American Sonnet (10)

Wanda Coleman - 1946-2013
               after Lowell


our mothers wrung hell and hardtack from row
      and boll. fenced others'
gardens with bones of lovers. embarking 
      from Africa in chains
reluctant pilgrims stolen by Jehovah's light 
      planted here the bitter
seed of blight and here eternal torches mark  
      the shame of Moloch's mansions 
built in slavery's name. our hungered eyes
      do see/refuse the dark
illuminate the blood-soaked steps of each  
      historic gain. a yearning
yearning to avenge the raping of the womb 
      from which we spring

More by Wanda Coleman

Bedtime Story

bed calls. i sit in the dark in the living room 
trying to ignore them

in the morning, especially Sunday mornings 
it will not let me up. you must sleep 
longer, it says

facing south
the bed makes me lay heavenward on my back 
while i prefer a westerly fetal position 
facing the wall

the bed sucks me sideways into it when i  
sit down on it to put on my shoes. this
persistence on its part forces me to dress in 
the bathroom where things are less subversive

the bed lumps up in anger springs popping out to
scratch my dusky thighs

my little office sits in the alcove adjacent to 
the bed. it makes strange little sighs
which distract me from my work 
sadistically i pull back the covers 
put my typewriter on the sheet and turn it on

the bed complains that i'm difficult duty 
its slats are collapsing. it bitches when i 
blanket it with books and papers. it tells me
it's made for blood and bone

lately spiders ants and roaches
have invaded it searching for food

Mastectomy

the fall of
velvet plum points and umber aureolae

remember living

forget cool evening air kisses the rush of 
liberation freed from the brassiere

forget the cupping of his hands the pleasure 
his eyes looking down/anticipating

forget his mouth. his tongue at the nipples 
his intense hungry nursing

forget sensations which begin either 
on the right or the left. go thru the body 
linger between thighs

forget the space once grasped during his ecstasy 

sweet sweet mama you taste so

In That Other Fantasy Where We Live Forever

we were never caught

we partied the southwest, smoked it from L.A. to El Dorado 
worked odd jobs between delusions of escape
drunk on the admonitions of parents, parsons & professors 
driving faster than the road or law allowed. 
our high-pitched laughter was young, heartless & disrespected 
authority. we could be heard for miles in the night

the Grand Canyon of a new manhood. 
womanhood discovered
like the first sighting of Mount Wilson

we rebelled against the southwestern wind 

we got so naturally ripped, we sprouted wings, 
crashed parties on the moon, and howled at the earth 

we lived off love. It was all we had to eat

when you split you took all the wisdom
and left me the worry