April 12, 2005

Another kind of open

Another poem for :


is the total black, being spoken
from the earth’s inside.
There are many kinds of open
how a diamond comes into a knot of flame
how sound comes into a word, coloured
by who pays what for speaking.

Some words are open like a diamond
on glass windows
singing out within the passing crash of sun
Then there are words like stapled wagers
in a perforated book,--buy and sign and tear apart—
and come whatever wills all chances
the stub remains
an ill-pulled tooth with a ragged edge.
Some words live in my throat
breeding like adders. Others know sun
seeking like gypsies over my tongue
to explode through my lips
like young sparrows bursting from shell
Some words
bedevil me.

Love is a word, another kind of open.
As the diamond comes into a knot of flame
I am Black because I come from the earth's inside
now take my word for jewel in the open light.

Audre Lorde

Every year in my urban environmental literature course, I assign a bunch of Audre Lorde poems. And it always makes me think of RapperGuy. He was one of my favorite students. He was beyond cool, with his baggy clothes, gold tooth, and long dreds. He told me the first day of classs that he did not care much for poetry; he preferred rap music. I can remember the first time he read all the Audre Lorde poems I had assigned. He was sitting in the library, bent over the book, and he seemed to be mesmerized. He came to the door of my office soon after that. He was almost crying. "These poems," he said, "I didn't know poetry could do this. How come ... how come I have never read anything like this before?"

1 comment:

Mel said...

I love teaching Audre Lorde's poems ...sometimes I teach some of her essays too. Always get strong responses from students.