Once you learn to read you will be forever free - Frederick Douglass

Saturday, November 13, 2010

For Colored Girls and Common Women

Daily News/ Linda Rosier photographer, October 31st 2010

In the spirit of my latest post, "Not Just for Colored Girls," the Obsessive Reader is pulling out of her Cultured Ghetto two poems.  The first is by Ntozake Shange, from "People of Watts."

          like the trails of freedom
the Good Lord himself lit up
we gonna take this
new city neon light
volumes for milliom to hear
to love themselves
enough to turn back the pulse of a whippin' history
make it carry the modern black melody from L.A.
to downtown Newark City
freedom buses
freedom riders
freedom is the way we walk that walk
talk that talk
gotta take that charred black body out the ground
switch on the current to a new sound
to a new way of walkin' a new way of talkin'
The next poem is by Judy Grahn, from her book, "The Common Woman," on which Shange based her idea for for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf.

Famous Poets and Poems.com
Solemnly swearing, to swear as an oath to you
who have somehow gotten to be a pale old woman;
swearing, as if an oath could be wrapped around
your shoulders
like a new coat:
For your 28 dollars a week and the bastard boss
you never let yourself hate;
and the work, all the work you did at home
where you never got paid;
For your mouth that got thinner and thinner
until it disappeared as if you had choked on it,
watching the hard liquor break your fine husband down
into a dead joke.
For the strange mole, like a third eye
right in the middle of your forehead;
for your religion which insisted that people
are beautiful golden birds and must be preserved;
for your persistent nerve
and plain white talk --
the common woman is as common
as good bread
as common as when you couldnt go on
but did.
For all the world we didnt know we held in common
all along
the common woman is as common as the best of bread
and will rise
and will become strong -- I swear it to you
I swear it to you on my own head
I swear it to you on my common

No comments: