I am lost…
… like the grandfather who lost his leg to photochemical exposures — cursing at a faded revolution.
… like the grandmother who lost her fight with (de) mentia and her superego — cursing at her nurse about blackness.
… like the father who lost his fight with reason in a drug-addled fug — his (de) mentia a vanishing wisp cursing at the ghosts beyond his reach…
All victims of a faded revolution.
What I’m Reading, or: What I Just Finished Reading (a continuing series)
Born of a Woman: New and Selected Poems / Etheridge Knight (1980)
In 1980 this collection included new poems by Knight and selections form two previous works including his Pulitzer Prize and National Book award nominated collection: Belly Song and Other Poems (1973). It was in the preface of this book that Knight elucidated his concept that “Poets are naturally meddlers…” creating art in the form of a dialectic or “TRINITY: The Poet, The Poem, and The People.
His haiku forms are sharp in “Indiana Haiku — 2,” “Missouri Haiku,” and “Indiana Haiku.” In the “Missouri Haiku” compilation he writes about the existential menace he feels in “Boone County: The blue pick/up truck / Roars past: Sun shines on shotgun / Leering in window.”
And no matter where he is in America Knight reminds you that’s all the same existential dread, as in the free verse poem “Boston 5:00 A.M. — 10/74:”
AWAKE! For mornings
Are the same as nights
Down the streets
Other standouts in a book replete with standouts are “For Langston Hughes,”
“Welcome Back, Mr. Knight: Love Of My Life,” “A Poem For 3RD World Brothers,” “It was a Funky Deal,” among many others. Ebook, 02/05/21.
“manicured fingers shuffling
the same stacked deck
with the ante
— Etheridge Knight / “On Watching Politician’s Perform at Martin Luther King’s Funeral”