September 10, 2020 Courtney Napier

On the Loss of Energy…

When Alice Walker was reflecting on June Jordan, she said, “Jordan makes us think of Akhmatova, of Neruda. She is among the bravest of us, the most outraged. She feels for all of us. She is the universal poet.” In her inimitable voice, Jordan offers a scene, a pleading, a yearning for sanity and comfort and truth.


On the Loss of Energy (and Other Things) 

no more the chicken and the egg come
one of them
before the other
be fadin (steady)
from the supersafeway/a&p/giant
         the pilgrim cornucopia
         it ain’ a pot to pee in
         (these days)

gas is gone
and alka seltza runnin gas
a close race
name it
         toilet paper
         halfway honest politicians
there’s a shortage
step right up)
a crisis
(come in closer)
A International Disaster
Definitely Takin Place
(give the little lady down in front some room)
and (how about the brother in the back row/can
you hear me brother?)
                  I SAID THE HOT AIR’S RUNNIN
                  I SAID
                  THE MEAT’S NOT GOOD
                  FOR KIDS TO EAT
                  TOO FULLAFAT
                  AND STUFF LIKE THAT
                  IF YOU EAT MEAT
                  HOW YOU PLAN TO PAY THE RENT?
                  I SAID
                  THE OILWELLS DRIBBLIN
                  LOWER THAN A SNAKE
                  AND SOON WON’T BE NO HEAT
                  EXCEPT THERE AINT NO
                  MEAT TO EAT
                  I SAID
                  BROTHER CAN YOU SPARE A DIME?
these things/they gettin more and more worse in
the time it takes to tell
how the country’s bound to hell
if you be middlin poor or poor or Black or Black-and-poor
this profit-makin mess the worst
mess we been force to handle
since the civil war
close down the crackers
how the north won
into victory the crackers like to celebrate/a
reconstruction of the facts
on poor and Blackbacks
I am digressin/folks
please settle down and listen good
I say you know
you know
the affluent society
starvin high
on the hog as pigs can get
I say you know
we all been pigs
but mostly we been little pigs/I say
the big pigs
got the whole big pigpen
underneath some tasty big-pig pigs’ feet
dynamite can move
where is the dynamite?
How come we tryin to cooperate
with this “emergency”/this faker/phony
got you plannin
not to die and not to have a baby
on the weekends
not to do too much/
much less to start to die or start to have
a baby
on a Sunday
or on early Monday
got you/stiff and slow and hungry
on them lines the richboys laugh about/
Will somebody
real and prominent and smart
please stand
up here
and tell about inequities and big and little pigs
and other animals and birds/and fish
don’t know a thing about no hog behavior/where’s
the dynamite?
I say you know/I say
you know.
And so do I.


Source: The Collected Poems of June Jordan (2005)

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