IN THE HEYDAYS OF HIS EYES
(taut jeans dancing)

An Anthology of Poetry about Being Young and Growing Up
 
 
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AUTHORS


HOUSECLEANING

Nikki Giovanni

i always liked housecleaning even as a child i dug straightening the cabinets putting new paper on the shelves washing the refrigerator inside out and unfortunately this habit has carried over and i find i must remove you from my life


NIKKI-ROSA

Nikki Giovanni

childhood remembrances are always a drag if you're Black you always remember things like living in Woodlawn with no inside toilet and if you become famous or something they never talk about how happy you were to have your mother all to yourself and how good the water felt when you got your bath from one of those big tubs that folk in chicago barbecue in and somehow when you talk about home it never gets across how much you understood their feelings as the whole family attended meetings about Hollydale and even though you remember your biographers never understand your father's pain as he sells his stock and another dream goes and though you're poor it isn't poverty that concerns you and though they fought a lot it isn't your father's drinking that makes any difference but only that everybody is together and you and your sister have happy birthdays and very good christmasses and I really hope no white person ever has cause to write about me because they never understand Black love is Black wealth and they'll probably talk about my hard childhood and never understand that all the while I was quite happy


LEGACIES

Nikki Giovanni

her grandmother called her from the playground "yes, ma'am" "i want chu to learn how to make rolls," said the old woman proudly but the little girl didn't want to learn how because she know even if she couldn't say it that that would mean when the old one died she would be less dependent upon her spirit so she said "i don't want to know how to make no rolls" with her lips poke out and the old woman wiped her hands on her apron saying "lord these children" and neither of them ever said what they meant and i guess nobody ever does


A POEM FOR CAROL

Nikki Giovanni

when i was very little though it's still true today there were no sidewalks in lincoln heights and the home we had on jackson street was right next to a bus stop and a sewer which didn't really ever become offensive but one day from the sewer a little kitten with one eye gone came crawling out though she never really came into our yard but just sort of hung by to watch the folk my sister who was always softhearted but able to act effectively started taking milk out to her while our father would only say don't bring him home and everyday after school i would rush home to see if she was still there and if gary had fed her but i could never bring myself to go near her she was so loving and so hurt and so singularly beautiful and i knew i had nothing to give that would replace her gone eye and if i had named her which i didn't i'm sure i would have called her carol

 
 
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