ties

I knew Nikki Giovanni and also a guy named Giovanni Turner at the same place and time who thought he was Nat but with a higher education and a microphone and I thought he should give both back because he was giving everyone a bad name.

Not sure what Nikki thought of him but she was always sweet to me and I wonder now what she’d think of how I try to write poetry without line breaks because I don’t know where to put them and don’t want to.

When I was young I thought Ish Butterfly Butler was a genius and later I thought maybe she knew him because he named her in songs and his songs were poems first, songs second and he knew for sure where line breaks went—they went wherever you put them, if you were good.

If I don’t know whether Nikki knew Butterfly I do know she knew the kid who shot up my alma mater while my poet girlfriend was in the building next door hearing gunshots and watching people jump from windows and calling me for a quick hushed second to tell me she was ok and that something crazy was happening and I could hear the shots through the phone before she hung up and I hope I never ever hear what the fake Nat Turner thinks about that because he was there too, like her like Nikki like me, but probably too busy likening himself to Marcus Garvey—and I do mean literally—and wishing he could be Ish while I was busy trying to get away and make my line break but somehow all those ties remain.

7 Comments

    1. I actually never took one of her courses either, strangely enough, and I regret it too. But I knew her when I was a grad student there (and I also worked in the English dept),and I always enjoyed her.

      Thank you for reading, I’m glad you stumbled across it…

      Liked by 1 person

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