My favorite poet has always, at least for as long as I can remember, been Nikki Giovanni. My favorite Nikki Giovanni poem is Woman, here it is:
she wanted to be a blade
of grass amid the fields
but he wouldn't agree
to be the dandelion
she wanted to be a robin singing
through the leaves
but he refused to be
she spun herself into a web
and looking for a place to rest
turned to him
but he stood straight
declining to be her corner
she tried to be a book
but he wouldn't read
she turned herself into a bulb
but he wouldn't let her grow
she decided to become
and though he still refused
to be a man
she decided it was all
That's a good one right!?
Another great one, I mean what poet can write about love and sex in a way that makes you smile like:
I Take Master Card
(Charge Your Love to Me)
I've heard all the stories 'bout how you don't deserve
me 'cause I'm so strong and beautiful and wonderful and you could
never live up to what you know I should have but
I just want to let you know:
I take Master Card
You can love me as much as your heart can stand
then put the rest on
account and pay the interest
each month until we get this settled
You see we modern women do comprehend
that we deserve a whole lot more
than what is normally being offered but we are trying
to get aligned with the modern world
So baby, you can love me all
you like 'cause you're pre-approved
and you don't have to sign on
the bottom line
Charge it up'
til we just can't take no more
it's the modern way
I take Master Card
to see your Visa
and I deal with a Discovery but I don't want any American
Express 'cause like the Pointer Sisters say: I need a slow hand
I know right? Great shit right? But....and I hate to say it....an unknown (unknown to me) poet is taking over as my favorite...Mary Oliver...ever heard of her? Me neither until yesterday....I came across the poem below and fell in love with it. Mary lives in Provincetown and is still alive and kicking so maybe I will write her a letter and tell her how she kicked Nikki Giovanni out of the top spot for the small portion of heart that is reserved for great (and it has to be great because I don't usually get down with poetry) poetry!
The Summer Day
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
Oh how I love thee Mary Oliver :)