Ntozake Shange

& i wont be sorry for none of it

i loved you on purpose
i was open on purpose
i still crave vulnerability & close talk
& i’m not even sorry bout you bein sorry
you can carry all the guilt & grime ya wanna
just dont give it to me

—  Ntozake Shange, from “Sorry” (from for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf, a choreopoem)
thefeministwire.com
For My Sistah(s): A Black Feminist Queer Consciousness-Raising Book List

Annie John – Jamaica Kincaid

Annie Allen – Gwendolyn Brooks

Assata : An Autobiography – Assata Shakur

Betsey Brown – Ntozake Shange

Black Girl in Paris - Shay Youngblood

The Bluest Eye – Toni Morrison

Bone Black - bell hooks

The Color Purple – Alice Walker

The Coldest Winter Ever – Sister Soldier

Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology – Barbara Smith

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou

I, Tituba: Black Witch of Salem - Maryse Conde

Kendra – Coe Booth

Kindred – Octavia Butler

Liliane - Ntozake Shange

A Piece of Mine – J. California Cooper

Possessing the Secret of Joy - Alice Walker

Sister Outsider – Audre Lorde

Soldier - June Jordan

Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston

The Women of Brewster Place – Gloria Naylor

Unburnable – Marie-Elena John

Zami: A New Spelling of My Name - Audre Lorde

my love is too delicate to have thrown back on my face.
my love is too beautiful to have thrown back on my face.
my love is too sanctified to have thrown back on my face.
my love is too magic to have thrown back on my face.
my love is too saturday nite to have thrown back on my face.
my love is too complicated to have thrown back on my face.
my love is too music to have thrown back on my face.
—  For colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf
Where there is a woman there is magic. If there is a moon falling from her mouth, she is a woman who knows her magic, who can share or not share her powers. A woman with a moon falling from her mouth, roses between her legs and tiaras of Spanish moss, this woman is a consort of the spirits
—  Ntozake Shange, Sassafrass, Cypress and Indigo

i have a daughter/ mozambique
i have a son/ angola
our twins
salvador & johannesburg/ cannot speak
the same language
but we fight the same old men/ in the new world

we are so hungry for the morning
we’re trying to feed our children the sun
but a long time ago/ we boarded ships/ locked in
depths of seas our spirits/ kisst the earth
on the atlantic side of nicaragua costa rica
our lips traced the edges of cuba puerto rico
charleston & savannah/ in haiti
we embraced &
made children of the new world
but old men spit on us/ shackled our limbs
but for a minute
our cries are the panama canal/ the yucatan
we poured thru more sea/ more ships/ to manila
ah ha we’re back again
everybody in manila awready speaks spanish

the old men sent for the archbishop of canterbury
“can whole continents be excommunicated?”
“what wd happen to the children?”
“wd their allegiance slip over the edge?”
“don’t worry bout lumumba/ don’t even think bout
ho chi minh/ the dead cant procreate”
so say the old men
but I have a daughter/ la habana
I have a son/ guyana
our twins
santiago & brixton/ cannot speak
the same language
yet we fight the same old men

the ones who think helicopters rhyme with hunger
who think patrol boats can confiscate a people
the ones whose dreams are full of none of our
children
the see mae west & harlow in whittled white cafes
near managua/ listening to primitive rhythms in
jungles near pétionville
with bejeweled benign nativess
ice skating in abidjan
unaware of the rest of us in chicago
all the dark urchins
rounding out the globe/ primitively whispering
the earth is not flat old men

there is no edge
no end to the new world
cuz I have a daughter/ trinidad
I have a son/ san juan
our twins
capetown & palestine/ cannot speak the same
language/ but we fight the same old men
the same men who thought the earth waz flat
go on over the edge/ go on over the edge old men
you’ll see us in luanda, or the rest of us
in chicago
rounding out the morning/
we are feeding our children the sun

—  nzotake shange, bocas: a daughter’s geography.
Where there is a woman there is magic. If there is a moon falling from her mouth, she is a woman who knows her magic, who can share or not share her powers. A woman with a moon falling from her mouth, roses between her legs and tiaras of Spanish moss, this woman is a consort of the spirits.
—  Ntozake Shange, Sassafrass, Cypress, and Indigo
i cant count the number of times i have viscerally wanted to attack deform n maim the language that i waz taught to hate myself in/ the language that perpetuates the notions that cause pain to every black child as he/ she learns to speak of the world & the “self.” yes/ being an afro-american writer is something to be self-conscious abt/ & yes/ in order to think n communicate the thoughts n feelings i want to think n communicate/ i haveta fix my tool to my needs/ i have to take it apart to the bone/ so that the malignancies/ fall away/ leaving us space to literally create our own image.
—  Ntozake Shange, “Unrecovered Losses”
oppression/ makes us love one another badly/makes our breathing
mangled/ while i am desperately trying to clear the air/
in the absence of extreme elegance/
madness can set right in like
a burnin gauloise on Japanese silk.
though highly cultured/
even the silk must ask
how to burn up discreetly
—  Ntozake Shange, “a photograph: lovers in motion”
cuz i dont know anymore/ how
to avoid my own face wet wit my tears/ cuz i had convinced
myself colored girls had no right to sorrow/ & i lived
& loved that way & kept sorrow on the curb/ allegedly
for you/ but i know i did it for myself/
i cdnt stand it
i cdnt stand bein sorry & colored at the same time
it’s so redundant in the modern world
—  Ntozake Shange, for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf

every 3 minutes a woman is beaten
every five minutes a
woman is raped/every ten minutes
a lil girl is molested
yet i rode the subway today
i sat next to an old man who
may have beaten his old wife
3 minutes ago or 3 days/30 years ago
he might have sodomized his
daughter but i sat there
cuz the young men on the train
might beat some young women
later in the day or tomorrow
i might not shut my door fast
every 3 minutes it happens
some woman’s innocence
rushes to her cheeks/pours from her mouth
like the betsy wetsy dolls have been torn
apart/their mouths
menses red & split/every
three minutes a shoulder
is jammed through plaster and the oven door/
chairs push thru the rib cage/hot water or
boiling sperm decorate her body
i rode the subway today
& bought a paper from a
man who might
have held his old lady onto
a hot pressing iron/i don’t know
maybe he catches lil girls in the
park & rips open their behinds
with steel rods/i can’t decide
what he might have done i only
know every 3 minutes
every 5 minutes every 10 minutes/so
i bought the paper
looking for the announcement
the discovery/of the dismembered
woman’s body/the
victims have not all been
identified/today they are
naked and dead/refuse to
testify/one girl out of 10’s not
coherent/i took the coffee
& spit it up/i found an
announcement/not the woman’s
bloated body in the river/floating
not the child bleeding in the
59th street corridor/not the baby
broken on the floor/
there is some concern
that alleged battered women
might start to murder their
husbands & lovers with no
immediate cause’

i spit up i vomit i am screaming
we all have immediate cause
every 3 minutes
every 5 minutes
every 10 minutes
every day
women’s bodies are found
in alleys & bedrooms/at the top of the stairs
before i ride the subway/buy a paper/drink
coffee/i must know/
have you hurt a woman today
did you beat a woman today
throw a child across a room
are the lil girl’s panties
in yr pocket

did you hurt a woman today
i have to ask these obscene questions
the authorities require me to
establish
immediate cause
every three minutes
every five minutes
every ten minutes
every day.

—  “With No Immediate Cause,” Ntozake Shange
one thing i dont need
is any more apologies
i got sorry greetin me at my front door
you can keep yrs
i dont know what to do wit em
they dont open doors
or bring the sun back
they dont make me happy
or get a mornin paper
didnt stop nobody using my tears to wash cars
cuz a sorry
—  for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf  by Ntozake Shange