a poem by nayyirah waheed

i will tell you, my daughter
of your worth
not your beauty
every day. (your beauty is a given. every being is
born beautiful).
knowing your worth
can save your life.
raising you on beauty alone
you will be starved.
you will be raw.
you will be weak.
an easy stomach.
always in need of someone telling you how
beautiful you are.

—emotional nutrition

¿QuiĆ©n me ha robado el mes de abril?



One of the best parts about dating someone from another country is that you have so many new things to share with each other. Last night Chicho and I spent a significant amount of time just showing each other songs that were famous or that we loved. He had never heard of "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" or Johnny Cash, and I had never heard of Joaquin Sabina or Chavela Vargas.

It was a good night. And then we watched iZombie, because that's what we do every Tuesday.

Ripeness

So maist thou live, till like ripe Fruit thou drop
Into thy Mothers lap, or be with ease
Gatherd, not harshly pluckt, for death mature:
This is old age.

Paradise Lost, Book 11 (1674 version)


                                              Men must endure
Their going hence even as their coming hither.
Ripeness is all.

King Lear, 5.2.9–11 (Arden edition)

"Language is a virus." —Susan Sontag

Yellowstone

By October most campgrounds are closed at Yellowstone, only Grant Village and Mammoth Hot Springs are open. We stayed at Grant Village, which was really quiet and beautiful, near a large lake.

It was a perfect weekend.


















Us, Black Women by Natasha T. Miller






Us, Black women
Like samples at a grocery store
Set out to be picked over and never fully paid for

Us, Black women
With vaginas that still smell like unwanted mixed babies
Blood
And four hundred years of forced entries

And this nigga ask you
Can he hit it
As if it hasn’t already been beaten

Outkast goes to court with Rosa Parks
Ludacris makes a diss record about Oprah
And rooms full of upstanding black men say, hell, we don’t know what happened in that car
Rihanna may have given Chris Brown a REASON to beat her down

I take it you don’t have little sisters
and there must be shrapnel in your back to replace the spine that once made you a man, see
I’m not mad at you for your opinion
I’m just hoping
that we are never two pop stars alone in a car and you get mad at me for mine

I can still hear the cries of all the babies that had to get left behind by their own mothers
I’ve got the tongue of Harriet Tubman I can still taste the blood of all the wounds she licked to get us here
And we are constantly trying to get back there
Then you say that she don’t like her own people
Because she built a school in AFRICA
Nigga, you must have forgotten your roots
Do you think that we only exist here?

I’ve never seen you leave a penny in a gas station
You couldn’t imagine the pain of raising a Black Panther, only to hear your son calling you bitches and hoes on the radio
You are no Afeni Shakur


Your jaw couldn’t walk a Miles Davis inside the mouth of Cicely Tyson
And you question the charity of a black woman
While this man asks
can he hit it
As if it hasn’t already been beaten


We have been running this world since it started
Have yet to receive a day off of our feet
There are no holidays dedicated to us
Just a bunch of poems used to undress everything but our minds
Millions of songs played to make us feel like we were born to be called everything but our names
And cemeteries, dressed up like videos, burying our images every other T.V. station

We get one Michelle every 44 years
We get one African American teen pregnancy every 44 minutes
And little Wayne says that he wants to fuck every girl in the world
Sarah Goodes takes part in inventing beds
Trey Songz says we gone think he invented sex
How disconnected we are
Yet hanging from the same umbilical cords we clipped you from

Stop asking “can you hit it”
Take your mother flowers for no reason
Stop making excuses for you putting your hands on us

Stop
Putting your hands on us
Stop
Running out on us
Stop
Running over us
Stop treating us like samples at a grocery store

Do not touch us
If you have no plans on making this home.

On growing old

"New poems no longer come to me, with their prodigies of metaphor and assonance. Prose endures. I feel the circles grow smaller, and old age is a ceremony of losses, which is on the whole preferable to dying at forty-seven or fifty-two. When I lament and darken over my diminishments, I accomplish nothing. It’s better to sit at the window all day, pleased to watch birds, barns, and flowers. It is a pleasure to write about what I do."

Donald Hall on growing old, from Out the Window, New Yorker January 23, 2012 issue.