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Old 02-10-2017, 06:18 PM
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RCL RCL is offline
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Default Black History Month

My small contribution to Black History month.

Stagecoach Mary Fields

(c. 1832-1914)


Just like the storied cowboys of the plains,
Mary finds Montana wild and free.
A liberated slave from Tennessee,
she’s odd in white Cascade, where cigar stains
on six-foot girls are rare. And she retains
her modesty, a shotgun keeping louts at bay.
The liberal mayor lets her drink and play
at cards in his saloon. She masters reins
to beat out angry men for stagecoach routes,
a first for women, making rounds when sun
sears and wind chafes. She wins those bouts,
protects the mail. With laughs and whiskey breath,
she tells of facing wolves one nighttime run
through snow—her knife and shotgun beating death.
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Old 02-11-2017, 12:09 AM
William A. Baurle William A. Baurle is offline
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Deleted**

Apologies, I didn't see the forum where this was posted!

Wonderful, RCL, and timely.

Last edited by William A. Baurle; 02-11-2017 at 12:17 AM. Reason: I had a Countee Cullen poem posted
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Old 02-11-2017, 11:42 AM
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I see no reason not to post the poem as a tribute to Black poets past and present.
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Old 02-11-2017, 03:48 PM
William A. Baurle William A. Baurle is offline
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Ralph, I'd love to participate in a thread like that. It would be a long one, because there are scads of great poems by black poets I would love to share and draw attention to.

However, since this is in Drills, I gathered (after posting the Countee Cullen poem, Incident), that this would be a thread consisting of our own poems in appreciation of Black History month.

I think a thread simply posting great poems by black poets would be appropriate and extremely timely in these crazy days, where closet racists everywhere seem to be crawling out of the woodwork and enjoying their time in the sun.

I will wait to see how the thread goes before proceeding. Or - I'll look for one of my own poems that might fit the bill. Or write a new one.

Bill
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Old 02-11-2017, 06:21 PM
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Bill, thanks for the good words and your interest.

This is one that benefitted from the workshop.


Trash Records 1950

A Blues Sonnet

I once worked in a store where music died:
Race Records, dusty and disdained, had died
in burning bins the owner fed outside.

I’d asked about those discs, so strange to me.
My new boss viciously enlightened me:
the records stamped with colors vibrantly

depicting Satchmo’s grin and glistening horn
and red-dressed women dancing to his horn
were Shit from spades that’s even worse than porn!

I quit, but checking bins behind the store
saw all the blues and jazz discs from that store
were melting rainbows in the blaze’s roar.

I salvaged one with Satch’s Black and Blue,
played it at home, respecting black and blue.
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Old 02-11-2017, 09:44 PM
William A. Baurle William A. Baurle is offline
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Another good one, Ralph. And good on ya for quitting, if N is you.

I hope we can drum up some interest in this thread. I promise not to let it slip down the board. It's too important.

Tell the truth, I'm more than a bit surprised. I'd have thought this would have fifty responses by now.

I workshopped this sonnet, written in loose alexandrines, here in 2012. I hope it's in the spirit, as it's about the great poet Derek Walcott, though it doesn't have the gut-punch of your sonnet.

(And as anyone familiar with Walcott will be able to see, I am imitating him like a banshee.)


Reading Walcott

When this man writes white almonds, I pretend I'm blind
as a bat that's lying dreaming on a book of Homer,
so I can go on reading, in my head a number
of voices ricocheting, a deliquescent grind
of genuine island lilts and one that's less refined:
my landlocked cracker mimick. No. We must remember
the almonds. White, he said. Alright. I see a comber
Curling in, on top a watermelon rind-

white froth of foam that seems to want to settle down
upon an arc of shoreline where I see together
a woman and a man in daylight sharp as a diamond.
Her hair is dark and flying loose, skin cinnamon-brown,
half-naked, and him the same; they laugh and love the weather.
They wave me over to them, toss me a sweet white almond.
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Old 02-14-2017, 08:30 AM
Gregory Palmerino Gregory Palmerino is offline
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No one that I know of at the sphere has spoken about Langston Hughes. I can't say that I have much to say myself, but like the Wallace Stevens' thread, whenever I read Hughes, I always end up asking myself, why aren't I reading him more. As I said in the Stevens' thread, The problem with death is that it cuts off all that reading. Maybe this article will start an interesting conversation. I like essays like this. Reminds me that my profession is more relevant than ever. Happy reading.

Cheers,
Greg

PS I had posted this note in the Trump Watch thread, but when I saw Bill's post, I thought I would share this here as well. Hope I'm not breaking any protocols.
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Old 02-14-2017, 10:50 AM
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Bill, thanks for the poem on Walcott; and Greg, thanks for the note on Hughes. I need to read more of both, and will!

Added: Very appropriate and timely essay on Hughes in Salon.
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Last edited by RCL; 02-14-2017 at 10:55 AM.
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Old 02-14-2017, 11:57 AM
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Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Sadly, this snark-fest is the most relevant poem of mine that I can find at the moment. I'll keep looking.

Some of My Best Friends

My closest, dearest friends don’t know
how much they really mean
to me. They'd see I love them so,
if they could read my screen.

We’ve never gathered after work.
We’ve never gone to lunch.
But when I flame some online jerk,
I dearly love that bunch.

I feel compelled do my part
to pour forth like a spigot
about the friendship in my heart,
when someone's called me "bigot."

It’s funny that I don’t have more
Black buddies. (I’m so nice!)
The few I have, though, I adore
enough to count them twice.


Found it!

Why We Still Need Black History Month

The only month
     we ever raise
this subject has
     the fewest days.

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 02-14-2017 at 07:35 PM. Reason: New poem. Also tweaks to first one.
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Old 02-14-2017, 10:40 PM
William A. Baurle William A. Baurle is offline
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I like them both, Julie. I think the latter is much stronger.
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