Reader Sumission: Poetry by Rage

Poetry

Thank you to Rage for submitting the great poems below, and be sure to check out her work in Other Tongues: Mixed Race Women Speak Out. Check out the submissions page to get our work featured!

You Could Be Halle Berry’s Sister!

brown is my allowance:
the quick, tinning sound
of nickels into jar.
I have earned this much

my sister says
of color, turns down
her mouth’s corners only asking
why
would you say that?

her father and mine
only sometimes ours
having never made eyes
with a question mark
has not asked of anything

there is no curiosity.
no lantern light.

brown is my allowance
accruing in silencelessness
or my recoil-
the imminent withdrawal

awarded only pennies worth
of power
where my back meets
these hips

effortless rhythm rinsing
into shoulder blade
deepening broad muscle
an unpacking strength

a cashier asks
Hezekiah? Israeli?

No. And Thank
You.
And Good
Bye.

We Are All Human!
my White mother says
(her bra-less picture in
my kitchen)
A Black Man is President!
Our Arrival.

My hand still open
snatching at pieces
of lantern light,

lightening bugs
in mason jars
where I keep
my coins.

 

Tinderbox

its worth is a helix
strands all gathered up
the hand-me-down
tinderbox
found here

this was not a chosen sleep
its narcoleptic drift left
me drug-spent
rubbing unwelcome sunlight
from these eyes

and watched you bless the wine
and bread
wash
and     bless the wine
and bread
and I absorbed new language

cultureless as my father
in all his appropriation
collecting his heritage
as it is marketed to him

When I ask if he is Black
his eyes find new horizon
shadowed there
There are places
wide enough for this largess
its expanse

but even there
unexpected weapons hid
beneath the place I slept

it was still a tinderbox
there the ones that loved me
weren’t quite so apt
to fondle matches

Songs Feet can Sing

Mother fed me on folk music
breastfed me barefoot
Celtic crosses hung between clavicle
my brown neck
their throne

My Feet as the Bodhran
laced in archaic shoe
traced and marked wooden floors of Irish pubs
these dark curls bouncing
with treble reel and jig

Brownness between pale skin and freckle
The features of this face
oblivious to its origins

In the passing of years
My rigid upper body
begs the tales of my ancestry
Pulling island songs from my father’s pocket

When I tug his linen shirts
he plays me Harry Belafonte
brings me to my grandfather’s backyard

This large man, strong bones
cooks up jerk chicken, rice and beans,
makes sweet drink
“how’s everyting?
good good good.”

I find my hips and let my hair down
hear my father’s hands upon tightened skins
drum circles pulsing of djembe and conga
my core heated with dance

Movement has always been my medium
This body of the Moors of Ireland
This body of the West Indies
This body, dancing.
Dancing.

BIO: Rage is a queer, BlackIrish, sister, and former/current farmer, dancer, baker, doula and poet.  She revels in the magic of words, food, and children and loves to play with them all.

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