Sunday, May 10, 2009

Poem For Our Mothers

Poem for Our Mothers
(to the students of Xavier University Preparatory School)

This poem is for our mothers
This poem is for New Orleans mothers
This poem is for New Orleans women
-true believers and achievers (keepers of the faith)
who nurtured, cradled, counseled and comforted…

This poem is for the satin dolls, the yardbird suite tastes of honey,
walkin’ (all by themselves) on Green Dolphin Street…
or working in steamy, hot kitchens and air-conditioned boardrooms
-on planes and trains, in banks and tanks
-at computer terminals and behind the bar
(ain’t nuthin’ wrong with that – she just raisin’ her chirrens)

This poem is for the students of Xavier Prep
(future educators, legislators, liberators and leaders)
This poem is for Ruby Bridges, Oretha Castle Haley and Leah Chase

This poem is for the church women and the street wimmin
(Sometimes they both)
-Oops! My ba-a-a-a-a-ad…

This poem is for yo’momma
(Yeah, I’m talkin’ ‘bout yo’ momma – and yo’ gran’ma, too)
-yo’ momma who told you ‘bout sitting properly (like a young lady)
-yo’ momma who told you ‘bout how hard she work
to send you to a quality school (no thugs allowed)
-yo’ momma who told you how hard it was
when she laid down there and had you
-mommas who git you up off yo’ offensive end
so you can be on time for school
-mommas who say “I done brought yo’ behind here – and I’ll take you away!”
-mommas who say “I’ma put so mucha you on the flo’ –
they gon’ think it’s the Blood Bank up in here!”
(them kinda mommas)

This poem is for the mothers who see their children slaughtered
in the city’s mean streets
-women who cry “My baby! My baby!”
(when it’s too-oo-oo late ba-a-aby…)

-women who say “They needs to stop all this killin’ –
I thought we had done got way mo’ betta den nat!”

-women who deny themselves
so their children can get a good education

-women who make beds to send their chirrens to school
-women who “talk-too-much-and-worry-you-to-death”
-women who sing “ba-a-aby, ba-a-a-by, ba-a-a-by…)”
-women who choose their men on what they got
what they wear
what they drive and
what they say
insteada what they are…

women who run for office
women who run the office
women who run from the office…
women who fry chicken for a livin’
(ain’t nuthin wrong with that)
-women who have you wear your clothes properly
(as befits a young lady)
-women who know ‘bout “who shot the La-La”…

-women who tell jokes
women who tell jokes
women who tell jokes like: “Why did the cow get a new house?
-because it had to moo-oo-oove…”

or jokes like: “Name three parts of speech –
-‘My mouf, my lips, and my teefs’”

or jokes like: “What kinda rice is brown on the outside and white
on the inside?
-- ‘Condoleezza Rice’”
(You wro-o-o-ong for that)

Women who represent
women who represent
women who truly represent…
women like Mary McCleod Bethune and Sojourner Truth
-women like the African mothers who cast their children overboard
rather than have them raised in bondage
-women who were sold at the market
-women who shopped at the market
-women who shopped at Schwegmann’s and D.H. Holmes
-women who shopped at McKenzie’s and Maison Blanche
-women who shopped at K-B and Krauss (but couldn’t try hats on)
-women who shopped at the corner sto’ (mostly on creddick)
-women who shop wherever they wan’ shop
and work wherever they wan’ work (after “integration”)
-women named “Elsie” (HOW NOW, BROWN COW?)
-women who sing “That bo-o-o-o-o-oy went home to Jee-zuss!”
(even though he was in that dope thang)
-women who get into that graveyard love (insteada college)
-women with sweet potato plants in their kitchen windows
-women who call you everything but “a child o’ Gawd”…

-women who say things
women who say things
women who say things like: “Don’t be callin’ that man no ‘Dawg’
That man name ain’t ‘Dawg’
That man name’ Mr. Dawg’”

or things like: “Hungry?!? – Ain’t no maids in here!
You best git you summa that KARO Syrup
and a piece o’ bread –
and make like it’s a hamburger!”

or things like: “That boy feet done growed so fast –
he tired all the time.”

or things like: “Boy so dumb, if he was in a hurricane he’d say
‘Why is it so windy?’”

or things like: “Boy so slow, he cain’t even read his own name

or things like: “Boy so dumb, he couldn’t find a drink on Bourbon Street…”

Insteada “Arab” they say “A-rabb”
Insteada “spanking” they say “whippin”
Insteada “You’re a bit inebriated” they say “You tippin’”
Insteada “You’re acting quite odd” they say “You trippin’”
Insteada “You’re making quite a mistake” they say “You slippin’”

This poem is for the people
This poem is for the seamstresses and the waitresses
This poem is for the teachers and the preachers
for the maids and college presidents
for the wintertime women with the summertime blues…

This is a hurricane poem…
This poem is for Flora, Cora, Hilda, Isabelle and Betsy
This poem is for Marilyn and Carolyn, Yolanda and Saronda
for Zelda and Emelda, for Nina and Tina
for the lovers of life and sages of their ages
for women named “Aunt Sweet”
for Big Momma, Gran’ma, Maw-Maw and Ma Dear
for Short Fat Fanny, Wacky Jackie and BIG GREASY NEICY
for their love hugs and Daniel Green slippers
( the original weapon of mass destruction)
for Doreen’s Sweet Shop and Bertha’s Bon Ton
for Big Shirley’s and Willie Mae’s Scotch House
for Fannie Mae, Annie Mae, Ida Mae, Connie Mae, Cora Mae, Dora Mae,
Ora Mae, Ida Mae, Jessie Mae,
Bessie Mae (Bessie Mae Mucho-o-o-o…)
Bay-Bay, May-May, Nee-Nay, Noo-Nay, Shantay and Ray-Ray
for Beaulah and Eulah, Nelly and Kelley
for Linda, Lydia, Leona and Lorraine
for Peola and Enola
for Brenda and Zenda (I’m just a prisoner…)
for the cedar robes and the chiffarobes
for Caldonia, Caldonia (What-makes-yo’-big-haid-so-hard?)

This poem is for Gizelle, Chanel, Creshell, Shantelle, Rochelle, Maybelle,
Annabelle and Florabelle (DING-DONG)

This poem is for Imani, Hope and Charity (where most o’ y’all was born-ded)
for Khadijah and Jemima (much more than a picayune cartoon)
for Hannah, Anna, and Old Suzannah
(Don’t you cry for me –
‘cause I’m comin’ from the Ninth Ward
with a six-pack on my knee)

for Betty, Bessy and Two-Ton Tessie
for Sharine and Jeanine (Last Time, Las Time I Saw Jeanine…)

for our mothers, friends, aunts, sisters, and others
-their pleasures and treasures
-their madness and badness
-their blessings and bereavement
-their challenge and achievement
-their silences and song
-their faith, everstrong
-their love like no others

This poem is for our mothers…

© Professor ARTURO (Arthur Pfister)
Feb. 11, 2004 All Rights Reserved

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