Podcast Black Poetry


The first one is a Pat Parker poem –
 ” For the White Person Who Wants to Know How to Be My Friend”?

The first thing you do is to forget that i’m Black.
Second, you must never forget that i’m Black.

You should be able to dig Aretha,
but don’t play her every time i come over.
And if you decide to play Beethoven–don’t tell
me his life story. They made us take music
appreciation too.

Eat soul food if you like it, but don’t expect me
to locate your restaurants
or cook it for you.

And if some Black person insults you,
mugs you, rapes your sister, rapes you,
rips your house, or is just being an ***–
please, do not apologize to me
for wanting to do them bodily harm.
It makes me wonder if you’re foolish.

And even if you really believe Blacks are better
lovers than whites–don’t tell me. I start thinking
of charging stud fees.

In other words, if you really want to be my
friend–don’t make a labor of it. I’m lazy.

Next: Langston Hughes
My old man’s a white old man
And my old mother’s black.
If ever I cursed my white old man
 I take my curses back.
f ever I cursed my black old mother
 and wished she were in hell,
I’m sorry for that evil wish
And now I wish her well

My old man died in a fine big house.
My ma died in a shack.
I wonder where I’m going to die,
Being neither white nor black?

The next one is from James Baldwin
‘Some days (For Paula)’

Some days worry 
some days glad
some days
 more than make you 
Some days, 
some days, more than 
when you see what’s coming
on down the line!
Some days you say,
 oh, not me never ⎯ !
Some days you say 
bless God forever.
Some days, you say,
 curse God, and die
and the day comes when you wrestle
 with that lie.
Some days tussle 
then some days groan
and some days
 don’t even leave a bone.
Some days you hassle
 all alone.
I don’t know, sister,
what I’m saying,
nor do no man, 
if he don’t be praying.
I know that love is the only answer
 and the tight-rope lover
 the only dancer.
When the lover come off the rope 
the net which holds him 
is how we pray,
and not to God’s unknown,
 but to each other ⎯ :
the falling mortal is our brother!
Some days leave 
some days grieve
some days you almost don’t believe.
Some days believe you 
and you won’t.
Some days worry 
some days mad
some days more than make you glad.
Some days, some days, 
more than shine,
coming on down the line!

The last one is from Sapphire
Breaking Karma #5

It is like a scene in a play.
His bald spot shines upward between dark tufts of hair.
We are sitting in a pool of light on the plastic
covered couch, Ernestine, his last live-in,
ended up with. But that is the end.

We are sitting in the beginning of our lives now
looking at our father upright in his black
reclining chair. It’s four of us then, children,
new to Los Angeles–drugs, sex, Watts burning,
Aretha, Michael Jackson, the murder of King,
haven’t happened yet.

He is explaining how things will be–
Which one will cook, which one will clean.
“Your mama,” he announces, “is not coming.”

Two thousand miles away in the yellow
linoleum light of her kitchen, my mother
is sitting in the easy tan-colored man’s lap.
Kissing him. Her perfect legs golden like
whiskey, his white shirt rolled up arms
that surround her like the smell of cake baking.

“Forget about her,” my father’s voice drops like
a curtain, “she doesn’t want you. She never did.”

Theme: Overlay by Kaira