Friday, February 19, 2010

lucille clifton...

of the 3 poets who have shaped my approach to writing,
alongside ishmael reed and haki madhubuti, mother lucille clifton
has always been the one to best balance message, emotion and craft: the 3
strongest elements, to me, defining 'black poetry' - an artform that has
recently shifted away from those core strengths in favor of
mainstream poetry's predominant aesthetic... ((clears th'oat))

i've never been one to to say the right things at the right time...
i usually cut straight to the point during the times when pointlessness
is the most expected sought after type of literary foreplay (when i do talk
too much i ramble/painfully obvious right about now)...

this is the poorest damn eulogizing ever!!!!!

i never met ms. clifton, but she remains an entity that i will carry forever within.
the act of pouring libations and setting up ancestral altars is for the remembrance and
continued acknowledgment of those most venerable to who we are and how we choose
to live - a recognition of those we deem the most worthy of being so-honored...

ms. clifton will always be welcomed in our home.

this is my favorite of her poems, and perhaps my most favorite of all poems:

"if i stand in my window"

if i stand in my window
naked in my own house
and press my breasts
against the windowpane
like black birds pushing against glass
because i am somebody
in a New Thing

and if the man come to stop me
in my own house
naked in my own window
saying i have offended him
i have offended his


let him watch my black body
push against my own glass
let him discover self
let him run naked through the streets
praying in tongues

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