she riffs in less than fifty words
poems that unveil a peoples’ bones.
improvising veto-proof likeness
she cleans neighborhoods of celebrated ignorance
among the weak, wicked and wise,
among the wounded, weary and brief winners.
with oxygen lines,
with vernacular voice and memory
she sings, swims and dances to the merry movements
of the underlooked, bloodflow, heartdrums
and blistered feet of betrayed generations.
this museum of a poet is not about
impressing enemies, friends or lovers,
her urges are to write gladness, grief, and melodies,
always probing for trustworthy tales
of her deep-south multitudes. acutely
aware of the exaggerations of politicians,
public intellectuals and the criminally rich
she is our brilliant testifier.
For Lucille Clifton
Madhubuti, Haki R. Run Toward Fear: New Poems And A Poet’s Handbook. Chicago, IL: Third World Press, Inc., 2004.