Ntozake Shange On Magic

F2838FD6-DFD6-4FF1-9332-8892A548259FNtozake Shange (October 18, 1948 – October 27, 2018)

my father is a retired magician
which accounts for my irregular behavior
everythin comes outta magic hats
or bottles wit no bottoms & parakeets
are as easy to get as a couple a rabbits
or 3 fifty cent pieces/ 1958

my daddy retired from magic & took
up another trade cuz this friend of mine
from the 3rd grade asked to be made white
on the spot

what cd any self-respectin colored american magician
do wit such a outlandish request/ cept
put all them razzamatazz hocus pocus zippity-do-dah
thingamajigs away    cuz
colored chirren believin in magic
waz becomin politically dangerous for the race
& waznt nobody gonna be made white
on the spot just
from a clap of my daddy’s hands

& the reason i’m so peculiar’s
cuz i been studyin up on my daddy’s technique
& everythin i do is magic these days
& it’s very colored
very now you see it/ now you
dont mess wit me
i come from a family of retired
sorcerers/ active houngans & pennyante fortune tellers
wit 41 million spirits critturs & celestial bodies
on our side
i’ll listen to yr problems
help wit yr career yr lover yr wanderin spouse
make yr grandma’s stay in heaven more gratifyin
ease yr mother thru menopause & show yr son
how to clean his room

YES YES YES    3 wishes is all you get
scarlet ribbons for yr hair
benwa balls via hong kong
a miniature of machu picchu

all things are possible
but aint no colored magician in her right mind
gonna make you white
i mean
this is blk magic
you lookin at
& i’m fixin you up good/ fixin you up good n colored
& you gonna be colored all yr life
& you gonna love it/ bein colored/ all yr life/ colored & love it
love it/ bein colored/

Photo Credit: Cast photo from the movie “Colored Girls.” Each of the women portray one of the characters represented in the collection of twenty poems, revealing different issues that impact women in general and women of color in particular. Directed by Tyler Perry. Original play by Ntozake Shange. (Source IMDb)

Watch the trailer For Colored Girls here.

Note: Ntozake Shange and I were classmates at Trenton Central High School (1963 – 1966). I was her escort to the Debutant Ball. 🌹In Memoriam my friend.🌹

Kahlil Gibran On Love

6e590-img_8009Kahlil Gibran (January 6, 1883 – April 10, 1931)

And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

Fleur Adcock On Weathering

 Fleur Adcock (February 10, 1934 -) Fleur Adcock (February 10, 1934 -)

Literally thin-skinned, I suppose, my face
catches the wind off the snow-line and flushes
with a flush that will never wholly settle. Well:
that was a metropolitan vanity,
wanting to look young for ever, to pass.

I was never a pre-Raphaelite beauty
nor anything but pretty enough to satisfy
men who need to be seen with passable women.
But now that I am in love with a place
which doesn’t care how I look, or if I’m happy,

happy is how I look, and that’s all.
My hair will grow grey in any case,
my nails chip and flake, my waist thicken,
and the years work all their usual changes.
If my face is to be weather-beaten as well

that’s little enough lost, a fair bargain
for a year among the lakes and fells, when simply
to look out of my window at the high pass
makes me indifferent to mirrors and to what
my soul may wear over its new complexion.

Listen to Fleur Adcock read “Weathering,” here.

Mary Oliver On One Or Two Things

    Mary Oliver   (September 10, 1935 -)
  Mary Oliver (September 10, 1935 -)

1

Don’t bother me.
I’ve just
been born.

2

The butterfly’s loping flight
carries it through the country of the leaves
delicately, and well enough to get it
where it wants to go, wherever that is, stopping
here and there to fuzzle the damp throats
of flowers and the black mud; up
and down it swings, frenzied and aimless; and sometimes
for long delicious moments it is perfectly
lazy, riding motionless in the breeze on the soft stalk
of some ordinary flower.

3

The god of dirt
came up to me many times and said
so many wise and delectable things, I lay
on the grass listening
to his dog voice,
crow voice,
frog voice; now,
he said, and now,
and never once mentioned forever,

4

which has nevertheless always been,
like a sharp iron hoof,
at the center of my mind.

5

One or two things are all you need
to travel over the blue pond, over the deep
roughage of the trees and through the stiff
flowers of lightning—some deep
memory of pleasure, some cutting
knowledge of pain.

6

But to lift the hoof!
For that you need
an idea.

7

For years and years I struggled
just to love my life. And then
the butterfly
rose, weightless, in the wind.
“Don’t love your life
too much,” it said,
and vanished
into the world.

 

🎂Happy Birthday Mary Oliver  (September 10, 1935 -)🎂

Ted Hughes On Poetry

   Ted Hughes   (August 17, 1930 - October 28, 1998)
Ted Hughes (August 17, 1930 – October 28, 1998)

The inmost spirit of poetry, in other words, is at bottom, in every recorded case, the voice of pain — and the physical body, so to speak, of poetry, is the treatment by which the poet tries to reconcile that pain with the world.

 

🎂Happy Birthday Ted Hughes (August 17, 1930 – October 28, 1998) In Memoriam🌹 

Ella Wheeler Wilcox On Protest

   Ella Wheeler Wilcox   (November 5, 1850–October 30, 1919)
Ella Wheeler Wilcox (November 5, 1850–October 30, 1919)

To sin by silence, when we should protest,
Makes cowards out of men. The human race
Has climbed on protest. Had no voice been raised
Against injustice, ignorance, and lust,
The inquisition yet would serve the law,
And guillotines decide our least disputes.
The few who dare, must speak and speak again
To right the wrongs of many. Speech, thank God,
No vested power in this great day and land
Can gag or throttle. Press and voice may cry
Loud disapproval of existing ills;
May criticise oppression and condemn
The lawlessness of wealth-protecting laws
That let the children and childbearers toil
To purchase ease for idle millionaires.

Therefore I do protest against the boast
Of independence in this mighty land.
Call no chain strong, which holds one rusted link.
Call no land free, that holds one fettered slave.
Until the manacled slim wrists of babes
Are loosed to toss in childish sport and glee,
Until the mother bears no burden, save
The precious one beneath her heart, until
God’s soil is rescued from the clutch of greed
And given back to labor, let no man
Call this the land of freedom.

Listen to a reading of the poem Protest by Winston Bart from Poems Cafe here.

Arthur Rimbaud On My Bohemian Life

 

   Arthur Rimbaud    (October 20, 1854 – November 10, 1891)
Arthur Rimbaud   (October 20, 1854 – November 10, 1891)

My Bohemian Life by Arthur Rimbaud

I went off with my hands in my torn coat pockets;
My overcoat too was becoming ideal;
I travelled beneath the sky, Muse! and I was your vassal;
Oh dear me! what marvelous loves I dreamed of!
My only pair of breeches had a big whole in them.
– Stargazing Tom Thumb, I sowed rhymes along my way.
My tavern was at the Sign of the Great Bear.
– My stars in the sky rustled softly.
And I listened to them, sitting on the road-sides
On those pleasant September evenings while I felt drops
Of dew on my forehead like vigorous wine;
And while, rhyming among the fantastical shadows,
I plucked like the strings of a lyre the elastics
Of my tattered boots, one foot close to my heart!