Poem: “Nina’s Blues” by Poet Cornelius Eady

0 Posted by - February 23, 2024 - BLACK ART & LITERATURE, LATEST POSTS

Cornelius Eady is an American writer focusing largely on matters of race and society, His poetry often centers on jazz and blues, family life, violence, and societal problems stemming from questions of race and class.

Eady was born in Rochester, New York and is an author of seven volumes of poetry. In most of Eady’s poems, there is a musical quality drawn from the Blues and Jazz.

Eady has been honored with awards including the Strousse Award from Prairie Schooner, a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Award, and individual Fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Art.

His first book of poetry, Kartunes, was published in 1980, with several books of poetry following it. One of his most popular works, Eady’s book Brutal Imagination (2001) comprises two cycles of poems, each confronting the same subject: the black man in white America.

Nina’s Blues

Your body, hard vowels
In a soft dress, is still.
What you can’t know
is that after you died
All the black poets
In New York City
Took a deep breath,
And breathed you out;
Dark corners of small clubs,
The silence you left twitching
On the floors of the gigs
You turned your back on,
The balled-up fists of notes
Flung, angry from a keyboard.
You won’t be able to hear us
Try to etch what rose
Off your eyes, from your throat.
Out you bleed, not as sweet, or sweaty,
Through our dark fingertips.
We drum rest
We drum thank you
We drum stay.

1 Comment

  • maryann hayes August 14, 2020 - 12:56 pm

    i loved it