The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
littlereview

Poem for Sunday


N-e-m-e-s-i-s Blues
By A. Van Jordan


I'd rather have no name, no name for my man to call
Say, I'd rather lose my name, no name to call
Than to use my name to make a poor girl crawl

They gon' and used my name, cruel as they can be
They up and broke my good name, cruel as they can be
Done set fire to my name and blown the smoke back at me

Smells like turpentine is in the drinks tonight
Yeah, put some turpentine in the drinks tonight
Might as well get crazy cause we gonna have to fight

My name must taste like a misspelled word
Poor girl, my name must taste like a misspelled word
But when it's all over, I'll show 'em how trouble gets stirred

Than to use my name to make a poor girl crawl
Man, I'd rather have no name, no name for my man to call
Hell, I'd rather lose my name, have no name at all

--------

From Poet's Choice by Edward Hirsch in this morning's Washington Post Book World: "A. Van Jordan combines the tragic poignancy of the blues with the cinematic sweep of a documentary in his deeply humane and highly imaginative second book, M·A·C·N·O·L·I·A," whose title, Jordan says, means "a Negro who spells and reads as well as [if not better than] any white." The book is about MacNolia Cox, a 13-year-old African American girl who won the Akron District Spelling Bee in 1936 and advanced to the final round of the national competition, "but it is generally thought -- and Jordan clearly believes -- that the Southern judges kept her from winning by deviously tripping her up on the word 'nemesis,' which was not on the official list. That stolen opportunity marked her for life...one feels more than a little grief-stricken and outraged for the gifted young girl who never recovered from her lost or stolen chance." Here's a snippet from another poem, "Infidelity":

Sometimes you learn words
By living them and sometimes
Words learn you

By defining who you are

--------

It is currently raining, despite a forecast that said we were done with that for a couple of days, and my son may or may not have a little league playoff game depending on 1) the weather and 2) the scores of yesterday's games, which have not yet been posted to the web site and we can't get his coach on the phone. Meanwhile my parents are apparently still having a fight, because my mother has offered to take the kids or one of the kids or whatever combination we want to see Prisoner of Azkaban with her -- when we saw them Friday my parents were both talking about going to see it this weekend. Am not sure whether, if the older son has baseball, I should take the younger son and go with my mother, or if this will be perceived as getting involved in whatever schtick my parents have going on between them and if I am better off simply making my own plans.

We had gotten my older son a watch as an elementary school graduation present -- not a fancy one, a waterproof digital with a stopwatch, light, etc. that cost less than $25 because our kids' track records for losing watches is impressive. At the same time I went into KB Toys, which had these calculator watches that were originally $10 and were on sale for $5, which I took to mean that they were probably pieces of crap, but I wanted to get my younger son something because I knew the older one was going to get a pile of presents from his grandparents, so I got one of those. In fact it is a piece of crap and we can't get the time set, but all he has talked about all weekend is how he wants to go back and exchange it for one that works -- he talked about this at the ball game and he would rather do this than go to the movies or even play GameCube. But I just know that if we get another of the same watch, it will just break in a couple of days. Should I just ask if he wants a watch like his brother's?

Vid pimpage: ashinae's "Cut Me Loose", to "Amsterdam" by Coldplay. Angsty Frodo/Sam. Duration: 5:19. WMV download, 17.8MB. *sniffles*

Also I believe I have missed the entire month of birthdays thus far! Happy belated to ash_llelo, ealgylden and niciasus, and happy birthday to kathryne_deanna!
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