40 PoetsAlice WalkerDid This Happen To Your Mother? Did Your Sister Throw Up A Lot?
"I thought love would adapt itself to my needs.
But needs grow too fast;
they come up like weeds.
Through cracks in the conversation.
Through silences in the dark."Angela JacksonPracticing Patience
"Think of quilting.
Think of washing greens.
Think of cleaning chitterlings
with your face turned away
wrinkled up in eager disgust.
Scrape the stink from the lining.
Scrape and pray the stink away.
Think of the curves on the rocking
It is a circle."Audre LordeNaturally
"Since Naturally Black is Naturally Beautiful
I mus be proud
Who always was a trifle
And, plain, though proud,
Before."Carmen R. GillespieTalkin' Back to Mama
"Broom in hand, she screamed:
"Gal I'll knock your head off
And roll it out the back door."
Hand on hip, I stood defiant.
How far could a broomswept
head go anyway?"Carolyn RodgersSlave Ritual
"when I asked him about
he said he had to do
knock her down, slap her,
beat her up, chastise her...
would she know
he loved her?"Charlotte Watson ShermanRoots
try to make me
ashamed of this
fact, sorry my hair
grows in dry tight
cottonfields on my
head and will not
fly in the wind
like the woman I am not."bell hooksThe Body Inside The Soul
"i shall sing a praise song
a song my mother taught me
it is round
there is no edge
there is no way to fall off."Elizabeth AlexanderPraise Song for the Day
"Praise song for struggle, praise song for the day.
Praise song for every hand-lettered sign,
the figuring-it-out at kitchen tables."Gwendolyn BrooksPrimer for Blacks
"Blackness is a title, is a preoccupation, is a commitment Blacks.
The word Black has geographic power, pulls everybody in."Gloria Wade-GaylesLoving Again
we loved as if the gods
had announced only to us
that they sky would fall
while we slept."Kelly Norman EllisRaised by Women
"I was raised by
Cornbread so good you want to lay
down and die baking
"Go on baby, get yo'self a plate"
Kind of Women."Lucille CliftonHomage to My Hips
"these hips are big hips.
they need space to move around in.
they don't fit into little petty places.
these hips are free hips."Nikky Finney Uncles
with massive hands and broad mustaches.
who outlived wars.
and married feisty oak-imaged women.
be tight with money.
tender of heart.
and close to me."Nikki GiovanniEgo Tripping
"I was born in the Congo
I walked to the fertile crescent and built
I designed a pyramid so tough that a star
that only glows every one hundred years falls
into the center giving divine perfect light
I am bad."Mari EvansI Am A Black Woman
"I am a black woman
the music of my song
some sweet arpeggio of tears
is written in a minor key
can be heard humming in the night"Maya AngelouPhenomenal Woman
"I walk into a room just as cool as you please,
and to a man, the fellows stand or fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me, A hive of honey bees."Harryette MullenRoad Map
"She wants a man she can just
unfold when she needs him
then fold him up again
like those 50 cent raincoats
women carry in their purses
in case they get caught in stormy weather."Margaret WalkerFor My People
"For my people everywhere singing their slave songs
repeatedly: their dirges and their ditties and their blues and jubilees, praying their prayers nightly to an unknown god, bending their knees humbly to an unseen power;"Michelle ParkersonStatistic
the lives of black boys
were worth nothing
and you were
no stranger to bloodshed
or the drives of men
in a Southern sawmill town"Jayne CortezPray For The Lovers
"Pray for the lovers
for those who are suspicious
for those who are jealous
for those who are revengeful
Pray for the lovers
for those who are unsatisfied for
those who are frightened for..."Jessica Care Moorethe sweetest revolution
"of you so afraid
to let me show you how a real woman could
help you find the man in you
my wholeness will guide you to the
half of you
you thought you didn't have
so you only offered the little that your
and in the end it's never enough
I wanna smell like it
taste like it feel like it walk barefoot inside it
wrap it around my waist wear it in the shower take it
home with me..."June JordanGrand Army Plaza
"We are not survivors of a civil war
We survive our love
because we go on
"With Dad gone, Mom and I worked
The dusky rows of tomatoes.
As they glowed orange in sunlight
And rotted in shadow, I too
Grew orange and softer, swelling out
Starched cotton slips."Patricia SpearsJonesLast day of Passover, April 2006
"Spring is the season that demands an abandonment of innocence;
Demands we tease out sadness from our petty hormonal clowning."Sonia SanchezTo Anita
laugh at yo/color
have not moved
to the blackness we be about
cuz as Curtis Mayfield be sayen
we people be darker than blue
and quite a few."Tara BettsFor Those Who Need a True Story
should find soft lives
that drop pendulums in their dreams
and never tell another story
about the ghetto
until they've had to count rats
with their hands."Tracy K. SmithDuende
"I'm going to braid my hair
Braid many colors into my hair
I'll put a long braid in my hair
And write your name there"Toi Derricottemy dad & sardines
"my dad loved
sardines---right before bed---with
onions & mustard. I can't get into my
dad's old heart, but I remember that look on his
face when he would load mustard on a saltine, lay a little fish on top, & tip it with a juicy slice of onion."Thulani DavisDesire 1.
"i have been loved
in moments i have loved myself
having love is the key to having love..."Pearl CleageWe Speak Your Names
"We are here to speak your names
because we have enough sense to know
that we did not spring full blown from the
forehead of Zeus,
or arrive on the scene like Topsy, our sister once
removed, who somehow just growed.
We know that we are walking in footprints made
deep by the confident strides
of women who parted the air before them like the
forces of nature that you are."Phillis WheatleyOn Imagination
"Thy various works, imperial queen, we see,
How bright their forms! how deck'd with pomp by thee!"Ntozake ShangeMy Father Is A Retired Magician
"my father is a retired magician
which accounts for my irregular behavior
everythin comes outta magic hats
or bottles wit no bottoms & parakeets
are as easy to get as a couple a rabbits
or 3 fifty cent pieces/ 1958"Naomi Long MadgettBlack Woman
"My hair is springy like the forest grasses
that cushion the feet of squirrels---
crinkled and blown in a south breeze
like the small leaves of native bushes."Safiya Henderson-HolmesGoodhousekeeping #17
"it was early in the morning
before sun or her children rose
and she was at the kitchen sink squeezing
pink liquid soap over the previous nights dishes
and she had pink curlers in her hair
and a pink, frayed, terrycloth robe drooped over her
and a worn bra and an over bleached
pair of panties peeked
from under the pink robe every now and then"Stephanie PruittDred-locs
"grow locs wild free
kink full rope firm
lock this mind down
don't comb with heat"Suheir HammadWhat I will
"I will not
dance to your war
drum. I will
not lend my soul nor
my bones to your war
drum. I will
not dance to your
beating. I know that beat.
It is lifeless. I know
intimately that skin
you are hitting. It
was alive once
stretched."Patricia SmithAsking for a Heart
"Ain't your mama never told you how black women
collect the world, build other bodies onto their own?"Marilyn NelsonTuskegee Airfield
"These men, these proud black men:
our first to touch their fingers to the sky."asha bandele
Boundary-Breaking Black Women40
Things We Love About Michelle Obama40 Women Who Have Influenced The WorldHere's what you had to say: Stacy commented: "I love this. It's so inspiring. I love Nikky Finney, Gwendolyn Brooks, Sonia Sanchez."