Two Poems

Cover for Southern Exposure's Southern Black Utterances Today cover featuring a woodcut print of a Black man's face gazing upward, by Atlanta artist Lucious Hightower

This article originally appeared in Southern Exposure Vol. 3 No. 1, "Southern Black Utterances Today." Find more from that issue here.

Our Black Love is Fuel for the Revolution


I do not give to you hats to cock ace deuce. And

I know no slick words to say to watch bounce

between us, to hang in mid-air to unite us in



I do not walk the streets of limbo to give to you

coins that jingle in your pockets. You do not ask

me to play at being the Happy Hooker and I will

not ask or demand that you be Truck Turner. We

will build no castles on needle-pricked veins and

LSD-cooked brains.


No I will not smile as I hide you in the closet

from the welfare agent, nor do I expect you to

smile turn your head as I take the landlord to

our bed.


The only thing I ever seen sparkle is the unshed

tears in my mans eyes. The only stars I ever see

is his Black/Hate/Love hitting me, and my own

DEspair/DEsperation, shame cause I know being

pregnant ain't nothing but a burden, and even the

children look at me like I'm public enemy No. 1

as they watch me slowly growing bigger. But I

keep on being strong and I don't bend and I don't



I know you are tired of being permanently parttime,

but you don't bend and you sure don't

break, somehow you keep right on being strong,

even though I awaken sometime in the night and

I kiss your cheeks and I wonder do you know

that you cry in your sleep just like me.


But in the morning we rise together and we don't

bend and we don't break as we watch the children

all shiny and new off to school, then I watch you

cut a new piece of cardboard for your shoes, put

on your ten-year-old jacket like it's a bullet-proof

vest, to walk tall, to walk proudly into the enemy



No we don't bend and we shownuff don't break,

somehow we keep right on being strong, cause we




Twenty-First Century Spook


Sat by your grandmothers mother door

Sat by your grandfathers father door

Sat by your mamas father father door

Sat by your fathers mama mamas door

Spook sat, stood, standing now by

them doors.


Like the 17th century spook

Like the 18th century spook


19th century spook

Picked your cotton

Caned your sugar

Cut your grass

Wiped your child's ass

Cooked your meals

Washed your laundry

He worked your

Non-paying factories


Like the 17th century spook

Like the 18th century spook

Like the 19th century spook


20th century spook

Integrated your unions

Elected and protected

Your fascist government

Broke your picket lines

Dreamed your america

The beautiful dream

in a pent house slum

with wall to wall

roach carpeting

land of the free

home of the brave

and sweet mrs liberty


20th century spook

Believed in your

Democratic anglo saxon illusions

Fighting in the civil war

WW 1 and 2

Korea all the way to Vietnam

He loved you cattle prodding

Him in the ass

Your jail him kill him

Dog eat bomb his children

Kick stomp his woman war.


Like the 17th century spook

Like the 18th century spook

Like the 19th century spook

Like the 20th century spook




ARMY taking over—over throwing

The fascist myth, killing mrs

alberta vo5, ending the rule

of chase manhatten and your

Instant coffee dreams mr & mrs



And pepto bismal will not

Help, alker-sazer will not

Save you, ban deorderant will

Not kill your death odor

And safe-guard will not wash

Away the smell of your rottening




Will fly the GREEN/RED/BLACK

Flag at half mast for the

Ending of you and the beginning

For him.




GON shoot off a TWENTY-ONE

GUN SALUTE, in honor of your

DEATH with his foot on your