21 April 2008
Toni Brown (November 2, 1952 – April 19, 2008)
Toni Brown Memorials
Friday, April 25, 2008
Trinity Episcopal Church
3 Goddard Avenue
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Painted Bride Art Center
230 Vine St, Philadelphia, PA
2 - 4 pm
Condolences may be sent:
In Memory of Toni Brown
c/o Ian Yancey
161 West Abbottsford Avenue
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19144
Another day, another loss...what a shock to lose a gentle and hilarious sister-poet. We always had a great time together, and hers was one of the warm and welcoming presences I'll always remember that greeted me in Esopus New York my first year at the Cave Canem retreat. I'm still working on a poem that riffs off one of hers that she read the last time I saw her a couple of years ago. I'm sorry I won't be able to surprise her with the gift of it.
The news from Cave Canem:
I am sorry to write that Toni Brown (1997, 1998 and 2002) passed away on Saturday, April 19 from respiratory complications.
There will be two memorial services in: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Rockland, Massachusetts. If any friends of Toni would like to read a poem in one of the services, contact Toni’s sister, Gina Brown, at firstname.lastname@example.org (please put CAVE CANEM in the subject line). There will be more information on the services at a later date.
Two poems including an audiorecording with percussionist Barbara McPherson
Toni in Prairie Schooner
Her more steamy work can also be found in Bed: New Lesbian Erotica (Haworth Press, 2007)
The woman w/maggots in her legs
dozes in an over-stuffed chair
Flies orbit her head, blacken the walls,
make love to the soft holes in her body.
She whispers to the pipers who call her Granny,
bring her potato chips or warm ginger ale then
curl into the room's dark corners.
Their match flames reflect in her dull eyes
Sulfur mixes with the smell of garbage.
The women w/maggots in her legs
never changes her clothes.
Her socks writhe against her ankles
Her shoes appear to be full of rice.
She dreams of sheets boiled white,
sunshine through clear window panes.
The tickling in her body is the touch of God,
the buzzing, the wings of angels.
these ropes of hair
This is how
it would have grown
on my head
in the bowels of a ship
we dark still living
who crawled or
hair matted flat
into this New World
would have been
from Gathering Ground: A Reader Celebrating Cave Canem's First Decade (University of Michigan Press, 2006)
from Postcards from Cave Canem
Naked against the moon’s fingers
rolling on the floor in the sheets
licking the sweat off my upper lip the cool rain
off the window sill Twisting my hair into knots
eating only sunshine and the songs of birds
Who heard my cries through the heavy oak door
while 15 poems had their way with me?
won’t be home this week
will call soon
Love to you as well, Dear Toni!