you have to answer
A student, a young woman this time,

And you’re alone in the class room
Or in your office, a day or so later,
And she has to know, if all music
Begins equal, why this poem of hers
Needed a passport, a glossary,

A disclaimer. It was as if I were…
What? Talking for the first time?
Giving yourself up? Away?
There are worlds, and there are worlds,
She reminds you. She needs to know
What’s wrong with me? and you want

To crowbar or spade her hurt
To the air. You want photosynthesis
To break it down to an organic language.
You want to shake I hear you
Into her ear, armor her life

With permission. Really, what
Can I say? That if she chooses
To remain here the term
Neighborhood will always have
A foreign stress, that there
Will always be the moment

The small, hard details
Of your life will be made
To circle their wagons?

things you sometimes have to ask yourself

May 24, 2011

“Aren’t you a dog anyway, / always groveling for love and begging to be petted?”

—from Kim Addonizio’s “Good Girl” (the first poem that I have ever read where I almost collapsed onto the page in tears. This poem man, on that day, just spoke to me for some reason. Spoke to my core).

February 21, 2011

“.. . . . . . . . . . . .

Warm hands pressed

onto the soft slick

of bare flesh,

and me thinking, how to cull

a piece of this

     So I slice clean,

leave no scars. Fold the skin,

tuck it away.

     Retrieve. Open. Remember.”

— from a poem of mine about something like love. Or memory. Or both.

more words to live by…

September 14, 2010

I was reading what Annie Finch (the director of my program) had to say about the state of American poetry in The Huffington Post and I was especially struck by this quote below, which is probably applicable to all kinds of creative art and every genre of writing. (Emphases are my own doing):

Poetic fashions change surprisingly fast, so don’t spend too much energy on them. Read everything aloud to yourself, get to know your poetic ear, and trust your own judgment. You will recognize the muse’s presence, not in thoughts or images, but when a voice whispers inside you and your body knows it is true. Carry a pad of paper with you everywhere and sleep with it by your bed. Learn all you can, read all you can, grow all you can, and always remember the muse comes first. Poetry is a sacred service, and your country needs you. So only do what feels right. Don’t waste poetic words. Revise.

more words to live by…

January 23, 2010

i am currently reading warrior poet: a biography of audre lorde and came across these words, from “her journal notes for 1975-76”, (bold & other emphases are my own) :

“I have a right to be black. I have a right to be different and I have a right to survive. I have a right to join with other different human beings who are also black. Blackness doesn’t mean we are one lump of chocolate poured on the face of eternity. Until each of us can love herself & himself, in all our contradictions, we will never survive as a people in this land because we will never survive as individuals” (p. 159).

bleeding. and ways to feed yourself with words.

July 18, 2009

a visiting writer read this poem today in a reading and panel discussion. and all i have to say about it is:


— yes, in all caps.

i was left feeling split open to the core in this strangely inexplicable way. i squirmed in my seat. it’s just such an incredibly profound poem on so many levels. it underscores the symbiotic fucked-up-ness of relationships, of life it seems.

if you haven’t, do read “bleeding” by may swenson here. gosh golly wow.

then there’s this, amazingly:

my dream about being white

by lucille clifton

hey music and
only white,
hair a flutter of
fall leaves
circling my perfect
line of a nose,
no lips,
no behind, hey
white me
and i’m wearing
white history
but there’s no future
in those clothes
so i take them off and
wake up
read more about her here.

criteria: or why one should not become emotionally/romantically/sexually involved with particular individuals

December 14, 2008

1. shredded slivers of past lover’s heart are clearly embedded in spaces between teeth but person claims that this is chicken

2. you each have competing versions of what constitutes reality

3. people who know them look past you with hollow eyes when it is announced that you are indeed involved with this particular individual

4. people who know them are in fact excruciatingly and overwhelming nice, sweet and welcoming of you into the fold after having just met you only once, as though trying to make you steelier for some impending tragedy

5. person squirms a lot

 6. person just has way too many friends, whether of the opposite sex or not and is not reclusive enough

7. when things implode into the proverbial shit storm, you marvel at that irony that you can at long last place what that stench was

8. person has a long track record of exes that are never to be seen again, shrouded in a cloud of mystery and offers little or no details upon inquiry

9. person is never reciprocal—ever

10. person’s family members always strike you as being embroiled in some kind of vicious inner turmoil, as though they really long to tell you something but just, can’t