Wednesday, February 24, 2010

thingsimreading: Black American Women You Need to Know Day 24:...


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via guerrilla mama on 2/24/10


Black American Women You Need to Know

Day 24: Ntozake Shange

i first came to know of Ntozake thru For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf as a young girl. i couldn't even say for sure what age, but probably around 10 or 11, as i do know i was 10 when i first read Richard Wright and Malcolm X (before you laugh at how i can recall that so clearly, it's because i associate it with the spring when my parents renewed their wedding vows and i was kicked outside frequently so my mom and grandmother could prepare things in the house… my grandfather asked me what i was reading because my mother had expressed concern about my reading so much and whether i was reading "appropriate" material and why i stayed in a corner of my room with a book all the time. Fortunately for me, my grandfather was on my side). Anyway, i spent a lot of time in the neighborhood library and i ran across For Colored Girls, which really spoke to me even though i didn't yet know that i was a colored girl for sure (we suspected, but due to the secrecy of adoption records at that time we didn't know for certain). You can imagine my thrill when i ran across a copy of the book in my neighborhood thrift shop about a year ago!

Several years ago, on one of my used book forays with my ex-husband (women, i must tell you - put on your list of necessary qualities in any lover that supports your reading habits; it is a truly lovely thing) i picked up The Love Space Demands (a continuing saga), without even recognizing the name or making the connection to having read For Colored Girls decades prior.

i say/ i heard etta james in her eyes/ i

know/ i heard the blues in her eyes/ an

unknown/ virulent blues/ a stalkin

takin no answer but yes to me

blues/ a song of a etta james/ a

cantankerous blues/ a blues born of

wantin & longin/ wantin & longin for

you/ mama/ or etta mae/

song of a ol hand me down blues

hangin by its breath/ alone

a fragile new blues

hardly close to nowhere/ cept them eyes

& i say/ i heard a heap of etta james

in them eyes/ all over them eyes/

so come on Annie

so tell mama all about it

tell mama all about it

all about it

all about it

tell mama

from "crack annie" in The Love Space Demands (a continuing saga)


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