Thursday, January 29, 2009

"to a tried and trusted friend"

shapeshifter poems


the legend is whispered
in the women's tent
how the moon when she rises
follows some men into themselves
and changes them there
the season is short
but dreadful shapeshifters
they wear strange hands
they walk through the houses
at night their daughters
do not know them


who is there to protect her
from the hands of the father
not the windows which see and
say nothing not the moon
that awful eye not the woman
she will become with her
scarred tongue who who who the owl
laments into the evening who
will protect her this prettylittlegirl


if the little girl lies
still enough
shut enough
hard enough
shapeshifter may not
walk tonight
the full moon may not
find him here
the hair on him


the poem at the end of the world
is the poem the little girl breathes
into her pillow the one
she cannot tell the one
there is no one to hear this poem
is a political poem is a war poem is a
universal poem but is not about
these things this poem
is about one human heart this poem
is the poem at the end of the world

c. Lucille Clifton

oKay so, Lucille Clifton and Ishmael Reed read at the Schomburg up in Harlem today. When I met Lucille, I immediately felt grateful. If ever I could tell her: Lucille, I admire your fragile strength. It is remarkable to have met you, to have witnessed the humility in your voice, the wisdom in your laughter--

What a powerfully moving woman. She was hilarious. Her sense of humor is vital and her stories are incredibly human, honest. shes a fresh poet. and i recommend her to all. So I thought I'd share her "shapshifter poems." Please read.

(Lucille Clifton at the Schomburg)

when the words enter
and crash, when they sing
softly through
let the flute of them
carry away into
the consciousness of the night
of the morning
when women all over
remember themselves between
the ancient ink of some bare breasted
book, may your laughter run wild
in the heavens, in love.

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