Huong’s “Jackfruit”

Ho Xuan Huong

(1772- 1822)


translated by Marilyn Chin


My body is like a jackfruit swinging on a tree
My skin is rough, my pulp is thick
Dear prince, if you want me pierce me upon your stick
Don’t squeeze, I’ll ooze and stain your hands

Black femininity

I love this post and I promise to do my opinions on the ‘strong black women’ stereotype which I’m against for a number of reasons.


phoebeprunelleGuest post by commenter phoebeprunelle:

I am writing this post because an exchange over on the interracial relationship thread sparked a discussion on beauty. Anyone who knows me personally knows that a few years ago, I stopped buying Essence and Ebony magazine – basically any Black mainstream magazine. I also encouraged male family members to look beyond mainstream Black male magazines that featured Black women plastered half naked on the cover with what can usually be described as a scowl on their faces.

Here are the reasons I stopped buying mainstream Black magazines,  listed below in no particular order:

1. Perpetuating Black Female Inferiority: Both Ebony and Essence magazines have featured the most negative stories about Black women and Black people in the past five years. You would think we can’t or are incapable of doing anything right. It also doesn’t help that they rarely ever feature Black academics, writers…

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My Daddy’s Waltz

My Daddy’s Waltz

…“The dictionary couldn’t be any more wrong,” I’m thinking to myself.  There is a difference between daddy and father.  They are not synonyms to me but two men.  Father could never be confused with Daddy in my head they were just too different.  They were not the same in appearance, in talk and in how I perceived them. 

Daddy I knew the longest and took to be the real thing.  Since I was either age three or four I knew Daddy to always be my dad who had always been married to mommy.  He started out as a clown, the only one I could ever come to love.  Our relationship was like a block of polished pine.  In early years he was a hungry monster that occasionally showed up just before bed chasing my brother and me around the apartment, growling on all fours.  I would do a victory lap on the monster’s back for not being eaten.  

Continue reading

Is Father a Ghost

Is Father a Ghost

 The dim lamplight barely lightens the bedroom.  The furniture looks either slightly bigger or smaller than what they really are during the day.  With the exception of myself all is quiet and at peace.  I pace over to the small library of books in the cubby littered with my sister’s old school papers.  I take out the large encyclopedic dictionary.  Another spur of curiosity has taken hold of me and like the other times before.  I excavate my way through hundreds of pages until I hit what seems like the answer.  It is unclear to me what I’m looking for.  It’s not a long z-word or some chemical term like ‘dimethyl ketone’ and I just flip through pages until something grabs my attention.  The word ‘father’ stares out from the page at me.  An odd feeling ripples over me as if I’ve just plunged into frigid waters.  “Father—the paternal parent of an offspring.  Synonym.  Daddy.” Continue reading

Heaney’s “Mid-Term Break”

Seamus Heaney (1939- )
“Mid-Term Break”


I sat all morning in the college sick bay
Counting bells knelling classes to a close.
At two o’clock our neighbors drove me home.

In the porch I met my father crying–
He had always taken funerals in his stride–
And Big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow.

The baby cooed and laughed and rocked the pram
When I came in, and I was embarrassed
By old men standing up to shake my hand Continue reading

Sexton’s “The Starry Night”

Anne Sexton (1928- 1974)
“The Starry Night”

That does not keep me from having a terrible need of—shall I say the word—religion. Then I go out at night to paint the stars.Vincent Van Gogh in a letter to his brother

The town does not exist
except where one black-haired tree slips
up like a drowned woman into the hot sky.
The town is silent. The night boils with eleven stars.
Oh starry starry night! This is how
I want to die.

It moves. They are all alive.
Even the moon bulges in its orange irons
to push children, like a god, from its eye.
The old unseen serpent swallows up the stars.
Oh starry starry night! This is how
I want to die:

into that rushing beast of the night,
sucked up by that great dragon, to split
from my life with no flag,
no belly,
no cry.