Thursday, February 5, 2009

Black History Month is Still Important to Me

I haven't done a Black History post, and even though it's still early in the month, that disappoints me. I'd love to say that I've been thinking about a post in the back of my mind all week, but in reality, it hadn't even crossed my mind. A lot of this blog is dedicated to commenting on the Black experience, at least as told through popular media. In reality, being Black in America transcends that which the media readily covers, and that's why I've decided to post one of my favorite poems in celebration of Black History Month.

Poetry isn't something that I enjoy reading, as it's too subjective, and really just difficult. But, for me Gwendolyn Brooks' "Kitchenette Building" personifies the Black experience in America perfectly, so I'll share it with you guys. Something about the imagery reminds me so much of my childhood; not just in terms of my own family, but families around me as well.

I've spent four years in college around some of the most ambitious Black young-adults I've ever met, and I can't help but to think that we're all the result of the reality depicted in this poem: a generation of African-Americans struggling to maintain some sense of hope, despite the desperation of their circumstances, so that their children might make it a little further than they have.

Kitchenette Building

Gwendolyn Brooks


We are things of dry hours and the involuntary plan, Grayed in, and gray.


"Dream" mate, a giddy sound,
not strong Like "rent",
"feeding a wife",
"satisfying a man".


But could a dream sent up
through onion fumes
Its white and violet,
fight with fried potatoes


And yesterday's garbage ripening
in the hall,
Flutter, or sing an aria down
these rooms,


Even if we were willing to let it in,
Had time to warm it, keep it very clean,
Anticipate a message, let it begin?

We wonder. But not well! not for a minute! Since Number Five is out of the bathroom now, We think of lukewarm water, hope to get in it.


Oh, and if you don't know Gwendolyn Brooks...you better ask

2 comments:

Ellington 51 said...

Love it!

"Number 5 is out of the bathroom" ... makes me think about "A Raisin in the sun"... how they had to share one bathroom with other tenants. The idea of shared space/ shared hope / shared struggle etc.rings hard. And of course there's the obvious recall of Hughes' "Dream Deferred" (Harlem). Haven't read a LOT of Brooks, but mean to buy a collection soon as I get through with this semester. Can't wait til' I'm done with what I HAVE to read, so i can read what i WANT to read.

viagra online said...

This is perfect because it's a good story specially when I read a bout black people because they have made a great effort to fit in the society since time ago.m10m