Nikkie Giovanni Speaks

Wow… Earlier today I watched the convocation at Virginia Tech. I cried the whole way through. I sat in disbelief and can’t put the emotions I was feeling, and am still feeling, into words. There is no understanding something like this. There can’t be. There’s no common frame of reference to help in trying to figure it out. It’s just very very sad. And… just as we, as a people, rejoice when something spectacular happens for this country, we all join in mourning when something horrific happens. It’s as if some measure of it, good or bad, touches us personally. Because… it does. We feel the fear it creates and then the struggle against that fear within ourselves.

The convocation ended with a poem written and read by Nikki Giovanni, Professor of English at Virginia Tech and a well known, widely read poet. Her reading was and event, one of those moments. It was one of those times when someone spoke words that were filled with hope and magic just when everyone needed to hear exactly that. On a day filled with so much sadness, she made the light shine just a bit… it was uplifting, inspiring, and breathtaking.

I couldn’t find the poem she read this morning on the net, yet… but I did find some of her other work… here are a couple I really liked…

kidnap poem

ever been kidnapped
by a poet
if i were a poet
i’d kidnap you
put you in my phrases and meter
you to jones beach
or maybe coney island
or maybe just to my house
lyric you in lilacs
dash you in the rain
blend into the beach
to complement my see
play the lyre for you
ode you with my love song
anything to win you
wrap you in the red Black green
show you off to mama
yeah if i were a poet i’d kid
nap you

Ego Tripping (there may be a reason why)

I was born in the congo
I walked to the fertile crescent and built
the sphinx
I designed a pyramid so tough that a star
that only glows every one hundred years falls
into the center giving divine perfect light
I am bad

I sat on the throne
drinking nectar with allah
I got hot and sent an ice age to europe
to cool my thirst
My oldest daughter is nefertiti
the tears from my birth pains
created the nile
I am a beautiful woman

I gazed on the forest and burned
out the sahara desert
with a packet of goat’s meat
and a change of clothes
I crossed it in two hours
I am a gazelle so swift
so swift you can’t catch me

For a birthday present when he was three
I gave my son hannibal an elephant
He gave me rome for mother’s day
My strength flows ever on

My son noah built new/ark and
I stood proudly at the helm
as we sailed on a soft summer day
I turned myself into myself and was
jesus
men intone my loving name
All praises All praises
I am the one who would save

I sowed diamonds in my back yard
My bowels deliver uranium
the filings from my fingernails are
semi-precious jewels
On a trip north
I caught a cold and blew
My nose giving oil to the arab world
I am so hip even my errors are correct
I sailed west to reach east and had to round off
the earth as I went
The hair from my head thinned and gold was laid
across three continents

I am so perfect so divine so ethereal so surreal
I cannot be comprehended except by my permission

I mean…I…can fly
like a bird in the sky…

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