Featured Poem: A Woman Speaks

By Audre Lorde

Moon marked and touched by sun
my magic is unwritten
but when the sea turns back
it will leave my shape behind.
I seek no favor
untouched by blood
unrelenting as the curse of love
permanent as my errors
or my pride
I do not mix
love with pity
nor hate with scorn
and if you would know me
look into the entrails of Uranus
where the restless oceans pound.
I do not dwell
within my birth nor my divinities
who am ageless and half-grown
and still seeking
my sisters
witches in Dahomey
wear me inside their coiled cloths
as our mother did
mourning.
I have been woman
for a long time
beware my smile
I am treacherous with old magic
and the noon’s new fury
with all your wide futures
promised
I am
woman
and not white.

Featured Poem: Burning the Water Hyacinth

By Audre Lord

We flame the river

to keep the boat paths open

your eyes eat my shadow

at the light line

touchless

completing   each other’s need

to yearn

to settle into hunger

faceless

a waning moon.

Plucking desire

from my palms

like the firehairs of a cactus

I know this appetite

the greed of a poet

or an empty woman

trying to touch

what matters.

Featured Poem: Out of the Wind

By Audre Lorde

For the days when the coffee grounds refuse to settle

and the last toothpick rolls into a crack on the floor

and all the telephone messages are from enemies

or for other people only

and the good old days

lie

between pages of books

we have already written

for the acorn of fear in each April

will this be the year

earth refuses

to forgive us with a blush of green

for the weary assumptions

of next winter’s chill

and for silent days inbetween

your face

mingled in tulips

after brief rain.

Featured Poem: Stations

By Audre Lord

Some women love

to wait

for life  for a ring

in the June light  for a touch

of the sun to heal them  for another

woman’s voice  to make them whole

to untie their hands

put words in their mouths

form to their passages  sound

to their screams  for some other sleeper

to remember  their future  their past

Some woman wait for their right

train  in the wrong station

in the alleys of morning

for the noon to holler

the night come down

Some women wait for love

to rise up

the child of their promise

to gather from earth

what they do not plant

to claim pain for labor

to become

the tip of an arrow  to aim

at the harvest of now

but it never stays.

Some women wait for visions

that do not return

where they were not welcome

naked

for invitations to places

they always wanted

to visit

to be repeated

Some women wait for themselves

around the next corner

and call the empty spot peace

but the opposite of living

is only not living

and the stars do not care

Some women wait for something

to change  and nothing

does change

so they change

themselves

Featured Poem: Naming the Stories

By Audre Lord

Otter and quaking aspens

the set of a full cleansing moon

castle walls crumble

in silence

visions trapped by the wild stone

lace up the sky   pale electric fire

no sound

but a soft expectation of birds

calling the night home.

Half asleep   bells

mark a butterfly’s birth

over the rubble

I crawl into dawn

corn woman bird girl sister

calls from the edge of a desert

where it is still night

to tell me her story

survival.

Rock speaks    a rooster language

and the light is broken

clear.

Featured Poem: A Question of Climate

By Audre Lorde

I learned to be honest

the way I learned to swim

dropped into the inevitable

my father’s thumbs in my hairless armpits

about to give way

I am trying

to surface   carefully

remembering

the water’s shadow-legged musk

cannons of salt   exploding

my nostrils’ rage

and for years

my powerful breast stroke

was a declaration of war.

Featured Poem: Learning to Write

By Audre Lord

Is the alphabet responsible

for the book

in which it is written

that makes me peevish and nasty

and wish I were dumb    again?

We practiced drawing our letters

digging into the top of the desk

and old Sister Eymard

rapped our knuckles

until they bled

she was the meanest of all

and we knew she was crazy

but none of the grownups

would listen to us

until she died in a madhouse.

I am a bleak heroism of words

the refuse

to be buried alive

with the liars.