The Talking Back of Miss Valentine Jones: Poem # one
by June Jordan
well I wanted to braid my hair bathe and bedeck my self so fine so fully aforethought for your pleasure see: I wanted to travel and read and runaround fantastic into war and peace: I wanted to surf dive fly climb conquer and be conquered THEN I wanted to pickup the phone and find you asking me if I might possibly be alone some night (so I could answer cool as the jewels I would wear on bareskin for you digmedaddy delectation:) "WHEN you comin ova?" But I had to remember to write down margarine on the list and shoepolish and a can of sliced pineapple in casea company and a quarta skim milk cause Teresa's gaining weight and don' nobody groove on that much girl and next I hadta sort for darks and lights before the laundry hit the water which I had to kinda keep an eye on be- cause if the big hose jumps the sink again that Mrs. Thompson gointa come upstairs and brain me with a mop don' smell too nice even though she hang it headfirst out the winda and I had to check on William like to burn hisself to death with fever boy so thin be callin all day "Momma! Sing to me?" "Ma! Am I gone die?" and me not wake enough to sit beside him longer than to wipeaway the sweat or change the sheets/ his shirt and feed him orange juice before I fall out of sleep and Sweet My Jesus ain but one can left and we not thru the afternoon and now you (temporarily) shownup with a thing you says' a poem and you call it "Will The Real Miss Black America Standup?"
guilty po' mouth about duty beauties of my headrag boozeup doozies about never mind cause love is blind
well I can't use it
and the very next bodacious Blackman call me queen because my life ain shit because (in any case) he ain been here to share it with me (dish for dish and do for do and dream for dream) I'm gone scream him out my house be- cause what I wanted was to braid my hair/bathe and bedeck my self so fully be- cause what I wanted was your love not pity be- cause what I wanted was your love your love