Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

The Librarian

Enlarge poem

Shhh…
Is what the librarian said when I was in grade school
Beating on my chest, beating on the desk
Testing her patience
In essence just acting a fool.
But she didn’t rise from her seat
She stayed calm, she stayed cool.
She didn’t raise her heart one beat
Didn’t raise her voice one octave
Didn’t raise her hand to me.
Instead she
Stayed as still as could be
Then lifted her left index finger
To slightly parted lips
And said this…
Shhh.
So softly your ears
Could almost deny it
But it spoke volumes so loud
The whole room fell silent
The whole room squared their shoulders
And the whole room sat up straight;
And though I never told her
It was she who helped me make
The subtle connection between
Silence and strength.
And my dad told me this
You don’t have to worry about the man loudly beating his gums
But keep your eye on the man quietly loading his guns
And so silently I went home
Hugged, kissed my mom
And continued my journey on
Toward manhood.

Now as an adult I often wish man would
Follow her example, heed her advice.
I mean just the other night
Down in College Park
As dusk was turning dark
I’d heard word of a man who’d been beating his wife
After they’d both been out cheating
And neither one was in the right.
Now she’s not fighting out of spite
She’s fighting for her life
Because we all know men’s egos bruise so light
I mean we all know this.
But the only way he could think to express it
Was with a closed fist;
And I wish just before he
Had thrown the first blow
Just before the
Argument had gotten out of control
Just before the
First seed of infidelity was sowed
They could have both felt that librarian speaking to their soul
Saying, “shhh…
Be quiet. Square your shoulders and
Go about the business of being a responsible woman and man,
A loving wife and husband it’s bigger than you, you understand?
You have kids to raise up so put down your raised hand and just… shhh.”

And I can’t help but think of Iraq and Iran,
Afghanistan, Syria, North Korea, Pakistan.
The Bible, the Koran
Bush, Saddam
The passing of Prime Minister Sharon.
Bin Laden, the sands,
The towers, the bombs
And I want to stand a librarian on The White House lawn;
And I want to stand a librarian on the U.N. floor;
Stand a librarian on shores where the troops deploy;
Stand a librarian firmly on foreign and domestic soil;
So when those good ol’ boys
Get to arguing about the price of crude oil per barrel
About what’s due Caesar and what’s due Pharaoh
In a world so wide when views get so narrow
And they start reaching for their arrows
Bows and guns
Reaching for your support
Your funds and sons
I want the voice of a librarian to come through clear
To tell this politicians to stand up straight
Be of good faith and good cheer
Play nice and get along
Because we’re going to all have to live here.
And she could say all of this
Not by raising her voice
Not by raising her fist
But raising her left index finger to her slightly parted lips
And saying
…shhh.

Jon Goode

Featured Poem:

Mastectomy

Enlarge poem

And she was the definition of beauty.
She was tall
She was completely bald
She was Fresh out of recovery
From her mastectomy.
Being a breast amputee
Made her no less of a woman to me.
Those lumps of flesh across her chest made breasts
But breasts have never made a woman and breasts never made she.
And she?
She held her head high
With a sense of peace in her eyes
That could not be denied
And could not be described or explained if I tried.
Sustained by her sense of faith
And her sense of pride
As she began to walk
You could sense it in her stride.
She stuck out her chest and dared your eyes not to notice
That the disappearing act was fact and not some hocus pocus.
That’s how I happened to hear what she said to a man who came near
To offer his condolences.
She said “I want you to understand and please know this;
Yes!
I’ve second guessed
God and at times asked him why.
And yes!
Alone in the dark
I oft times cry
But when my eyes are blessed to greet a new day
I understand that I have to live at least two days, today.
And I understand in someway
This is all in God’s plan
So I’ve laid my burdens down
And taken up God’s hand.
Because when the chemo goes long
And I’m not so sure that I can go on
God gives me a shoulder I can lean and rely on.
And when I don’t want no more Ensure
And I’m not so sure that I can endure any more
And I fall to the floor
Not wanting to die but not truly understanding what I’m living for;
Not understanding who I am
Not understanding what am I to do
That’s when God takes me in his arms and he carries me through.
And yes people love comparing me to
The strong and the brave
From Ali to M.L.K.
But what I do is not brave
Because I, just like they
Do what I have to do.
Step in my Dr. Scholl’s
And you’ll see that neither my shoes nor my soul
Have walked an easy road
But I remember being told,
“It’s the path you choose
But the path that chose you.”
The same quandary faced Luke, Mark, John and Matthew.
So I laugh at those who view this as a tragedy
It seems sad you see
But I used to live the life of Sadducees
So don’t be sad for me
This had to be.
Sometimes the buildings destroyed in catastrophes
Were simply blocking some things you had to see.
And right now let me
Clear up some of the fallacies associated with my malady.
Though the chemo leaves me weak
My soul is so complete
That even when I cannot speak
You can see, feel and hear me through my smile.
And when this earthly host is gone
And my ghost is carried home
I’ll live on through a poem
And be reborn as a child floating down the Nile.
Though I may have cancer
cancer will never have me!
Bald with one breast
I am more and no less
Than any woman you will ever see.
I am Yesterday,
I am tomorrow
I am Now and forever me.
I’ve never asked you to pity or revel me.
I’ve never asked you for your pardon or revelry.
My mind is more concerned
With the current turns taken in society.
You know just the other week I saw The Passion of Christ
On a movie screen.
I saw his pain depicted in some very moving scenes;
But if I can’t find the passion of Christ
In everyday human beings
Then three hundred mil in tickets sales, what does it all mean?
Understand that these infants,
These seeds that we’ve sown will grow
Into little visions of we.
My trials and tribulations
Have shown it’s so much bigger than me.
I’m trying to see these acorns grown into bigger and better trees.
And I’d give the other breast
If I thought that it’d help you to see and believe.”
And on that note she turned to me
She gave a smile, she took her leave
And she
Was oh so Beautiful.

Jon Goode

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (1)
  • Pride (1)
  • Optimism (0)
  • Anger (0)
  • Delight (0)
  • Inspiration (0)
  • Reflection (0)
  • Captivation (1)
  • Peace (1)
  • Amusement (0)
  • Sorrow (0)
  • Vigour (0)
  • Hope (0)
  • Sadness (0)
  • Fear (0)
  • Jubilation (0)

Comments

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Biography

Jon Goode is an Emmy nominated writer raised in from Richmond, VA and currently residing in Atlanta, GA. Jon’s work has been featured in CNN’s Black in America, HBO’s Def Poetry, BET’s Lyric Café and TVOne’s Verses and Flow. Jon has also written radio commercials for McDonalds, print ads for Nike, and appeared in commercials, vignettes and interstitials for Chick-Fil-A and TVLand/ Nick @ Nite. In 2006 Jon’s work with Nick @ Nite earned him an Emmy nomination alongside the 2006 Promax Gold award for best copyright North America.

Jon Goode

Jon Goode
Jon Goode

Biography

Jon Goode is an Emmy nominated writer raised in from Richmond, VA and currently residing in Atlanta, GA. Jon’s work has been featured in CNN’s Black in America, HBO’s Def Poetry, BET’s Lyric Café and TVOne’s Verses and Flow. Jon has also written radio commercials for McDonalds, print ads for Nike, and appeared in commercials, vignettes and interstitials for Chick-Fil-A and TVLand/ Nick @ Nite. In 2006 Jon’s work with Nick @ Nite earned him an Emmy nomination alongside the 2006 Promax Gold award for best copyright North America.

The Librarian

Enlarge poem

Shhh…
Is what the librarian said when I was in grade school
Beating on my chest, beating on the desk
Testing her patience
In essence just acting a fool.
But she didn’t rise from her seat
She stayed calm, she stayed cool.
She didn’t raise her heart one beat
Didn’t raise her voice one octave
Didn’t raise her hand to me.
Instead she
Stayed as still as could be
Then lifted her left index finger
To slightly parted lips
And said this…
Shhh.
So softly your ears
Could almost deny it
But it spoke volumes so loud
The whole room fell silent
The whole room squared their shoulders
And the whole room sat up straight;
And though I never told her
It was she who helped me make
The subtle connection between
Silence and strength.
And my dad told me this
You don’t have to worry about the man loudly beating his gums
But keep your eye on the man quietly loading his guns
And so silently I went home
Hugged, kissed my mom
And continued my journey on
Toward manhood.

Now as an adult I often wish man would
Follow her example, heed her advice.
I mean just the other night
Down in College Park
As dusk was turning dark
I’d heard word of a man who’d been beating his wife
After they’d both been out cheating
And neither one was in the right.
Now she’s not fighting out of spite
She’s fighting for her life
Because we all know men’s egos bruise so light
I mean we all know this.
But the only way he could think to express it
Was with a closed fist;
And I wish just before he
Had thrown the first blow
Just before the
Argument had gotten out of control
Just before the
First seed of infidelity was sowed
They could have both felt that librarian speaking to their soul
Saying, “shhh…
Be quiet. Square your shoulders and
Go about the business of being a responsible woman and man,
A loving wife and husband it’s bigger than you, you understand?
You have kids to raise up so put down your raised hand and just… shhh.”

And I can’t help but think of Iraq and Iran,
Afghanistan, Syria, North Korea, Pakistan.
The Bible, the Koran
Bush, Saddam
The passing of Prime Minister Sharon.
Bin Laden, the sands,
The towers, the bombs
And I want to stand a librarian on The White House lawn;
And I want to stand a librarian on the U.N. floor;
Stand a librarian on shores where the troops deploy;
Stand a librarian firmly on foreign and domestic soil;
So when those good ol’ boys
Get to arguing about the price of crude oil per barrel
About what’s due Caesar and what’s due Pharaoh
In a world so wide when views get so narrow
And they start reaching for their arrows
Bows and guns
Reaching for your support
Your funds and sons
I want the voice of a librarian to come through clear
To tell this politicians to stand up straight
Be of good faith and good cheer
Play nice and get along
Because we’re going to all have to live here.
And she could say all of this
Not by raising her voice
Not by raising her fist
But raising her left index finger to her slightly parted lips
And saying
…shhh.

Featured Poem:

Mastectomy

Enlarge poem

And she was the definition of beauty.
She was tall
She was completely bald
She was Fresh out of recovery
From her mastectomy.
Being a breast amputee
Made her no less of a woman to me.
Those lumps of flesh across her chest made breasts
But breasts have never made a woman and breasts never made she.
And she?
She held her head high
With a sense of peace in her eyes
That could not be denied
And could not be described or explained if I tried.
Sustained by her sense of faith
And her sense of pride
As she began to walk
You could sense it in her stride.
She stuck out her chest and dared your eyes not to notice
That the disappearing act was fact and not some hocus pocus.
That’s how I happened to hear what she said to a man who came near
To offer his condolences.
She said “I want you to understand and please know this;
Yes!
I’ve second guessed
God and at times asked him why.
And yes!
Alone in the dark
I oft times cry
But when my eyes are blessed to greet a new day
I understand that I have to live at least two days, today.
And I understand in someway
This is all in God’s plan
So I’ve laid my burdens down
And taken up God’s hand.
Because when the chemo goes long
And I’m not so sure that I can go on
God gives me a shoulder I can lean and rely on.
And when I don’t want no more Ensure
And I’m not so sure that I can endure any more
And I fall to the floor
Not wanting to die but not truly understanding what I’m living for;
Not understanding who I am
Not understanding what am I to do
That’s when God takes me in his arms and he carries me through.
And yes people love comparing me to
The strong and the brave
From Ali to M.L.K.
But what I do is not brave
Because I, just like they
Do what I have to do.
Step in my Dr. Scholl’s
And you’ll see that neither my shoes nor my soul
Have walked an easy road
But I remember being told,
“It’s the path you choose
But the path that chose you.”
The same quandary faced Luke, Mark, John and Matthew.
So I laugh at those who view this as a tragedy
It seems sad you see
But I used to live the life of Sadducees
So don’t be sad for me
This had to be.
Sometimes the buildings destroyed in catastrophes
Were simply blocking some things you had to see.
And right now let me
Clear up some of the fallacies associated with my malady.
Though the chemo leaves me weak
My soul is so complete
That even when I cannot speak
You can see, feel and hear me through my smile.
And when this earthly host is gone
And my ghost is carried home
I’ll live on through a poem
And be reborn as a child floating down the Nile.
Though I may have cancer
cancer will never have me!
Bald with one breast
I am more and no less
Than any woman you will ever see.
I am Yesterday,
I am tomorrow
I am Now and forever me.
I’ve never asked you to pity or revel me.
I’ve never asked you for your pardon or revelry.
My mind is more concerned
With the current turns taken in society.
You know just the other week I saw The Passion of Christ
On a movie screen.
I saw his pain depicted in some very moving scenes;
But if I can’t find the passion of Christ
In everyday human beings
Then three hundred mil in tickets sales, what does it all mean?
Understand that these infants,
These seeds that we’ve sown will grow
Into little visions of we.
My trials and tribulations
Have shown it’s so much bigger than me.
I’m trying to see these acorns grown into bigger and better trees.
And I’d give the other breast
If I thought that it’d help you to see and believe.”
And on that note she turned to me
She gave a smile, she took her leave
And she
Was oh so Beautiful.

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (1)
  • Pride (1)
  • Optimism (0)
  • Anger (0)
  • Delight (0)
  • Inspiration (0)
  • Reflection (0)
  • Captivation (1)
  • Peace (1)
  • Amusement (0)
  • Sorrow (0)
  • Vigour (0)
  • Hope (0)
  • Sadness (0)
  • Fear (0)
  • Jubilation (0)

The Librarian

Enlarge poem

Shhh…
Is what the librarian said when I was in grade school
Beating on my chest, beating on the desk
Testing her patience
In essence just acting a fool.
But she didn’t rise from her seat
She stayed calm, she stayed cool.
She didn’t raise her heart one beat
Didn’t raise her voice one octave
Didn’t raise her hand to me.
Instead she
Stayed as still as could be
Then lifted her left index finger
To slightly parted lips
And said this…
Shhh.
So softly your ears
Could almost deny it
But it spoke volumes so loud
The whole room fell silent
The whole room squared their shoulders
And the whole room sat up straight;
And though I never told her
It was she who helped me make
The subtle connection between
Silence and strength.
And my dad told me this
You don’t have to worry about the man loudly beating his gums
But keep your eye on the man quietly loading his guns
And so silently I went home
Hugged, kissed my mom
And continued my journey on
Toward manhood.

Now as an adult I often wish man would
Follow her example, heed her advice.
I mean just the other night
Down in College Park
As dusk was turning dark
I’d heard word of a man who’d been beating his wife
After they’d both been out cheating
And neither one was in the right.
Now she’s not fighting out of spite
She’s fighting for her life
Because we all know men’s egos bruise so light
I mean we all know this.
But the only way he could think to express it
Was with a closed fist;
And I wish just before he
Had thrown the first blow
Just before the
Argument had gotten out of control
Just before the
First seed of infidelity was sowed
They could have both felt that librarian speaking to their soul
Saying, “shhh…
Be quiet. Square your shoulders and
Go about the business of being a responsible woman and man,
A loving wife and husband it’s bigger than you, you understand?
You have kids to raise up so put down your raised hand and just… shhh.”

And I can’t help but think of Iraq and Iran,
Afghanistan, Syria, North Korea, Pakistan.
The Bible, the Koran
Bush, Saddam
The passing of Prime Minister Sharon.
Bin Laden, the sands,
The towers, the bombs
And I want to stand a librarian on The White House lawn;
And I want to stand a librarian on the U.N. floor;
Stand a librarian on shores where the troops deploy;
Stand a librarian firmly on foreign and domestic soil;
So when those good ol’ boys
Get to arguing about the price of crude oil per barrel
About what’s due Caesar and what’s due Pharaoh
In a world so wide when views get so narrow
And they start reaching for their arrows
Bows and guns
Reaching for your support
Your funds and sons
I want the voice of a librarian to come through clear
To tell this politicians to stand up straight
Be of good faith and good cheer
Play nice and get along
Because we’re going to all have to live here.
And she could say all of this
Not by raising her voice
Not by raising her fist
But raising her left index finger to her slightly parted lips
And saying
…shhh.

Comments

Your email address will not be published.