Everybody Black is my hometown team. Everybody Black
dropped the hottest album of the year, easy. Everybody Black
is in this show, so I’m watching. Everybody Black is in this movie,
so I’m watching. Everybody Black wore it better, tell the truth.
Everybody Black’s new book was beautiful. How you don’t
know about Everybody Black?! Everybody Black mad
underrated. Everybody Black remind me of someone I know.
I love seeing Everybody Black succeed. I hope Everybody Black
get elected. Everybody Black deserves the promotion more than
anybody. I want Everybody Black to find somebody special.
Everybody Black is good peoples. Everybody Black been through
some things. Everybody Black don’t get the credit they’re due. I met
Everybody Black once and they were super chill and down-to-earth.
I believe in Everybody Black. There’s something about Everybody Black.
Copyright © 2018 by Cortney Lamar Charleston. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 15, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.
When relatives came from out of town,
we would drive down to Blackbottom,
drive slowly down the congested main streets
-- Beubian and Hastings --
trapped in the mesh of Saturday night.
Freshly escaped, black middle class,
we snickered, and were proud;
the louder the streets, the prouder.
We laughed at the bright clothes of a prostitute,
a man sitting on a curb with a bottle in his hand.
We smelled barbecue cooking in dented washtubs,
and our mouths watered.
As much as we wanted it we couldn't take the chance.
Rhythm and blues came from the windows, the throaty voice of
a woman lost in the bass, in the drums, in the dirty down
and out, the grind.
"I love to see a funeral, then I know it ain't mine."
We rolled our windows down so that the waves rolled over us
We hoped to pass invisibly, knowing on Monday we would
return safely to our jobs, the post office and classroom.
We wanted our sufferings to be offered up as tender meat,
and our triumphs to be belted out in raucous song.
We had lost our voice in the suburbs, in Conant Gardens,
where each brick house delineated a fence of silence;
we had lost the right to sing in the street and damn creation.
We returned to wash our hands of them,
to smell them
whose very existence
tore us down to the human.
“Blackbottom” was originally published in Captivity (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1990). Copyright © by Toi Derricotte. Reprinted with the permission of the author.
I want to sleep the sleep of the apples, I want to get far away from the busyness of the cemeteries. I want to sleep the sleep of that child who longed to cut his heart open far out at sea. I don't want them to tell me again how the corpse keeps all its blood, how the decaying mouth goes on begging for water. I'd rather not hear about the torture sessions the grass arranges for nor about how the moon does all its work before dawn with its snakelike nose. I want to sleep for half a second, a second, a minute, a century, but I want everyone to know that I am still alive, that I have a golden manger inside my lips, that I am the little friend of the west wind, that I am the elephantine shadow of my own tears. When it's dawn just throw some sort of cloth over me because I know dawn will toss fistfuls of ants at me, and pour a little hard water over my shoes so that the scorpion claws of the dawn will slip off. Because I want to sleep the sleep of the apples, and learn a mournful song that will clean all earth away from me, because I want to live with that shadowy child who longed to cut his heart open far out at sea.
By Federico García Lorca, translated and edited by Robert Bly, and published by Beacon Press in Selected Poems: Lorca and Jiménez. © 1973 by Robert Bly. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
The Wind is sewing with needles of rain. With shining needles of rain It stitches into the thin Cloth of earth. In, In, in, in. Oh, the wind has often sewed with me. One, two, three. Spring must have fine things To wear like other springs. Of silken green the grass must be Embroidered. One and two and three. Then every crocus must be made So subtly as to seem afraid Of lifting colour from the ground; And after crocuses the round Heads of tulips, and all the fair Intricate garb that Spring will wear. The wind must sew with needles of rain, With shining needles of rain, Stitching into the thin Cloth of earth, in, In, in, in, For all the springs of futurity. One, two, three.
This poem is in the public domain.
Yes, the Year is growing old,
And his eye is pale and bleared!
Death, with frosty hand and cold,
Plucks the old man by the beard,
The leaves are falling, falling,
Solemnly and slow;
Caw! caw! the rooks are calling,
It is a sound of woe,
A sound of woe!
Through woods and mountain-passes
The winds, like anthems, roll;
They are chanting solemn masses,
Singing; Pray for this poor soul,
And the hooded clouds, like friars,
Tell their beads in drops of rain,
And patter their doleful prayers;—
But their prayers are all in vain,
All in vain!
There he stands in the foul weather,
The foolish, fond Old Year,
Crowned with wild flowers and with heather,
Like weak, despised Lear,
A king,—a king!
Then comes the summer-like day,
Bids the old man rejoice!
His joy! his last! O, the old man gray
Loveth that ever-soft voice,
Gentle and low.
To the crimson woods he saith,
And the voice gentle and low
Of the soft air, like a daughter's breath,
Pray do not mock me so!
Do not laugh at me!
And now the sweet day is dead;
Cold in his arms it lies;
No stain from its breath is spread
Over the glassy skies,
No mist or stain!
Then, too, the Old Year dieth,
And the forests utter a moan,
Like the voice of one who crieth
In the wilderness alone,
Vex not his ghost!
Then comes, with an awful roar,
Gathering and sounding on,
The storm-wind from Labrador,
The wind Euroclydon,
Howl! howl! and from the forest
Sweep the red leaves away!
Would, the sins that thou abhorrest,
O Soul! could thus decay,
And be swept away!
For there shall come a mightier blast,
There shall be a darker day;
And the stars, from heaven down-cast
Like red leaves be swept away!
This poem is in the public domain.
Full knee-deep lies the winter snow,
And the winter winds are wearily sighing:
Toll ye the church bell sad and slow,
And tread softly and speak low,
For the old year lies a-dying.
Old year you must not die;
You came to us so readily,
You lived with us so steadily,
Old year, you shall not die.
He lieth still: he doth not move:
He will not see the dawn of day.
He hath no other life above.
He gave me a friend and a true truelove
And the New-year will take ’em away.
Old year you must not go;
So long you have been with us,
Such joy as you have seen with us,
Old year, you shall not go.
He froth’d his bumpers to the brim;
A jollier year we shall not see.
But tho’ his eyes are waxing dim,
And tho’ his foes speak ill of him,
He was a friend to me.
Old year, you shall not die;
We did so laugh and cry with you,
I’ve half a mind to die with you,
Old year, if you must die.
He was full of joke and jest,
But all his merry quips are o’er.
To see him die across the waste
His son and heir doth ride post-haste,
But he’ll be dead before.
Every one for his own.
The night is starry and cold, my friend,
And the New-year blithe and bold, my friend,
Comes up to take his own.
How hard he breathes! over the snow
I heard just now the crowing cock.
The shadows flicker to and fro:
The cricket chirps: the light burns low:
’Tis nearly twelve o’clock.
Shake hands, before you die.
Old year, we’ll dearly rue for you:
What is it we can do for you?
Speak out before you die.
His face is growing sharp and thin.
Alack! our friend is gone,
Close up his eyes: tie up his chin:
Step from the corpse, and let him in
That standeth there alone,
And waiteth at the door.
There’s a new foot on the floor, my friend,
And a new face at the door, my friend,
A new face at the door.
This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on December 31, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets
Wake! For the Sun, who scattered into flight
The Stars before him from the Field of Night,
Drives Night along with them from Heav’n and strikes
The Sultán’s Turret with a Shaft of Light.
Before the phantom of False morning died,
Methought a Voice within the Tavern cried,
“When all the Temple is prepared within,
Why nods the drowsy Worshiper outside?”
And, as the Cock crew, those who stood before
The Tavern shouted—“Open, then, the Door!
You know how little while we have to stay,
And, once departed, may return no more.”
A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread—and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness
Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!
Some for the Glories of This World; and some
Sigh for the Prophet’s Paradise to come;
Ah, take the Cash, and let the Credit go,
Nor heed the rumble of a distant Drum!
Look to the blowing Rose about us—“Lo,
Laughing,” she says, “into the world I blow,
At once the silken tassel of my Purse
Tear, and its Treasure on the Garden throw.”
And those who husbanded the Golden Grain,
And those who flung it to the winds like Rain,
Alike to no such aureate Earth are turned
As, buried once, Men want dug up again.
I sometimes think that never blows so red
The Rose as where some buried Caesar bled;
That every Hyacinth the Garden wears
Dropped in her Lap from some once lovely Head.
And this reviving Herb whose tender Green
Fledges the River-Lip on which we lean--
Ah, lean upon it lightly! for who knows
From what once lovely Lip it springs unseen!
Ah, my Belovéd, fill the Cup that clears
Today of past Regrets and future Fears:
Tomorrow!—Why, Tomorrow I may be
Myself with Yesterday’s Sev’n thousand Years.
For some we loved, the loveliest and the best
That from his Vintage rolling Time hath pressed,
Have drunk their Cup a Round or two before,
And one by one crept silently to rest.
And we, that now make merry in the Room
They left, and Summer dresses in new bloom,
Ourselves must we beneath the Couch of Earth
Descend—ourselves to make a Couch—for whom?
Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend,
Before we too into the Dust descend;
Dust into Dust, and under Dust to lie,
Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and—sans End!
The Moving Finger writes, and, having writ,
Moves on; nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.
And that inverted Bowl they call the Sky,
Whereunder crawling cooped we live and die,
Lift not your hands to It for help—for It
As impotently moves as you or I.
This poem is in the public domain.