Poem: “Itany: by Poet Mahogany L. Browne

0 Posted by - March 6, 2018 - Black History, LATEST POSTS, Poems

Mahogany L. Browne was born in Oakland, California. She is the author of several poetry collections and chapbooks, including Smudge (Button Poetry, 2016), Redbone (Aquarius Press, 2015) and #Dear Twitter: Love Letters Hashed Out Online (Penmanship Books, 2010).

Browne is the founder and publisher of Penmanship Books, which she created “as the answer to the performance poet’s publishing problem.” She is also the author of Unlikely & Other Sorts (Penmanship Books, 2006), a collection of poetry and essays, and the editor of His Rib: Stories, Poems & Essays by HER (Penmanship Books, 2007).

Browne is also the artistic director of Urban Word NYC and program director of Black Lives Matter Pratt. Her most recent books are Smudge (Button Poetry, 2015) and Redbone (Willow Books, 2015).

itany

by Mahogany L. Browne

I wish I knew how
It would feel to be free
I wish I could break
All the chains holding me —Nina Simone

today i am a black woman in america
& i am singing a melody ridden lullaby
it sounds like:
the gentrification of a brooklyn stoop
the rent raised three times my wages
the bodega and laundromat burned down on the corner
the people on the corner
each lock & key their chromosomes
a note of ash & inquiry on their tongues

today i am a black woman in a hopeless state
i will apply for financial aid and food stamps
with the same mouth i spit poems from
i will ask the angels of a creative god to lessen
the blows
& i will beg for forgiveness when i curse
the rising sun

today, i am a black woman in a body of coal
i am always burning and no one knows my name
i am a nameless fury, i am a blues scratched from
the throat of ms. nina—i am always angry
i am always a bumble hive of hello
i love like this too loudly, my neighbors
think i am an unforgiving bitter
sometimes, i think my neighbors are right
most times i think my neighbors are nosey

today, i am a cold country, a storm
brewing, a heat wave of a woman wearing
red pumps to the funeral of my ex-lover’s

today, i am a woman, a brown and black &
brew woman dreaming of freedom

today, i am a mother, & my country is burning
and i forget how to flee
from such a flamboyant backdraft
—i’m too in awe of how beautiful i look
on fire

Copyright © 2016 by Mahogany Browne.

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