A Langston Hughes Poem for your Pocket
26 April, 2012
Today is “Poem in your Pocket” Day! Pockets aren’t just for loose change and gum, but for poems! Below are four short poems by Langston Hughes for you to choose from to write/print and put in your pocket!
When you turn the corner
And you run into yourself
Then you know that you have turned
All the corners that are left.
I went back in the alley
And I opened up my door.
All her clothes was gone:
She wasn’t home no more.
I pulled back the covers,
I made down the bed.
A whole lot of room
Was the only thing I had.
As the wind
On the Lincoln
As a bottle of licker
On a table
All by itself.
Cool face of the river
Asked me for a kiss.
30 for 30: Joseph LMS Green
18 April, 2012
by Joseph LMS Green
The last time I saw you alive
I wish I would’ve talked ugly to you
Said “Put the straw down, No,
I don’t want to take another line
I should be writing them, my friend,
You are a composer of music and magic,
Instruct your limbs to serve a purpose greater
Don’t be fooled into thinking your pain
has sharper teeth than anyone else’s,”
I had a chance, but
because I was high
This is how I got started;
A bottle of Jack and a mirror, memories and scissors,
dreams drenched in ether, sliced by razors,
Potential rolled like twenty dollar bills,
Poison numbing feelings on the tip of my tongue,
that I and this tongue should be serving a greater purpose.
In a last ditch attempt at self assessment
I looked at my life through eyes of loved ones,
they can see everything, especially the ugly,
From hours of masturbation to years of drug use
To lying with and lying to angels, friends I’ve forsaken,
Taking so much more than I’ve given,
streamlined self-centeredness to a science
But there was also righteousness there
A willingness to craft these ills through poetry and alchemy
Into a seers stone
Honestly, how could I speak ugly to him
When I was yet to speak it to myself
In these nightmares of hindsight
There is no poetry, no alliterations to soften the blow
Some realities have no simile, truth is like truth
Not all suicide is a tragedy; some people
just don’t want to be here anymore,
When you were alone in that room
kept company by narcotics and a thousand ghost
draped in your disappointments
I can only imagine the voices you heard
All but mine
Smear make up onto disgust
if you must, trust, the truth is seldom pretty
But she is always beautiful
In times like these I need you to please
talk ugly to me, because truth splinters bone and pride,
rips through flesh, ego, and sinew in hopes that one day
it will heal together again, stronger
My pain needs not a gentle touch,
too many times we caress sadness
when it needs to be shaken, torn from its place of comfort,
forced to survive or die,
Don’t just tell me I can grow up to be whatever I want,
tell me that whatever I want
better be something I’m willing to achieve, That dreams
will dissipate under the weight of addiction,
that there’s a distinct difference between living
like a rock star and being one,
no matter how many poems you’ve written, sometimes you’re simply a coke-head
and a poser,
Fear not, we are divinely flawed individuals
perfectly ugly, no point hiding behind pretty lies
we are the sum of the hideous scars that hold the remainders
of our pretty pieces together
That last time I saw you alive I wish
I would’ve talked ugly to you
It would’ve be the most beautiful thing
I never said.
30 for 30: Derrick Weston Brown
17 April, 2012
Today’s 30 for 30 (Twitter hashtag #30for30) poem comes from Derrick Weston Brown, poet and author of Wisdom Teeth. The poem was inspired by the pictured artwork by Michael Singletary, whose artwork is on display at Busboys and Poets 14th & V through the end of May. Derrick also works at the Teaching for Change’s Busboys and Poets Bookstore, so be sure to say hi while you stroll around the restaurant looking at Singletary’s work!
Poem For The Painting above the Men’s Bathroom @ Busboys and Poets 14th & V St NW or “How Lina Reads The Word”
by Derrick Weston Brown
You notice Lina’s legs first.
They’re long slim and
sculpted. Her feet yawn out
to the end of the of the bed spread.
The paint on her toenails
chipped bubblegum pink.
She’s reading the Bible.
Topless. The good book
is small, worn and rusted
hydrant red in her hands.
The gold script on the
cover is a whisper.
It is Sunday.
a sigh descending in this room.
Her bra is
a sling of lace and straps
and clips resting to her right-
studying war no more.
Lina’s bare knees form
the steeple of her
body church. She leans into the
cool of her brass headboard.
Her breasts rest behind pages
the truest brown
lies on the underside
of her thighs amid the
plump push of
her backside into the matress
finally a flash of blue
the embroidered triangle
of panties. Holiest of holies.
A pink room and Lina
with her blackberry dollop
of a mouth. Alone
with the Word.
30 for 30: Joseph Ross
15 April, 2012
Happy National Poetry Month! Today’s 30 for 30 (Twitter hashtag #30for30) poem comes from Joseph Ross, the featured poet of today’s Sunday Kind of Love, and author of Meeting Bone Man. Twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Ross’ poems appear in many anthologies including Collective Brightness: LGBTIQ Poets on Faith, Religion, & Spirituality, Full Moon on K Street, and Poetic Voices Without Borders 1 and 2. He currently directs the Writing Center at Carroll High School in Washington, D.C.
Sunday Kind of Love is a monthly open mic poetry series that features emerging and established poets from the Washington, D.C. area and around the nation. Presented by Busboys and Poets in partnership with Split This Rock, each program includes featured poet(s) and an open mic segment centered around a predetermined social or poetic theme. Hosted by Sarah Browning and Katy Richey. Sunday Kind of Love is held on the third Sunday of every month at Busboys and Poets 14th & V.
Darfur 1: The Boy
by Joseph Ross
My hands move as slowly
as they have ever moved.
I carefully wrap
the stiff, brown body
of this child,
in a bright orange and blue cloth.
A boy, seven years old,
very old, for here.
Elbows, like crickets’ legs
teeth, luminous white.
The canvas walls of the tent
gasp for air
as the colored cloth
covers his face.
30 for 30: 2Deep the Poetess
13 April, 2012
Happy National Poetry Month! Today’s 30 for 30 (Twitter hashtag #30for30) poem comes from 2Deep the Poetess, host of tonight’s “11th Hour” Poetry Slam at 14th & V. The “11th Hour” Poetry Slam is presented by Busboys and Poets and is held on the second Friday of every month at Busboys and Poets 14th & V.
by 2Deep the Poetess
The sound of the hustle and bustle of destined feet rush by
Head bobbing to the rhythm of modern complacency
Conformed to public transportation etiquette
Because such a thing exists,
Dressed in full, all white garb
Hijab edges outlined in sea-foam blue,
Magnifying her faith 10 times over,
Wonders towards me in a 5th attempt to gain assistance
Previous attempts brushed off by head turns
Flaps of Express newspapers in response to her
Popping like bullets of insults
As headlines of Osama’s demise dangle in her face
As if to say, “Look at what we can do to your kind, here inAmerica”
I saw this
In that moment, I was not proud to be an American
If this was, in fact, the way an American should act
I knew it was not her Farsi trained tongue exercising broken English
That made them ignore her requests
I understood her just fine
“Help me”, sprang from her lips
And translated to comprehension via my eyes
Before I even removed my headphones
I asked if she could repeat herself
“Good Morning”, she said
“Help me, please.
Without second thought I took the metro map out of her hand
Took her hand in my other and said, “Follow me.
I will take you.”
A gasp schoolyard bullied its way out of the throat of the Caucasian woman standing next to me
Eavesdropping getting the best of her
My original mission of getting to work on time escaping me
This was bigger than me
Something greater inside of me whispered
“Do not let go of her hand.”
And I obeyed
Seemingly safe within the metal cage
Transporting civilians into the breast of the Confederacy
Older Black woman sang disgust
Like a house nigger gawking
As if I was a field nigger threatening to bring mud into the big house
Exercising her Jim Crow
Removing herself from the front of the car, next to us, to sit elsewhere
Muslim Angel and I stuck out like sore thumbs
Comparison to Freedom Bus rides
We sat front seat at society’s counter
Demanding we be served respect
Express newspaper under my thigh
Feeling guilty for seeking out current events
For today I now knew
I was not proud to be an American
She was I and I was she
And here we sat
Traveling to a place where only one of us knew how to get to
Me to Van Doren
She to a place where she could brave the prejudice and still keep her chin high while seeking help
She needing to know what I knew and vice versa
Yet we sat in silence
Communicating through squeezed palms
Praying to one another for remaining true to who they were
And though she spoke Farsi and I English
We both managed, somehow, to speak human
And we continued to hold on to one another
“Next stop Van Doren”, rang over the intercom
Promised land for her and I
As I walked her out to the platform of her destination
Allah shook God’s hand
And said many thanks
All the while I noticed we never said bye
Never shared names
Yet knowing we were sisters just the same
Understanding our coexistence in the midst of those who merely exist