Natalie Diaz is a (Girl Power Academy) featured Poet recommendation:

Natalie Diaz (Poet)

Pima and Mojave, and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian community, Natalie Diaz was born and raised in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California. She earned her BA from Old Dominion University, where she received a full athletic scholarship and majored in English and Women’s Studies. She went on to play basketball professionally in Europe and Asia before returning to Old Dominion to earn an MFA in Creative Writing.

Diaz’ view both embraces and subverts mythology, simultaneously conveying Mojave, Spanish, and American folklore.

Diaz’s work was chosen by Natasha Trethewey to appear in Best New Poets 2007 and has been published in such journals as Prairie Schooner and Iowa Review. Her many awards include the Nimrod/Hardman Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, the Louis Untermeyer Scholarship in Poetry from Bread Loaf, the Narrative Poetry Prize, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship. Diaz currently directs a language revitalization program, where she works with the last four fluent speakers Mojave speakers. The project was highlighted, along with her book, on the “PBS News Hour.”

THE FIRST WATER IS THE BODY

(written by Natalie Diaz)


The Colorado River
is the most endangered river in the United Statesalso, it is a part of my body.

I carry a river. It is who I am: Aha Makav.

This is not metaphor.

When a Mojave says, Inyech Aha Makavch ithuum, we are saying our name. We are telling a story of our existence. The river runs through the middle of my body.

So far, I have said the word river in every stanza. I don’t want to waste water. I must preserve the river in my body.

In future stanzas, I will try to be more conservative.

~

The Spanish called us, Mojave. Colorado, the name they gave our river because it was silt-red-thick.

Natives have been called red forever. I have never met a red native, not even on my reservation, not even at the National Museum of the American Indian, not even at the largest powwow in Parker, Arizona.

I live in the desert along a dammed blue river. The only red people I’ve seen are white tourists sunburned after being out on the water too long.

~

Aha Makav is the true name of our people, given to us by our Creator who loosed the river from the earth and built it, into our living bodies.

Translated into English, Aha Makav means the river runs through the middle of our body, the same way it runs through the middle of our land.

This is a poor translation, like all translations.

In American minds, the logic of this image will lend itself to surrealism or magical realism—

Americans prefer a magical red Indian, or a shaman, or a fake Indian in a red dress, over a real native. Even a real native carrying the dangerous and heavy blues of a river in her body. 

What threatens white people is often dismissed as myth.

I have never been true in America. America is my myth.

~

Derrida says, Every text remains in mourning until it is translated.

When Mojaves say the word for tears, we return to our word for river, as if our river were flowing from our eyes. Agreat weeping, is how you might translate it. Or, a river of grief.

But who is this translation for? And will they come to my language’s four-night funeral to grieve what has beenlost in my efforts at translation? When they have drunk dry my river will they join the mourning procession across our bleached desert?

The word for drought is different across many languages and lands.

The ache of thirst, though, translates to all bodies along the same paths—the tongue and the throat. No matter what language you speak, no matter the color of your skin.

~

We carry the river, its body of water, in our body.

I do not mean to imply a visual relationship. Such as: a native woman on her knees holding a box of Land O’Lakes butter whose label has a picture of a native woman on her knees holding a box of Land O’Lakes butter whose label has a picture of a native woman on her knees . . .

We carry the river, its body of water, in our body. I do not mean to invoke the Droste effect.

I mean river as a verb. A happening. It is moving within me right now.

~

This is not juxtaposition. Body and water are not two unlike things—they are more than close together or side by side. They are samebody, being, energy, prayer, current, motion, medicine.

This knowing comes from acknowledging the human body has more than six senses. The body is beyond six senses. Is sensual. Is always an ecstatic state of energy, is always on the verge of praying, or entering any river of movement.

Energy is a moving like a river moving my moving body.

~

In Mojave thinking, body and land are the same. The words are separated only by letters: iimat for body, amat for land. In conversation, we often use a shortened form for each: mat-. Unless you know the context of a conversation, you might not know if we are speaking about our body or our land. You might not know which has been injured, which is remembering, which is alive, which was dreamed, which needs care, which has vanished.

If I say, My river is disappearing, do I also mean, My people are disappearing?

~

How can I translate—not in words but in belief—that a river is a body, as alive as you or I, that there can be no life without it?

~

John Berger wrote true translation is not a binary affair between two languages but a triangular affair. The third point of the triangle being what lay behind the words of the original text before it was written. True translation demands a return to the pre-verbal.

Between the English translation I offered, and the urging I felt to first type Aha Makav in the lines above, is not the point where this story ends or begins.

We must go to the place before those two pointswe must go to the third place that is the river.

We must go to the point of the lance our creator stabbed into the earth, and the first river bursting from that clay body into mine. We must submerge beneath those once warm red waters now channeled-blue and cool, the current’s endless yards of emerald silk wrapping the body and moving it, swift enough to take life or give it.

We must go until we smell the black-root-wet anchoring the river’s mud banks.

~

What is this third point, this place beyond the surface, if not the deep-cut and crooked bone-bed where the Colorado River runs—like a one thousand four hundred and fifty mile thirst—into and through a body?

Berger called it the pre-verbal. Pre-verbal as in the body when the body was more than body. Before it could name itself body and be limited to the space body indicated.

Pre-verbal is the place where the body was yet a green-blue energy greening, greened, and bluing the stone, the floodwaters, the razorback fish, the beetle, and the cottonwoods’ and willows’ shaded shadows.

Pre-verbal was when the body was more than a body and possible.

One of its possibilities was to hold a river within it.

~

A river is a body of water. It has a foot, an elbow, a mouth. It runs. It lies in a bed. It can make you good. It remembers everything.

~

America is a land of bad math and science: the Right believes Rapture will save them from the violence they are delivering upon the earth and water; the Left believes technology, the same technology wrecking the earth and water, will save them from the wreckage or help them build a new world on Mars.

~

If I was created to hold the Colorado River, to carry its rushing inside me, how can I say who I am if the river is gone?

What does Aha Makav mean if the river is emptied to the skeleton of its fish and the miniature sand dunes of its dry silten beds?

If the river is a ghost, am I?

Unsoothable thirst is one type of haunting.

~

A phrase popular or more known to non-natives during the Standing Rock encampment was, Water is the first medicine. It is true.

Where I come from we cleanse ourselves in the river. Not like a bath with soap. I mean: the water makes us strongand able to move forward into what is set before us to do with good energy.

We cannot live good, we cannot live at all, without water.

If we poison and use up our water, how will we cleanse ourselves of these sins?

~

To thirst and to drink is how one knows they are alive, and grateful.

To thirst and then not drink is . . .

~

If your builder could place a small red bird in your chest to beat as your heart, is it so hard for you to picture the blue river hurtling inside the slow muscled curves of my long body? Is it too difficult to believe it is as sacred as a breath or a star or a sidewinder or your own mother or your lover?

If I could convince you, would our brown bodies and our blue rivers be more loved and less ruined?

The Whanganui River in New Zealand now has the same legal rights of a human being. In India, the Ganges and Yamuna rivers now have the same legal status of a human being. Slovenia’s constitution now declares access to clean drinking water to be a national human right. While in the US, we are tear-gassing and rubber-bulleting and kenneling natives who are trying to protect their water from pollution and contamination at Standing Rock in North Dakota. We have yet to discover what the effects of lead-contaminated water will be on the children of Flint, Michigan, who have been drinking it for years.

~

We think of our bodies as being all that we are: I am my body. This thinking helps us disrespect water, air, land, one another. But water is not external from our body, our self.

My Elder says: Cut off your ear, and you will live. Cut off your hand, you will live. Cut off your leg, you can still live. Cut off our water: we will not live more than a week.

The water we drink, like the air we breathe, is not a part of our body but is our body. What we do to one—to the body, to the water—we do to the other.

~

Toni Morrison writes, All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was. Back to the body of earth, of flesh, back to the mouth, the throat, back to the womb, back to the heart, to its blood, back to our grief, back back back to when we were more than we have lately become.

Will we soon remember from where we’ve come? The water.

And once remembered, will we return to that first water, and in doing so return to ourselves, to each other, better and cleaner?

Do you think the water will forget what we have done, what we continue to do?

—Natalie Diaz (Natalie Diaz is a Mojave and Pima language activist. She grew up at Fort Mojave along the Colorado River.)

Read more poetry by and view photographs of “Women of Standing Rock” in the Orion Magazine here: https://orionmagazine.org/article/women-standing-rock/

 

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Ashlee Haze is a (Girl Power Academy) featured Poet recommendation:

Ashlee Haze “For Colored Girls (the Missy Elliot Poem) Button Poetry performance is being posted here for NO COMMERCIAL PURPOSES.

“…When Missy Elliot is Enuf…”

Reference to:  A Laying on of Hands Poem by Ntozake Shange from “for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf”

https://girlpoweracademy.wordpress.com/2017/02/25/ntozake-shange-is-a-girl-power-academy-featured-poet-recommendation/

Subscribe to Button! New video daily: http://bit.ly/buttonpoetry

***

the Missy Elliot “Pass That Dutch” (Music Video) is being posted here for Music Inspiration and for NO COMMERCIAL PURPOSES.

Missy Elliot “Pass That Dutch” (with baby girl interlude intro) LYRICS:
[Missy] (Mary)
Ay yo Mary, I need you to vibe with me on this one
Uh, uh, check it
As I grab my pad and pen and talk from within
Oh God, my eyes, water like a preacher who sins
I’m only human but
The world has put me on a platform
Since the day I was born to only wait for my downfall
But like a brick wall I’m too hard to break
Okay I do make mistakes but I’m the realest from the fake
That’s why I’m the hardest to hate
Aaliyah, baby girl, I’ve learned to love those while they’re still awake
Sleep, asleep
And prepare a place for those who are good
In the projects and hood, gifted or misunderstood
I know Lisa, Pac and Biggie and Jay and Pun are still number one
There will be more of us to come (ohh)
I am a leader, a teacher, a guider (ooh)
Like a single parent provider (ooh)
Putting back those hip-hop dividers
Like a priest with a back slider
I’ve sinned but I win
And anyone we’ve lost in life or nine eleven
We’ll be sure to see again (ooh, hoo)[Mary]
What you hear is not a test (ooh)
I’m rocking to the beat (I’m rocking to the beat)
See me and my crew and my friends (and)
We’re gonna try to move your feet (move around, move around)
See I am Mary Blige (yes I am)
And I’d like to say hello (thank you for inviting me)
To the black to the white, the read and the brown
The purple and yellow (everybody)
But first you gotta, but first you gotta
***

Listen up everyone! We have been just informed
That there’s an unknown virus that’s attacking all clubs
Symptoms have been said to be, heaving breathing
Wild dancing, coughing
So when you hear the sound, WHO-DI-WHOOOO!
Run for cover muthafucka.
WOOOOOO! Ahh daddy! Ooooo! Ah! Oh, ooh!
Pass that dutch (ah), pass that dutch (ooh)
Pass that dutch (ah), pass that dutch (ah)
Pass that dutch (ah), pass that dutch (ah)
Pass that dutch (whoo), pass that dutch

Misdemeanor on the flow, pretty boy here I come
Pumps in the bunk make you want to hurt something
I can take your man I don’t have to sex em
Hang em out the window call me Micheal Jackson (hehehee!)
I’m a pain in your rectum, I am that bitch y’all slept on
Heavy hitter, rhyme spitter, call me Re-Run
Hey hey hey, I’m what’s happ’nin
Hypnotic in my drink (that’s right!)
Shake ya ass till it stink (that’s right!)
Mr. Mos’ on the beat (that’s right!)
Put it down for the streets (that’s right!)

Pass that dutch, pass that dutch
Pass that dutch, pass that dutch, pass that dutch
Come on pass the dutch baby! (ahh!)
Shake-shake shake ya stuff ladies!
(WHO-DI-WHOOOOOOOOOOOOO!)
Pass that dutch, pass that dutch
Pass that dutch, pass that dutch
Pop that, pop that, jiggle that fat (ahh!)
Don’t stop, get it till ya clothes get wet

Number one, drums go bump, bump, bump
This beat here will make you hoomp, boomp, jump
If you’s a fat one, put your clothes back on
Before you start putting pot holes in my lawn
Oh my God, show em I’m large
Shove my beat up, attack like my name was Saddam
I am the bomb from New York to Milan
And I can write a song sicker than Jeffrey Dahm’
(Woop woop!) Don’t touch my car alarm
Break in my car you will hear “Viper Armed”
I’ve been a superstar since Daddy Kane was raw
I’m live on stage, c’mon and give me some applause
“Thank you! Oh thank you, you all are so wonderful!”

Pass that dutch, pass that dutch
Pass that dutch, pass that dutch, pass that dutch
Come on pass the dutch baby! (ahh!)
Shake-shake shake ya stuff ladies!
(WHO-DI-WHOOOOOOOOOOOOO!)
Pass that dutch, pass that dutch
Pass that dutch, pass that dutch
Pop that, pop that, jiggle that fat (ahh!)
Don’t stop, get it till ya clothes get wet

Listen up muthafuckas, you have five seconds to catch your breath.
Five, four, three, two, one

Pop that, pop that, make that money
Just keep it going, like the Energizer Bunny
Shake that, shake that, move it all around
Spank that, yank that, dutch back now
Freak him, freak her, whatever ya choice
Didn’t come to judge, I came to get ya moist
Scream, (WHO-DI-WHOOOOOOO!) now my voice is lost
Can I get a ride on the white horse?

Pass that dutch, pass that dutch
Pass that dutch, pass that dutch, pass that dutch
Come on pass the dutch baby! (ahh!)
Shake-shake shake ya stuff ladies!
(WHO-DI-WHOOOOOOOOOOOOO!)
Pass that dutch, pass that dutch
Pass that dutch, pass that dutch
Pop that, pop that, jiggle that fat (ahh!)
Don’t stop, get it till ya clothes get wet

Pop that
Pass the dutch baby!
Jiggle that fat

(Wake Up) exit lyrics:

[Intro: Missy Elliott (& Jay-Z)]
Eh yo Hov, tell em, hip hop betta wake up
(Yeah, turn the muhfuckin music up
Yeah, turn the muhfuckin music up)

[Verse 1: Missy Elliott]
Motherfuckers betta wake up, stop sellin crack to the black
Hope you bought a spare for your flat
Can’t accept me talkin real facts
Down the hill like Jill and Jack, I speak what yah weak mind lacks
Yah heard that
I’m creative to the fullest
What you talkin bout Willis
Cause your talkin never kill it
I hear but don’t feel it
Thou ain’t realest, you just sweet meat in the village
Yeah I’m a Don Diva Don Niva
Y’all not seen her, heater squeezed into a wife beater
Yep I’m a top leader, I got the Martin Luther King fever
I’ma feed ya, watch ya teacher, need to preach ya

It’s time to get serious, black people all areas
Who gon carry us? It ain’t time to bury us
Cause music be our first love, say ‘I Do’ let’s cherish it

[Hook]
If you dont gotta gun (its alright)
If yah makin legal money, (its alright)
If you gotta keep yah clothes on, (its alright)
You ain’t got a cellular phone, (its alright)
And yah wheels dont spin, (its alright)
And you gotta wear them jeans again, (its alright)
Yeah if you tried oh well, (its alright)
MC’s stop the beef lets sell, (its alright)

[Verse 2: Missy Elliott]
Hip-Hop better wake up, the bed to make ups
Some of y’all be faker than a drag on make up
Got issues to take up, before we break up
Like Electra let go, Missy Anita Baker
I love Jacob but jewelry won’t fix my place up
Gotta stay up, studio nights to cake up
Now check my flavor, rich folks is now my neighbors
I got cable, now check out how I made my paper
Hip-Hop don’t stop, be my Lifesaver
Like Kobe and Shaq if they left Lakers
I’m like an elevator DJ on the crossfader
Black people wake up and see your ass later

[Hook]

[Verse 3: Jay-Z]
I need rims that don’t listen and a booming system
First piece of change I see, I’m gon get one
745 no license to drive
I ain’t even got a home, I guess I’ll live in my ride
Fuck it!… (“rewind” – *echoes*)
“I can hear myself, but I can’t feel myself
I’m wanna feel myself like Tweet
745 no license to drive
I ain’t even got a home, I guess I’ll live in my ride
Fuck it, couple karats in the ear won’t hurt
Need a nice chain, laying on this thousand dollar shirt
Evisu Jeans cover the rectum, my kick game just like David Beckham
Anybody in my way, I wet them
I’mma be this way till the cops come catch ’em
Till detectives sketch em
On the sidewalk wit chalk, New York’s infections
Till I got taught a lesson
Couple niggas gone, couple went Corrections, Emory Got 10

Ty got 15, nigga even my kin
Got five years bringin nineteen in
But just think I used to think like them

Now they gotta live through the pictures that I send them in the pen
Hope you don’t start ya life where I end…
WAKE UP! WAKE UP [x15]

[Hook]

“Pass The Dutch” Written by Timothy Mosley, David Jolicoeur, Vincent Mason, Kelvin Mercer, Paul Huston, Thomas Allen, Harold Brown, Morris Dickerson, Gerald Goldstein, Leroy Jordan, Lee Levitin, Charles Miller, Howard Scott, Missy Elliott • Copyright © EMI Music Publishing, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group

Emtithal “Emi” Mahmoud is a (Girl Power Academy) featured Poet recommendation:

Emtithal “Emi” Mahmoud writes poetry of resilience, confronting her experience of escaping the genocide in Darfur in verse. She shares two stirring original poems about refugees, family, joy and sorrow, asking, “Will you witness me?”

The TED Talks channel features the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less).

Follow TED on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/TED

Dominique Christina is (a Girl Power Academy) featured Poet recommendation

Dominique Christina “The Period Poem”  SlamFind (performance poetry video) SlamFind is a free performance poetry mobile app that allows you to easily find every poetry slam & poetry-friendly open mic in North America. 

For more Dominique Christina, check out her book, The Bones, The Breaking, The Balm: A Colored Girl’s Hymnal, available now through Penmanship Books: 

http://penmanshipbooks.com/shop/the-bones-the-breaking-the-balm/

Transcript:

So let me be very clear. I wrote this poem with a very specific intent. I have a 13 year old daughter. It is important to me that I throw every part of my experience, whatever wisdom I’ve gleaned from that, every part of my backbone, toward her, to sustain her, to offer her language that lifts her up and keeps her up.

That said, there is for me, a necessary conversation that seeks to undermine the shaming that happens to some girls around menstruation. I had that experience of starting my period in 7th grade, boys, finding out that I had started my period. And then it was some shit, like I’ve been to class with the frantic, “I’ve got to go to the bathroom now,” waved and they’re like, “You’re on your period, aren’t you?” You know, that dumb shit.

And so then my daughter, like she starts her period and she’s stricken and walks out the bathroom looking like she’s died or something, and I wanted to undermine that. So I threw her a period party, my home is red up, dressed in red, and there was red food and red drinks. It was great.

[Applause]

It was great. So all red, everything. I loved it. So, that’s what it was and it was wonderful. And then, when I was in Austin, Texas for Women of the World this year, she sent me a screenshot of a tweet and in 140 characters, this dummy, damn their, undermined my legacy. This is my response to the aforementioned today. You’re welcome.

The dude on Twitter says: “I was having sex with my girlfriend when she started her period, I dumped that bitch immediately.”

Dear nameless dummy on Twitter: You’re the reason my daughter cried funeral tears when she started her period. The sudden grief all young girls feel after the matriculation from childhood, and the induction into a reality that they don’t have to negotiate, you and your disdain for what a woman’s body can do. Herein begins an anatomy lesson infused with feminist politics because I hate you.

There is a thing called the uterus. It sheds itself every 28 days or so, or in my case every 23 days, I’ve always been a rule breaker. That’s the anatomy part of it, I digress.

The feminist politic part, is that women know how to let things go, how to let a dying thing leave the body, how to become new, how to regenerate, how to wax and wane, not unlike the moon and tides, both of which influence how you behave, I digress. [laughter]

Women have vaginas that can speak to each other and by this I mean, when we’re with our friends, our sisters, our mothers, our menstrual cycles will actually sync the fuck up. My own cervix is mad influential, everybody I love knows how to bleed with me. Hold on to that, there’s a metaphor in it. [applause]

Hold on to that. But when your mother carried you, the ocean in her belly is what made you buoyant, made you possible. You had it under your tongue when you burst through her skin, wet and panting from the heat of her body, the body whose machinery you now mock on social media, that body, wrapped you in everything that was miraculous about, and then sung you lullabies laced in platelets, without which you wouldn’t have no Twitter account at all motherfucker. I digress.

See, it’s possible that we know the world better because of the blood that visits some of us. It interrupts our favorite white skirts, and shows up at dinner parties unannounced, blood will do that, period. It will come when you are not prepared for it; blood does that, period. Blood is the biggest siren, and we understand that blood misbehaves, it does not wait for a hand signal, or a welcome sign above the door. And when you deal in blood over and over again like we do, when it keeps returning to you, well, that makes you a warrior.

And while all good generals know not to discuss battle plans with the enemy, let me say this to you, dummy on Twitter, If there’s any balance in the universe at all, you’re going to be blessed with daughters. Blessed.

Etymologically, bless means to make bleed. See, now it’s a lesson in linguistics. In other words, blood speaks, that’s the message, stay with me. See, your daughters will teach you what all men must one day come to know, that women, made of moonlight magic and macabre, will make you know the blood. We’re going to get it all over the sheets and car seats, we’re going to do that. We’re going to introduce you to our insides, period and if you are as unprepared as we sometimes are, it will get all over you and leave a forever stain.

So to my daughter: Should any fool mishandle that wild geography of your body, how it rides a red running current like any good wolf or witch, well then just bleed, boo. Get that blood a biblical name, something of stone and mortar. Name it after Eve’s first rebellion in that garden, name it after the last little girl to have her genitals mutilated in Kinshasa, that was this morning. Give it as many syllables as there are unreported rape cases.

Name the blood something holy, something mighty, something unlanguageable, something in hieroglyphs, something that sounds like the end of the world. Name it for the war between your legs, and for the women who will not be nameless here. Just bleed anyhow, spill your impossible scripture all over the good furniture. Bleed, and bleed, and bleed on everything he loves, period.

Ntozake Shange is (a Girl Power Academy) featured Poet recommendation

Poet Ntozake Shange reading at the Global Fund for Women
Poet Ntozake Shange reading at the Global Fund for Women

Ntozake Shange was born Paulette Williams into an upper middle-class African-American family. Her father was an Air Force surgeon and her mother a psychiatric social worker. Cultural icons like Dizzie Gillepsie, Miles Davis and W.E.B. DuBois were regular guests in the Williams home. Shange attended Barnard College and UCLA, earning both a bachelors and master degree in American Studies. Shange’s college years were difficult, however, and frustrated and hurt after separating from her first husband, she attempted suicide several times before focusing her rage against the limitations society imposes on black women. While earning a master’s degree, she reaffirmed her personal strength based on a self-determined identity and took her African name, which means “she who comes with her own things” and she “who walks like a lion.” Since then she has sustained a triple career as an educator, a performer/director, and a writer whose work draws heavily on her experiences of being a black female in America.

To learn more about the poet check out: 

Poetry Foundation Bio for Ntozake Shange

“Enuf” Poem by Ntozake Shange
at 4:30 AM
she rose
movin the arms & legs that trapped her
she sighed affirmin the sculptured man
& made herself a bath
of dark musk oil egyptian crystals
& florida water to remove his smell
to wash away the glitter
to watch the butterflies melt into
suds & the rhinestones fall beneath
her buttocks like smooth pebbles
in a missouri creek
layin in water
she became herself
ordinary
brown braided woman
with big legs & full hips
reglar
seriously intendin to finish her
night’s work
she quickly walked to her guest
straddled on her pillows & began
æyou’ll have to go now /
i’ve
a lot of work to do / & i
cant
with a man around / here
are yr pants /
there’s coffee on the
stove / it’s been
very nice / but i cant see
you again /
you got what you came
for / didnt you’
& she smiled
he wd either mumble curses bout crazy bitches
or sit dumbfounded
while she repeated
æi cdnt possibly wake up / with
a strange man in my bed / why
dont you go home’
she cda been slapped upside the head
or verbally challenged
but she never waz
& the ones who fell prey to the
dazzle of hips painted with
orange blossoms & magnolia scented wrists
had wanted no more
than to lay between her sparklin thighs
& had planned on leaving before dawn
& she had been so divine
devastatingly bizarre the way
her mouth fit round
& now she stood a
reglar colored girl
fulla the same malice
livid indifference as a sistah
worn from supportin a wd be hornplayer
or waiting by the window
& they knew
& left in a hurry
she wd gather her tinsel &
jewels from the tub
& laugh gayly or vengeful
she stored her silk roses by her bed
& when she finished writin
the account of her exploit in a diary
embroidered with lilies & moonstones
she placed the rose behind her ear
& cried herself to sleep.


“Sorry” Poem by Ntozake Shange

one thing i don’t need
is any more apologies
i got sorry greetin me at my front door
you can keep yrs
i don’t know what to do wit em
they dont open doors
or bring the sun back
they dont make me happy
or get a mornin paper
didnt nobody stop usin my tears to wash cars
cuz a sorry

i am simply tired
of collectin
i didnt know
i was so important toyou
i’m gonna haveta throw some away
i cant get to the clothes in my closet
for alla the sorries
i’m gonna tack a sign to my door
leave a message by the phone
‘if you called
to say yr sorry
call somebody
else
i dont use em anymore’
i let sorry/ didnt meanta/ & how cd i know abt that
take a walk down a dark & musty street in brooklyn
i’m gonna do exactly what i want to
& i wont be sorry for none of it
letta sorry soothe yr soul/ i’m gonna soothe mine
you were always inconsistent
doin somethin & then bein sorry
beatin my heart to death
talkin bout you sorry
well
i will not call
i’m not goin to be nice
i will raise my voice
& scream & holler
& break things & race the engine
& tell all yr secrets bout yrself to yr face
& i will list in detail everyone of my wonderful lovers
& their ways
i will play oliver lake
loud
& i wont be sorry for none of it
i loved you on purpose
i was open on purpose
i still crave vulnerability & close talk
& i’m not even sorry bout you bein sorry
you can carry all the guilt & grime ya wanna
just dont give it to me
i cant use another sorry
next time
you should admit
you’re mean/ low-down/ triflin/ & no count straight out
steada bein sorry alla the time
enjoy bein yrself

ntozake-shange-book-cover

A Laying on of Hands Poem by Ntozake Shange
from “for colored girls who have considered suicide  when the rainbow is enuf”

i waz missing somethin
somethin so important
somethin promised
a layin on of hands
fingers near my forehead
strong
cool
movin
makin me whole
sense pure
all the gods comin into me
layin me open to myself
i waz missing somethin
somethin promised
somethin free
a layin on of hands
i know bout/layin on bodies/layin outta man
bringin him alla my fleshy self & some of my pleasure
bein taken full eager wet like i get sometimes
i waz missing somethin
a layin on of hands
not a man
layin on
not my mama/holdin me tight/sayin
i’m laways gonna be her girl
not a layin on of bosom and womb
a layin on of hands
the holiness of myself released

i sat up one nite walkin a boardin house
screamin/cryin/the ghost of another woman
who waz missin what i waz missin
i wanted to jump up outta my bones
& be done wit myself
leave me alone
& go on in the wind
it waz too much
i fell into a numbness
til the only tree i cd see
took me up in her branches
held me in the breeze
made me dawn dew
that chill at daybreak
the sun wrapped me up swingin rose light everywhere
the sky laid over me like a million men
i waz cold/i waz burnin up/a child
& endlessly weavin garments for the moon
wit my tears
i found god in myself
& i loved her/i loved her fiercely

ntozake-shange-quote

Raven Taylor is (a Girl Power Academy) featured Poet recommendation

Raven Taylor performs “How To Survive Being A Black Girl” (Button Poetry Video)

About Button:

Button Poetry is committed to developing a coherent and effective system of production, distribution, promotion and fundraising for spoken word and performance poetry.

We seek to showcase the power and diversity of voices in our community. By encouraging and broadcasting the best and brightest performance poets of today, we hope to broaden poetry’s audience, to expand its reach and develop a greater level of cultural appreciation for the art form.
Subscribe to Button! New video daily: http://bit.ly/buttonpoetry

Roya Marsh is (a Girl Power Academy) featured Poet recommendation

Roya Marsh’s performance poem “Blk Grl Puns” (WoWPS May 2016) is a Button Poetry Video

About Button:

Button Poetry is committed to developing a coherent and effective system of production, distribution, promotion and fundraising for spoken word and performance poetry.

We seek to showcase the power and diversity of voices in our community. By encouraging and broadcasting the best and brightest performance poets of today, we hope to broaden poetry’s audience, to expand its reach and develop a greater level of cultural appreciation for the art form.
Subscribe to Button! New video daily: http://bit.ly/buttonpoetry