Audre Lorde was such a strong truth-teller and master of the craft of poetry. For me, her poems frankly pulsate with psychic power, love, womanist majesty, pain, and cruel facts no one wants to know but must.
I happened to be reading The Black Unicorn during the weeks when we learned that there would be no indictments for the police officers who killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, and Eric Garner in New York City. And while this collection of Lorde’s poems was published in 1978, two of the 67 poems in this collection—“The Same Death Over And Over or Lullabies Are For Children” and “Power“—mourn the death of Clifford Glover, a ten-year-old black boy who was killed by a white police officer in South Jamaica Queens, New York in 1973.
excerpt from “Power“:
I am trapped on a desert of raw gunshot wounds
and a dead child dragging his shattered black
face off the edge of my sleep
blood from his punctured cheeks and shoulders
is the only liquid for miles and my stomach
churns at the imagined taste while
my mouth splits into dry lips
without loyalty or reason
thirsting for the wetness of his blood
as it sinks into the whiteness
of the desert where I am lost
without imagery or magic
trying to make power out of hatred and destruction
trying to heal my dying son with kisses
only the sun will bleach his bones quicker.