Last year, somewhere between Poetry Month and Black History Month while taking a class at the Writers Studio in NYC (virtually), I discovered the Black poet, Major Jackson who taught one of our craft classes (virtually). I fell in love with “The Absurd Man,” bookended by Major and I and Double Major. In the middle were You, Reader and My Son & Me and you can’t help but love someone who is speaking directly to you and to me, directly, about himself.
This year, not intentionally (like last year) I found myself in the wrong place at the wrong time which is to say I mistook Saturday for Sunday at the Bainbridge Library and found myself trespassing in the books for sale room a day before the actual sale and held in my arms four volumes which included ‘Where I Was From’ by Joan Didion for a dollar which I took to as token from the universe and also ‘Beat Voices’, An Anthology of Beat Poetry edited by David Kherdian for 50 cents which spoke to where I (as in me, Denise) was from as well as other lives I almost lived and inside of that library, inside of Black History Month, inside of that book, I have so far discovered black “Beat” poets Ted Joans and Leroi Jones, smooth voices still beating and not beat. They are at home with me now because the librarian gave me a pass and because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, which is to say, it turned out right on.
By Ted Joans
And she was brown
And she always dressed and wore brown
And she had a fine brown body
And she had two beautiful brown eyes
And she would sit in the Beat Café
On her brown behind on a hard brown bench
And listen to brown sounds entertain her brown thoughts
And she would often double cross her big brown legs
And reveal her beautiful brown pleasing knees
And as she sat in the Beat Café on her brown behind on the
hard brown bench
And listening to brown sounds coming from
brown entertainers of brown bohemia
I saw a young white girl throw away her
brand new jar of
suntan lotion and sigh:
By Leroi Jones
My wife is left-handed.
Which implies a fierce de-
termination. A complete other
worldliness. IT’S WEIRD BABY
The way some folks
are always trying to be different.
A sin & a shame.
Beth then, she’s been a bohemian
all her life . . . black stockings,
refusing to take orders. I sit
patiently, trying to tell her
what’s right. TAKE THAT DAMM
PENCIL OUTTA THAT HAND. YOU’RE
RITING BACKWARDS. & such. But
to no avail. & it shows
in her work. Left-handed coffee,
left-handed eggs: when she comes
in at night . . . it’s her left hand
offered for me to kiss. DAMM.
& now her belly droops over the seat.
They say it’s a child. But
I ain’t quite so sure.
OTHER ARTICLES BY DENISE:
Sculpture in the Front Yard – Yes Please!
BI Online Sites Remind Me of Dumpster-Diving Days
Should I Stay or Should I Go!
Air Time: Talking Tillandsia with Sam Rader of Valley Nursery
Suggested Reading List for April Poetry Month
Neither Snow nor Rain nor Heat nor Gloom of Night (…but mostly snow)
History, Community and Art Converge at Pleasant Beach Village
New Sculptures in Familiar Places: Public Art Installations on Bainbridge Island
Green Light Garage: The Motherboard
Denise’s Favorite Virtual Gallery Tour: The National Cowboy Western & Heritage Museum
ABOUT DENISE STOUGHTON. Inspired by globe-trotting, art, fashion, technology and nature, Denise has spent a lifetime in the creative realm first as a home products industry design executive in New York City and more recently as an interior designer on Bainbridge Island. Her line of wall planter décor called Modern Airhead is made locally and sold at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art (BIMA) gift shop. Writing has been a life-long passion and she’s authored blogs, articles and essays for mo-minski.com as well as for bainbridgecurrents.com. Denise serves on the Public Art Committee and is a board member of Arts & Humanities Bainbridge. Her chihuahuas Tula and Milo are constant companions and often accompany Denise around town riding shotgun in her VW Beetle. Visit denisebidesign.com to learn more about her work.