Three Poems by Alice Lovelace
from "Remembering My Birth"
Recent and Collected Poems
by Alice Lovelace
||Alice Lovelace. Photo by Nic Paget-Clarke.
||Cover design: Omo Olokum - Tempera, 1991, Natchez, Mississippi by Tunde Afolayan Famous Jr. Artist statement: In Yoruba culture children with locks are considered gifts from The Sea Goddess and spiritually endowed.
These three poems are from "Remembering My Birth: Recent and Collected Poems" by Alice Lovelace, (Introduction by Dr. Ja Jahannes). Atlanta. Horizons Press, 1994.
I want to write you
a tomahawk poem
to aid you in
your / our struggle
This tomahawk poem
will be sharp
will be treacherous
will be notched to your grip
will be singular in purpose
(to extract the fangs of would / be profamers)
I want you to wear it
don't let anyone
get in the way
of our love poem
Fondle these lines in the night
preserve it under your pillow
employ it to amputate poison
from hemorrhaging tongues
(this tomahawk poem is yours)
Carry it with you wherever you go
and if anybody challenges your
you yank out this poem
and axe that action
('cause this poem is your defense)
This poem is yours
when you being lover, friend
banker, craftsrnan, cook, provider
teacher, preacher, organizer...
This is your poem
A Tomahawk Poem
to lacerate the skulls
of your enemies
A poem you can
pick your teeth with
Grip the handle
sculpted to your hands
A tomahawk poem
to split the wood
To fuel the fire
of audacious humanity
burning three hundred and sixty degrees
I want you to wear this poem
slung across your shoulder
like an Uzi
In your defense
This is your Tomahawk Poem!
Remembering My Birth
For Lucy: She Lived in Hadar, Ethiopia
3.75 million years ago / Great Mother of Us All
For Lake Turkana in Kenya / where it all began?
The fat face of the moon swollen with sorrow
Sends her regrets; licking the surface of the river,
she separates salt from sand, mist from fog
eat the tension in each. I come, walking
between the waves balancing my genes,
my atoms, resisting the moons advances.
I will you a tear surrender to the sacred
Sun all else, cunning night cannot hold me
In the dark cradle of his journey.
The fat face of the moon, pregnant
with reason, smiles through a thicket of glaciers
while this belly (this belly?) impersonates history.
Where are you, Lucy? come,
dance with me, once last dance,
Lucy before the sun swallows you
And I must flow with the mist
Add the residue of my tears my tongue
To this most ancient of waters
This river creeps between the barnacles of my smile,
This river pierces my fresh ploughed fallows,
This fickle carcass, supple, constant
Lug history in the shifting tracks of her borders.
Nomadic one vanquish me in the hard perfection of your shadow,
Mighty one you flex and the captured moon quakes
Great mother of us all protect these bones
Testament to your grave arrangements
Tell me, where are you from?
(sing) take me to the water
Where are you from?
(sing) take me to the water
Where are YOU from?
(sing) take me to the water to be baptized
Remembering my birth.
When the fantasy begins
I can't restrain it
Bud to bloom
For the bee's ernbrace
Your nectar lingers
Your Afrikan wrap
You are the General
In swaths of
You guide me to the Sea
You are the
My warrior proven
A rebellious wind
Caressing me with tongue familiar
In the space reserved
For you to know
All knowledge takes root
In my weakest sigh...
The fantasy dances
Bud to Bloom
(bud to bloom)
Published in In Motion Magazine November 16, 1995