Tracy Reese

Tracy Reese was born in Detroit, went to Parsons School of Design with Marc Jacobs, and worked for Perry Ellis and The Limited (among other companies) before striking out with the brand that carries her name today. She is one of only a few African American women who has true control of her label. I’ve been a fan of her designs for a little while. The bedding is from her home line, Plenty.pplcvrshoebed

Gwendolyn Brooks

kitchenette building (1945)
We are things of dry hours and the involuntary plan,
Grayed in, and gray. “Dream” makes a giddy sound, not strong
Like “rent,” “feeding a wife,” “satisfying a man.”

But could a dream send 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 massage, 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. Continue reading

Jayne Cortez

And if we don’t fight

if we don’t resist

if we don’t organize and unify and

get the power to control our own lives

Then we will wear

the exaggerated look of captivity

the stylized look of submission

the bizarre look of suicide

the dehumanized look of fear

and the decomposed look of repression

forever and ever and ever

And there it is

from There It Is (1982)


All you wanna do

is pat your foot

sip a drink & pretend

with your head bobbin up & down

What do you care about acoustics

bad microphones or out of tune pianos

& noise

You the club owners & disc jockeys

made a deal didn’t you

a deal about Black Music

& you really don’t give

a shit long as you take

from How Long has Trane Been Gone (1969) Continue reading

Lucille Clifton

homage to my hips (1980)*

these hips are big hips.

they need space to

move around in.

they don’t fit into little

pretty places. these hips

are free hips.

they don’t like to be held back.

these hips have never been enslaved,

they go where they want to go

they do what they want to do.

these hips are mighty hips.

these hips are magic hips.

i have known them

to put a spell on a man and

spin him like a top! Continue reading

Edwidge Danticat

I come from a place where breath, eyes and memory are one, a place from which you carry your past like the hair on your head. Where women return to their children as butterflies or as tears in the eyes of the statues that their daughters pray to. My Mother was as brave as the stars at dawn. She too was from this place. My mother was like that woman who could never bleed and then could never stop bleeding, the one who gave in to her pain, to live as a butterfly. Yes, my mother was like me. (Breath, Eyes, Memory. 1994) Continue reading

Rita Dove

Persephone Abducted

She cried out for Mama, who did not

hear. She left with a wild eye thrown back,

she left with curses, rage

that withered her features to a hag’s.

No one can tell a mother how to act:

there are no laws when laws are broken, no names

to call upon. Some say there’s nourishment for pain,

and call it Phlilosophy.

That’s for the birds, vulture and hawk,

the large ones who praise

the miracle of flight because

they use it so diligently.

She left us singing in the field, oblivious

to all but the ache of our own bent backs. (Mother Love.1995) Continue reading