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.
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
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
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
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
You ask me my opinion about the Negro dialect in literature? Well, frankly, I believe in everyone following his own bent…I don’t see the necessity of cramming and forcing oneself into that plane because one is a Negro or a Southerner. (Letter to Paul Laurence Dunbar.1895.) Continue reading
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
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