Family

SHONA by JohnnieRenee Nia Nelson

Among the Shona
a family's success
is weighed by their children's happiness
and the family's state of health
not by the accumulation of material wealth.

Shona people sure are wise
to have the foresight to emphasize
values that strengthen family ties
traditions of sharing, traditions of caring
traditions that instill dignity and pride
that generate beauty on the inside.

Date
Month: 
4
Day: 
17
Author name: 
Nelson, Johnnie Renee Nia

CUSS - CUSS by Louise Bennett.

This poem re-stages a tracing match (quarrel) between two
Jamaican women. Common cuss-words like "boogooyagga" (low-grade) "heng-pon-nail " (bedraggled) are used.

Gwan gal yuh fava teggereg,
Ah wey yuh gwine goh do?
Yuh an yuh boogooyagga fren
Dem tink me fraid o' yuh?

Goh wey, yuh fava heng-pon-nail,
Is me yuh want fe trace?
Me is jus de one fi teck me han
An leggo pon yuh face.

Fe me han noh jine chu ch an me naw
Pay licen fe me mout',
Me wi tell yuh bout yuh--se yah
Gal noh badda get me out.

Date
Month: 
9
Day: 
7
Author name: 
Bennett, Louise

SUNDAY BRUNCH by Ruben Jackson.

And where
do your parents
summer?
she asked him.

The front porch
he replied...

Date
Month: 
5
Day: 
28
Author name: 
Jackson, Ruben

AT MY FATHERS HOUSE by Nancy Travis

In the kitchen as the toast browns
I put on my 3rd grade cateye glasses
pearly blue with rhinestone tips
I found with the baby books.

Music’s echoing into the room
from the radio my brother hooked up
in the bathroom upstairs.
I prance to the refrigerator,
doing tina turner
making my dress into a mini skirt
to get some juice.

Then my father comes in
& shakes his head
saying
four years’ money for college
gone straight
down the drain...

Date
Month: 
5
Day: 
11
Author name: 
Travis, Nancy

GOOD TIMES by Lucille Clifton.

My Daddy has paid the rent
and the insurance man is gone
and the lights is back on
and my uncle Brud has hit
for one dollar straight
and they is good times
good times
good times

My Mama has made bread
and Grampaw has come
and everybody is drunk
and dancing in the kitchen
and singing in the kitchen
Oh these is good times
good times
good times

oh children think about the
good times...

Reference:
Lucille Clifton

Date
Month: 
4
Day: 
27
Author name: 
Clifton, Lucille

RAIN DITCH by Pinkie Gordon Lane

We swam in the rain-filled gully
one day
three black kids
unmindful of death’s specter:
water snakes
fever
cow dung floating like a drowned corpse,
the level of that ditch
our shoulders’ height,
the water to our asses.

And just over the hill the weeds
bowed like cloistered nuns at vespers.
At eye distance just beyond,
our house’s top formed a gray peak
against the crimson sky.

We remembered our fun for days,
talked about it,
longed for another torrent of rain
so that we could splash again
in that death trap...

Date
Month: 
2
Day: 
29
Author name: 
Lane, Pinkie Gordon

THE SONG TURNING BACK INTO ITSELF 2 (A song for little children) by Al Young.

Always it’s either a beginning or some end:
the baby’s being born or its parents are
dying, fading on like the rose of the poem withers,
its light going out while gardens come in to bloom
Let us stand on street-corners
in the desolate era & propose
a new kind of crazyness
Let us salute one another
one by one two by two
the soft belly moving toward
the long sideburns
the adams apple or no apple at all...

Reference:
Al Young

Date
Month: 
4
Day: 
28
Author name: 
Young, Al

DAYTON, OH., THE 50’S & 60’S by C. S. Giscombe.

Sat through stories
right through them as if they were told
& I sat through confluence & allegory
through metaphor
through old movies repeated on TV, through leaping blue light
all around the couch
through chance
(through unexpected moments, intimations of sex & music
(through bus trips downtown across the bridge
into downtown Dayton over
the Great Miami
through ceremony kept simple, in & back

By the 50’s & 60’s we’d been well-ensconced for years
all along the road from Cincinnati Gateway City
to the south, had pushed in downtown Germantown hill
in fact as far a

Date
Month: 
3
Day: 
10
Author name: 
Giscombe, C. S.

THE IDEA OF ANCESTRY by Etheridge Knight.

Tapped to the wall of my cell are 47 pictures: 47 black faces: my father, mother, grandmothers (1dead), grandfathers (both dead), brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins (1st & 2nd), nieces, and nephews. They stare across the space at me sprawling on my bunk. I know their dark eyes, they know mine. I am all of them, they are all of me; they are farmers, I am a thief, I am me, they are thee.

Date
Month: 
January
Day: 
11
Author name: 
Knight, Etheridge

MARYUMA by Frank Lamont Phillips.

At seventeen your thoughts
were younger than your face
and your smile mirrored in dishwater
was Mississippi pleasant
you had large eyes and larger hopes of
marrying somebody rich
or famous or something
you settled for a little house
so close to the tracks that the sound of a train
shook some of everything
you settled for a boy
with eyes larger than your own
you settled for dishwater
just as deep as that you knew at home...

Date
Month: 
December
Day: 
5
Author name: 
Phillips, Frank Lamont