Hello. Come on in. The daddy writes about current events, literature, music and, once in a while, drops something on you from back in the day to make you pause and ponder, stop and stare, and begin to wonder. Who knows? You may start to pace the floor, shake your head from side to side, then fall down on bended knees in a praying position and cry, "Lawd, have mercy! What is this world coming to?" Check yourself! But this blog is NOT about the daddy. It's about you: your boos, your fam, your hood, your country...our hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow. So let's make a pact: the daddy will put it on the track if you'll chase it down and hit him back. Together, we can definitely take it to another level. Shall we?"

Monday, November 17, 2008

Poet Wanda Coleman: tough as Watts, soft as cotton

Like Wallace Stegner, I am in the 'universal' tradition of writers who concern themselves with The Truth -- never mind that it is apt to hurt someone, in some way, most likely me.
--Wanda Coleman

Poet, columnist, poet laureate nominee, spoken word artist, winner of the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize (the first African American to receive the award), Wanda Coleman was born in Los Angeles in 1946 and has spent much of her life in Watts, known for the “riot.” She has written several books for Sparrow Press, including: “Mad Dog Black Lady,” “Bathwater Wine,” and “Mercurochrome.” Two of her more recent poetry collections are "African Sleeping Sickness" and “Ostinato Vamps,” which is with the University of Pittsburgh Press.

"The California Crack" is not about an earthquake but a woman watching a man at the end of the road, the end of despair. Note that she doesn't throw him out, although she make him sleep out on the porch once in a while. It's like she's in a relationship with walking death...But she takes her time to give us the truth
, however bitter or sad that may be.

The California Crack
by Wanda Coleman

she didn't know he was so shook

it started in his system/an erratic prance
some mechanism gone wet
codeine induced cellulitis, acid trails and flashes

he had nightmares about his mother pinching him in his sleep
his youth authority internment
the scar up his ass where they removed some thing
the lesbian he loved in Yucaipa
the black bird smashed against the window
of the stolen car

he began to sweat out his nights
when he woke his long dark brown hair was plastered
to his head. he was always dripping

it got so she couldn't stand laying next to him
the stench nauseated her, caused her to vomit
sometimes she made him sleep outside on the porch
so she could get an occasional night's rest
but most times she took breath by mouth

he went to the hospital
they took tests and found nothing
he went to the police
profuse sweating was not a crime
he took daily showers
the water bill went up
the seams in his clothes began
to mold and erode
the sheets and comforter would not
wash clean

his septic sweat permeated everything
seeped down thru the mattress into
the earth beneath their bed

one summer's midnight as they slept in
his dampness
there was an earthquake
it measured 8.2 on the Richter scale
bed split open the soft moist mouth of a scream
she watched with mixed emotions
as he fell thru.
But Wanda Coleman doesn't just give it to you hard and straight. Sometimes a sun peeps through dark clouds and a hard-edged understanding shines through. In "The language beneath the language," Coleman waxes lovingly about the complexity of sensuality and love.

The Language Beneath the Language
by Wanda Coleman

under your belly
there’s gnawing in the bones
subterranean & abysmal
the bite that’s more the unsratchable/coldfire
now he penetrates me against the landscape
of my own blood and demands escape from
the rotting tongue in which he’s caged

This is the form i wear

out of my pernicious reason
and my slam-driven mind
comes the clay i shape into pleasures
for your knowing
the angles of his body
cut at my grasp-starved hands
his bone hard as young granite at my softness
the authority of his beauty demanding
the familiarity of my flesh

thus you hold me
frozen in your doubtful vision
in your study of my brownness. believe
my curious fingers. trust my
daring fingers
as they probe your opened wound
to find a roundness


Anonymous said...

I hated that first one. The last one
was real good.

Anonymous said...

She's the one i was talking about, daddy. I don't like poetry much. But I'm buying her book for Christmas.

Somebodies Friend said...

I have to agree with anon1:
The first one was a bit different, the second one I am feeling,
I am feeling ok today McDaddy, although the weather outside made it near impossible to get out of bed today.

Hope all is well!

MacDaddy said...

somebody: Glad you're feeling better. Remember that song by Earth, Wind & Fire, "Keep your head to the sky?"
anon1: I'm glad like one of the poems. But check her out. She's a good poet.
anon2: I didn't forget. And that would be great gift.

Anonymous said...

The first poem is gut-wrenching, and makes you feel like you're at the edge of someone's extremely bad dream, watching from the wings.

The second poem was very, very sexual.

You go daddy.