Thursday, January 14, 2016

"Coal" by Audre Lorde


is the total black, being spoken
from the earth’s inside.
There are many kinds of open
how a diamond comes into a knot of flame  
how sound comes into a word, colored  
by who pays what for speaking.

Some words are open like a diamond
on glass windows
singing out within the passing crash of sun
Then there are words like stapled wagers
in a perforated book—buy and sign and tear apart—
and come whatever wills all chances
the stub remains
an ill-pulled tooth with a ragged edge.
Some words live in my throat
breeding like adders. Others know sun
seeking like gypsies over my tongue
to explode through my lips
like young sparrows bursting from shell.
Some words
bedevil me.

Love is a word, another kind of open.
As the diamond comes into a knot of flame
I am Black because I come from the earth's inside  
now take my word for jewel in the open light.

Source of the text – Audre Lorde, Undersong: Chosen Poems Old and New.  New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1992.

TJB: Interlocking similes—words as poetic, mercantile, or hateful—power this poem, which mines many dualities. But who holds the mineral rights?

No comments:

Post a Comment

About Me