She was a giant.
"Still I Rise"
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
i’m jealous of
and of your sheets
i want to hear
the sound of
There are words that are lonely
There are words hurt the tongue only
There are words that never speak
There are words that never break
But the most terrible of all
Are the words that never fall
But flip and flap in the sky
Not knowing when or how to die.
Everything is borrowed space, the space I occupy the space left behind. Who was here before? Who had a similar view of the garden?
In the story is a house in another part of the city, with a nearly identical room that can contain the both of us. Inside are objects that can be used in our own murder: a pair of scissors on a stack of folded napkins, the knives in the kitchen, a spool of floss in the downstairs bathroom, the poison under the sink. Inside the story, the living says, I woke up and saw a stranger standing at the foot of my bed.
Outside the story, we leave the couch and make plans for dinner, surrounded by the things that belong to us. Here, a window, a lace curtain. Here a table, a chair, a view of the garden. A plate of apples, a cup of coffee heavy with our reflection. Outside, night falls, and I touch your hand, and we believe we are safe, we believe we have all the time in the world.
From Maps, 1st place in Poetry (English), 2010 Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature