Three Poems for Celebration

Black Sketch

Tomorrow this country officially celebrates the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I believe, if he was still alive, he would say, do not celebrate me, I just did my work as a minister. Celebrate this country’s achievement for removing racist laws. Celebrate the descendants of the sons and daughters of Africa who continue to contribute to this country. The following three poems celebrate this community.

Observations of a Saturday Night Crowd

A smokey kaleidoscope my people create
fashioned in coal, khaki and cream,
sewn from spring soil they stream
in tones of acorn and chestnut ornate.

A dusky rainbow, they unfold
eclipses of David’s cloth, in ink and alabaster.
Groomed from the dark that precedes disaster
they glisten in glimpses of gold.

Subtle as autumn’s sober hues,
a variegated harmony of delight
my people of sable sight
redeem dingy chalk avenues.

Troost Express

Once.

I wrote
a poem
about
the bus.

Today.

I know
the unpoetic
truth of
bus riders.

Their faces

are novels

not poetry.

In the Tradition of Beautiful Women

We wear our smiles
with grace and warmth
sweet and delicious
as honeysuckle
on a summer night.

12 Comments on “Three Poems for Celebration

  1. Love how you establish the creative colour and flair of a people in the first, to then strip back the layers and expose what a dying environment does to a living life in the second, and with the third, how you reveal through a small moment of tender expression the cherished souls’ of a people.

    It is interesting, with Uzoma finding relationships in your words to life in Africa. Many countries in Africa (if not all) have been affected by colonial governance, just as it has been down here. Your well crafted words contain relationships, aspects, and beauty that are relevant across the seas.

    • Thanks, I wrote these poems over 30 years ago. The first is actually a sonnet. The painting would be of a crowd of black people attending a concert at Howard University.

  2. All lovely poems. I especially loved the rhythm of the first one, and the core of the second one.

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