13 November 2008

Advising the President: Patricia Smith for Inaugural Poet‏!

The President-Elect has a more than a few things on his plate right now, including a number of vacancies in the Executive Branch. One position that needs to be filled relatively soon is "Inaugural Poet‏". True it's only a one-day job -- but what a day!

I'm adding my name to the endorsement list for Patricia Smith for Inaugural Poet‏. One of the Founders of Slam as well as an amazing 'on the page' poet, her new book about Katrina Blood Dazzler is a finalist for this year's National Book Award. And she is from Chicago, and we've already seen how the new Prez likes his homie's:)

Patricia Smith:

We've lost them all beneath their swaddling clothes.
Cavernous sweats and denims droop with air
and hide our loves inside. They strike the pose,

craft the swagger, these boys everyone knows
are surely doomed. And yet they're wrapped with care.
We've lost them all beneath those swaddling clothes.

Inside that hug, they're smaller than their woes.
Their lives can't reach them. They don't fear the air.
Love hides inside—they coil, they strike. The pose,

if strutted right, can shield them from the blows
that must rain down. No, we can't save our heirs.
We've lost them all beneath their swaddling clothes.

That they choose this soft way to drown just shows
despite our touch, our kiss, the ways we cared,
they must hide love inside. They struck the pose

of men—because, as we have come to know,
no babies thrive upon the streets they dare.
We've lost them all beneath their swaddling clothes.
They hide our love inside, then strike the pose.

And since I'm playing 'Acting Adviser to the Transition Team' here, allow me to toss another name out -- how about Poet and Yale Professor Elizabeth Alexander to replace the departing Dana Gioia as Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts ?

Elizabeth Alexander:

From the Latin negrorum, meaning
“to tote,” said Richard Pryor
in an etymological mode.

Look it up in Cab Calloway’s
Hepster’s Dictionary, the giant book.
Be negro, be ‘groid, be vernacular, be.

Hey, yo, Hey bro’, Hey blood,
high five, big ups, gimme some skin,
keep it on the QT, the down low, the real side.

What it is? What it look like?
Vernacular: Verna, a house-born slave.
Ask your mamma what it means.

Old school lyin’ and signifyin’.
That chick has a chemical deficiency:
no assatol.

And who knows,
on the radio, what evil lurks
in the hearts of men?
The shadow do,

quoth the brethren, and fall out,
cack-a-lacking and slapping,
high-top fade to black.

(From American Sublime)

Power to the Poets!


Tayari Jones said...

And don't forget NATASHA TRETHEWEY. Her poem, "My Mother Dreams Another Country" would be perfect.

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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