Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Poet and the Shooter

Wherein a famous Black poet attempts to teach an autistic Korean college student about the whys, hows, and wherefores of poetry and is not quite prescient enough to prevent thirty-two innocents dead.

To Nikki Giovanni and Cho Seung-Hui

Sometimes poets know more than most
They can see the coldness in the demeanor
The emptiness in the 9mm eyes.

Old Black Nikki with the silver hair,
poet and teacher,
Knew enough to kick him out of class
Smelling the gunpowder
He owned the gun.

They had one thing in common
Nikki knew lonely
Cotton Candy on a Rainy Day
In the last stanza she said it

"They have asked

the psychiatrists . . . psychologists . . . politicians and social workers

What this decade will be

known for

There is no doubt . . . it is


But no one knew lonely like
The dry-cleaner's son

Two aliens alike,
Split from their ethnos,
Yellow or Black

You choose the color.


Scorebored said...

If anyone ever asks why I'm proud to know you and call you "beloved sister," I will point to poems like these.

On a sidenote, the word verification for this comment was "covladyf." I choose to think of it as "Covenant Lady Forever." It would make a grand tattoo, don't you think, Laurel?

Laurel1861 said...

Thanks for being my beloved brother as well, Scorebored, and for liking the poem. When I read that Nikki Giovanni was the poetry teacher who had expelled Cho from her class, I had this great rush of emotion (in me, emotion is sometimes a strength and sometimes a curse) and started playing with her words and the truth of the situation.

If only she had been a little more prescient...lives could have been saved.

On that other note, while I am not a great fan of tattoos (or any decoration that is permanent), being Covenant Lady Forever is awesome, and my goal.

doctrine wars said...

Hi, I just linked to your blog through a comment you left in my blog-glad you like it -feel free to link.

for more on Nikki Giovanni check out her poem-"Nigger can you kill" --just google her name and "nigger kill" you will find it

Laurel1861 said...

Welcome, Doctrine Wars!

Yes, I am familiar with the poem you mention. One of the reasons I found the events at Virginia Tech was the juxtaposition of Nikki Giovanni's proven incitement to murder with her desire to get the shooter out of her classroom and how she "...called the notion that he was troubled "crap" and said he was "mean.'"

My poem was intended to highlight their similarities.

I enjoy Doctrine Wars, DW. Hope you will be visiting her and at when you get a chance.