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Author: DERRICOTTE, TOI
Matches Found: 148


Derricotte, Toi    Poet's Biography
148 poems available by this author


1:30 A.M.       
First Line: She can't sleep
Last Line: You're milder now.' an old friend explains


A MEMORY    Poem Text    
First Line: I remember how I laid my head on your two flat breasts


A NOTE ON MY SON'S FACE    Poem Text    
First Line: Tonight, I look, thunderstruck / at the gold head of my grandchild
Subject(s): Ethnic Groups - United States; Loss; Minorities - United States; Moving & Movers; Refugees; United States - Immigration & Emigtration; United States - Race Relations


ABUSE       
First Line: Mama, the janitor is kissing me. Don't tell me that, you


ADVICE TO SOMEBODY WAKING UP       
First Line: First you learn to turn your
Last Line: First you learn to somebody waking up


AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH BEFORE THE ATOMIC BOMB    Poem Text    
First Line: Why did such terrible events / catch my eye
Last Line: Of contained passion?
Variant Title(s): Fires In Childhood
Subject(s): Nuclear War; Atomic Bomb; Hydrogen Bomb


AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH BEFORE THE ATOMIC BOMB       
First Line: Why did such terrible events %catch my eye
Variant Title(s): Fires In Childhoo
Subject(s): Nuclear War


AFRICAN/AMERICAN IN PARIS       
First Line: An african man tells me %he didn't know he was black
Last Line: She never confused %the body %with the self, he said


AFTER A READING AT A BLACK COLLEGE       
First Line: Maybe one day we will have
Last Line: I am not what I think you think
Variant Title(s): After A Reading At A Black Schoo


ALLEN GINSBERG    Poem Text    
First Line: Once allen ginsberg stopped to pee at a bookstore in new jersey
Last Line: Unzipped his pants, and peed
Subject(s): Ginsberg, Allen (1926-1997)


ALLEN GINSBERG       
First Line: Once allen ginsberg stopped to pee at a bookstore in new jersey
Last Line: So proud she told this story %pointing to the spot outside, as if %still flowed that holy stream
Subject(s): Ginsberg, Allen (1926-1997)


AT A COCKTAIL PARTY HONORING A NOTED OLD SOUTHERN WRITER (1)       
First Line: In the middle of the celebration
Last Line: She is the actual word!


AT A COCKTAIL PARTY HONORING A NOTED OLD SOUTHERN WRITER (2)       
First Line: Amazing how, in the middle
Last Line: Into these places, the actual word


AT WINTERGREEN: A RETREAT FOR AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMEN WRITERS       
First Line: One recovering, with the scars down her back where her spine was
Last Line: Even more dangerous %than fear


BEFORE MAKING LOVE    Poem Text    
First Line: I move my hands over your face
Last Line: That all the bloody kingdoms rest on
Subject(s): African Americans; Negroes; American Blacks


BEFORE MAKING LOVE       
First Line: I move my hands over your face
Subject(s): African Americans


BLACK BOYS PLAY THE CLASSICS    Poem Text    
Subject(s): African American Children; Music & Musicians; Race Awareness


BLACK BOYS PLAY THE CLASSICS       
First Line: The most popular 'act' in %penn station
Last Line: B: amazing! I did not think that they could speak this tongue


BLACKBOTTOM: 1945    Poem Text     Recitation
First Line: When relatives came from out of town
Subject(s): Detroit, Michigan; Ethnic Groups - United States; Minorities - United States; United States - Race Relations


BLACKBOTTOM: 1945       
First Line: When relatives came from out of town
Last Line: Whose very existence %tore us down to the human
Subject(s): Detroit, Michigan; Ethnic Groups - United States; Minorities - United States; U.s. - Race Relations


BLESSING       
First Line: Dear sister sylvia, %you told me I should write a letter to my father, to put
Last Line: By hatred and neither is he


BODY AWAKENING       
First Line: Each morning when I get up I sit with the body
Last Line: Nothing on earth will change. But this


BOOKS       
First Line: Today lorca and pound


BOOKSTORE    Poem Text    
First Line: I ask the clerk to show me children's books. I say
Last Line: To her shoulders, and the names of the missing are clear
Subject(s): Booksellers; Bookstores


BOOKSTORE       
First Line: I ask the clerk to show me children's books. I say
Last Line: To her shoulders, and the names of the missing are clear
Subject(s): Booksellers


BOY AT THE PATERSON FALLS    Poem Text    
First Line: I am thinking of that boy who bragged about the day he threw
Last Line: Would walk into the soft hands of a killer for a crumb of bread
Subject(s): Sadism


BOY AT THE PATERSON FALLS       
First Line: I am thinking of that boy who bragged about the day he threw
Last Line: Would walk into the soft hands of a killer for a crumb of %bread
Subject(s): Sadism


BROTHER       
First Line: Jay's mother is brown, mine is white
Last Line: Black as god--and brags about that %blackness--so easily recognized, his


CHOICE       
First Line: The children who were shot in johannesburg


CHRIST CHILD SPEAKS TO ST. ANTHONY       
First Line: Your face, oh holy saint, is soft %as flowers. You are my
Last Line: Crucified, a man; in your arms, %I am a boy again


CHRISTMAS EVE: MY MOTHER DRESSING    Poem Text    
First Line: My mother was not impressed with her beauty
Subject(s): Beauty; Mothers


CHRISTMAS EVE: MY MOTHER DRESSING       
First Line: My mother was not impressed with her beauty
Last Line: And held the garment away from her %as she pulled it down
Subject(s): Beauty; Mothers


CLITORIS       
First Line: This time with your mouth on my clitorins, I will not think
Last Line: Who must be coaxed by tenderness


COLOR LINE       
First Line: Black in white in white in black in black in white in white
Last Line: In black in black in white in white in black in black in %white in white in black in black in white


COMING       
First Line: Molly peacock in the paris
Last Line: She waffles, 'it %depends...'


DAMNED       
First Line: The drawers of my mother's bedroom
Last Line: Though it is not clear %if either of us can be saved
Subject(s): African Americans - Women; Women's Rights


DEAD BABY SPEAKS       
First Line: I am taking in taking in
Last Line: Then I bite down


DEATH AT STILL POINT       
First Line: The hunter must be good, because the
Last Line: Her faith returned


DISTRUST OF LOGIC       
First Line: It was after his skull lodged down
Subject(s): Nuclear War


ELEGY FOR MY HUSBAND    Poem Text    
First Line: What was there is no longer there:
Subject(s): Death; Marriage; Dead, The; Weddings; Husbands; Wives


EXITS FROM ELMINA CASTLE: CAPE COAST, GHANA; ABOVE ELMINA       
First Line: At the top of the castle
Last Line: This is the house of god


EXITS FROM ELMINA CASTLE: CAPE COAST, GHANA; BENEATH ELMINA       
First Line: Down the long, stone ramp
Last Line: Was their bodies' fit


EXITS FROM ELMINA CASTLE: CAPE COAST, GHANA; MARKET       
First Line: Those huge platters on their heads on which everything
Last Line: A beauty shaped by women's hands


EXITS FROM ELMINA CASTLE: CAPE COAST, GHANA; POWER       
First Line: The palace of an african king
Last Line: We take care of him as if the present king were his father.'


EXITS FROM ELMINA CASTLE: CAPE COAST, GHANA; SLAVERY       
First Line: It had struck some of the african americans
Last Line: Is that perhaps your ancestors escaped.'


EXITS FROM ELMINA CASTLE: CAPE COAST, GHANA; THE JOURNEY       
First Line: There is no perfect %past to go back to. Each time I look
Last Line: What you wait for, I wait for


EXITS FROM ELMINA CASTLE: CAPE COAST, GHANA; THE TOUR       
First Line: The castle, always on an
Last Line: Point of interest to our guide


EXITS FROM ELMINA CASTLE: CAPE COAST, GHANA; TOURISTS' LUNCH       
First Line: On a rise, overlooking
Last Line: Deep in the weary atlantic


FAMILY SECRETS       
First Line: They told my cousin rowena not to marry
Last Line: Broke, & many of the gods we loved %in secret were freed


FEARS OF THE EIGHTH GRADE    Poem Text    
First Line: When I ask what things they fear
Subject(s): Education; Schools; Students


FEARS OF THE EIGHTH GRADE       
First Line: When I ask what things they fear
Last Line: The dead rising from the boiling seas
Subject(s): Education; Schools


FEEDING       
First Line: My grandmother
Last Line: Feeding on the sapless %lie, %even now %the taste of emptiness %weights my mouth


FIELD TRIP       
First Line: The girls at ferrand weren't retarded
Last Line: On them-to find unsquashable muscle


FIFTY       
First Line: You are clinging to the side
Last Line: Breath. Your body is a raft of timber %as driven as an ark -safe - with black %squares at each windo


FOR A GODCHILD, REGINA, ON THE OCCASION OF HER FIRST LOVE    Poem Text    
First Line: Blood sister / our fingers join beneath the veins
Last Line: & walk under the cool trees
Subject(s): African Americans - Women; Women's Rights; Feminism


FOR A GODCHILD, REGINA, ON THE OCCASION OF HER FIRST LOVE       
First Line: Blood sister %our fingers join beneath the veins
Last Line: We will climb as on a swing %& walk under the cool trees
Subject(s): African Americans - Women; Women's Rights


FOR A MAN WHO SPEAKS WITH BIRDS       
First Line: Always, around the corners


FOR BLACK WOMEN WHO ARE AFRAID       
First Line: A black woman comes up to me at break in the writing
Last Line: Respecting each other's silence


FOR MY UNNAMED BROTHER (1943-1943)       
First Line: I was left out %I was chosen second & then left out
Last Line: Better mother I %promise you that


FOR SHARAN STRANGE, AFTER A READING       
First Line: Wasn't it your %face I
Last Line: Behind you %luminously now


FOR SISTER SUE ELLEN AND HER SPECIAL MESSENGER       
First Line: I thought you were without genitals, that nothing cracked you open and
Last Line: The harrowing cleanliness and bright light?
Variant Title(s): For My First Grade Teacher And Her Special Messenge


FOR SONIA SANCHEZ ON THE PUBLICATION OF SHAKE LOOSE MY SKIN, 1999       
First Line: You held the knife %to evil
Last Line: We've chosen %who we love


FOR THE DEAD AT JACKSON STATE    Poem Text    
First Line: Whose names I don't know
Last Line: Whispering their syllables
Subject(s): Jackson State College Killings (1970); Racism


FOR THE DEAD AT JACKSON STATE       
Last Line: Names I cannot answer to %that in my heart keep %whispering their syllables
Subject(s): Kent State University - Riot, 1970


FOR THE DISHWASHER AT BOOTHMAN'S       
First Line: I sit in front of him


FRIENDSHIP       
First Line: I tell you I am angry %you say you are afraid
Last Line: Is ready to go home? In a city %between tunnels--cracks %of darkness in the sea


FROM A LETTER: ABOUT SNOW       
First Line: I am at a retreat house, still point, not too far from yaddo
Last Line: Now we're sitting in the shade by the community house while I %write this letter


FURIOUS BOY       
First Line: In the classroom, the furious boy-a heavy star


GOOD OLD DOG       
First Line: I will lay down my silk robe


GOOD SEASON FOR FLEAS       
First Line: Fleas worry that they
Last Line: Such opportunity, such ease!


GRACE PALEY READING       
First Line: Finally, the audience gets
Last Line: She didn't do her job.'


HAMTRAMCK: THE POLISH WOMEN       
First Line: What happend to the beautiful girls with slender hips and bright round


HESTER'S SONG    Poem Text    
First Line: I rode you piggy back
Last Line: Ever to come of alchemy
Subject(s): African Americans - Women; Women's Rights; Feminism


HESTER'S SONG       
First Line: I rode you piggy back
Last Line: You are the one gold %ever to come of alchemy
Subject(s): African Americans - Women; Women's Rights


HIGH SCHOOL       
First Line: I didn't want to be


HOLY CROSS HOSPITAL       
First Line: Couldn't stand to see these new young faces, these
Last Line: Like the shining faces of children in the nursery, I held %onto that image of innocence like one lig


HOUSE ON NORWOOD       
First Line: That brick bungalow


IN AN URBAN SCHOOL    Poem Text    
First Line: The guard picks dead leaves from plants
Last Line: Was found dead in an empty lot
Subject(s): African Americans Childen; Schools; Ghettos


IN AN URBAN SCHOOL       
First Line: The guard picks dead leaves from plants
Last Line: Germaine's mother, a junkie, %was found dead in an empty lot


IN KNOWLWEDGE OF YOUNG BOYS    Poem Text     Recitation by Author
First Line: I knew you before you had a mother
Last Line: Brave before memory
Subject(s): African Americans; Negroes; American Blacks


IN KNOWLWEDGE OF YOUNG BOYS       
First Line: I knew you before you had a mother
Last Line: Mouth, uncut, we were %brave before memory
Subject(s): African Americans


IN THE MOUNTAINS       
First Line: My beloved was afraid. There was nothing
Last Line: Darkness and turned her head %from me, and she would not speak


INVENTORY       
First Line: In a charleston, south carolina, gift store
Last Line: We can't keep it in stock!' the saleslady tells me
Variant Title(s): 1994 Inventor


INVISIBLE DREAMS    Poem Text    
Subject(s): Insomnia; Sleeplessness


INVISIBLE DREAMS       
First Line: There's a sickness in me. During
Last Line: Command the bones of my left %to climb down


JOSEPH'S DREAM       
First Line: They placed his staff on the altar with her other suitors'. Overnight, his
Last Line: Rapture? I steady myself on a wobble, this staff %exuding light


LEAVING       
First Line: She never went back to the ward for the girls, except
Last Line: Insects continued to hum and move their metal arms. %the ones that were left fed them like robots


LETTER TO MISS GLAZER       
First Line: Your face is creased from the lack of desire for beauty


MINKS       
First Line: In the backyard of our house on norwood,
Last Line: The shining of the soul, gives us each %character and beauty.
Variant Title(s): Captivity: The Mink
Subject(s): Kent State University - Riot, 1970; Loss; Moving And Movers; Refugees; U.s. - Immigration And Emigration


MIRROR POEMS, SELS.       


MY DAD & SARDINES       
First Line: My dad's going to give me a self
Last Line: For me!-as if he was getting away %with murder


MY FATHER STILL SLEEPING AFTER SURGERY       
First Line: In spite of himself


MY MOTHER AND DUKE ELLINGTON       
First Line: My uncle's best friend was the chauffeur
Last Line: Even from the back of your head


MY UNCLE & WHITE PEOPLE       
First Line: My uncle said white %people have an
Last Line: Light-skinned) for sex. I wanted her %to say yes


NATURAL BIRTH, SELS.       
Subject(s): Birth


NOT FORGOTTEN    Poem Text    
First Line: I love the way the black ants use their dead.
Subject(s): Mortality


NOT FORGOTTEN       
First Line: I love the way the black ants use their dead
Last Line: We'll be forgotten? And he bent down over the grave and weeps


NOTE ON MY SON'S FACE       
First Line: Tonight, I look, thunderstruck %at the gold head of my grandchild
Last Line: The worst is true. %everything you did not want to know
Subject(s): Ethnic Groups - United States; Loss; Minorities - United States; Moving And Movers; Refugees; U.s. - Immigration And Emigration; U.s. - Race Relations


ON KATCHIMAC BAY: HOMER, ALASKA       
First Line: I will never forget diane at the wheel
Last Line: Eager to be pleased


ON STOPPING LATE IN THE AFTERNOON FOR STEAMED DUMPLINGS       
First Line: The restaurant is empty


ON THE MIRACLE OF THE CRYING STATUE: BEFORE YOU BEGIN       
First Line: What a realization to come
Last Line: To taste again the same tears


ON THE TURNING UP OF UNIDENTIFIED BLACK FEMALE CORPSES    Poem Text    
First Line: Mowing his three acres with a tractor
Subject(s): African Americans - Women; Corpses; Cadavers


ON THE TURNING UP OF UNIDENTIFIED BLACK FEMALE CORPSES       
First Line: Mowing his three acres with a tractor
Last Line: That digs me up with this pen %and turns my sad black face to the light
Subject(s): African Americans - Women; Corpses


ORIGINS OF THE ARTIST: NATALIE COLE       
First Line: My father %was black, black
Last Line: His blackness %entered %me like god


PASSING (1)       
First Line: A professor invites me to his 'black lit' class, they're
Last Line: What did he write?' %my father quizzed me


PASSING (2)    Poem Text    
First Line: A professor invites me to his black lit class; they're
Last Line: My father quizzed me
Subject(s): Alienation (social Psychology); Dissenters; Exiles; Marginality, Social; Estrangement; Outcasts


PASSING (2)       
First Line: A professor invites me to his black lit class; they're
Last Line: What do you think %he would always write?' my father'd say
Subject(s): Alienation (social Psychology); Dissenters; Exiles; Marginality, Social


PLAID PANTS       
First Line: At the bus terminal she says


POEM FOR MY FATHER    Poem Text    
First Line: You closed the door
Subject(s): Fathers & Daughters


POEM FOR MY FATHER       
First Line: You closed the door
Last Line: Old man whose sperm swims in my veins, %come back in love, come back in pain
Subject(s): Fathers And Daughters


POET       
First Line: Like jesus, emily
Last Line: Remake her with our minds


POLISHERS OF BRASS       
First Line: I am thinking of the men who polish brass in georgetown
Last Line: Where they started, it has already tarnished, and the must begin again
Subject(s): African Americans


PRESENTATION       
First Line: They wheeled her out of the delivery room on a silver cart
Last Line: Whatever was left, hung limp: a dumb creature, numbly %attending


PROMISE       
First Line: I will never again
Last Line: Back to heaven; I will not hold %her glittering robe, but let it %drift above me until I see %the la


RICE KING OF THE SOUTH       
First Line: The history of crowley, louisiana leaves out black people
Last Line: Lowering darkened windows, %they slow down respectfully and nod


SATURDAY NIGHT       
First Line: We come home from the movie, and you head for the t.V.
Last Line: "I am so lonely,"" I say. ""so lonely."
Subject(s): Love - Complaints; Solitude; Loneliness


SHOE REPAIR BUSINESS       
First Line: This shoe is shiny
Last Line: Shiny as a negro's heel.'


SITTING WITH MYSELF IN THE SETON HALL DELI AT 12 O'CLOCK THURSDAY    Poem Text    
First Line: When I read with them, when I hear them
Last Line: All these various voices?
Subject(s): Dickinson, Emily (1830-1886)


SITTING WITH MYSELF IN THE SETON HALL DELI AT 12 O'CLOCK THURSDAY       
First Line: When I read with them, when I hear them
Last Line: I wish we could hear all the writings from people's notebooks
Subject(s): Dickinson, Emily (1830-1886)


SONG FOR A HAT       
First Line: When I put my hat on level
Last Line: Then she does %hurrying to catch up


SOUL       
First Line: & what if we are
Last Line: Deeper


SQUEAKY BED       
First Line: At your mother's house we lie


ST. PETER CLAVER    Poem Text    
First Line: Every town with black catholics has a st. Peter claver's
Subject(s): Detroit, Michigan; Education; Schools; Students


ST. PETER CLAVER       
First Line: Every town with black catholics has a st. Peter claver's
Last Line: I was tricked again, robbed of my patron, %and left with a debt to another white man
Subject(s): Detroit, Michigan; Education; Schools


STINKBUGS    Poem Text    
First Line: Ugly armored


STRUGGLE       
First Line: We didn't want to be white - or did we?
Last Line: Our hands folding the paper money, tearing the bills


STUCK       
First Line: The traffic backs up


TENDER       
First Line: The tenderest meat %comes from the houses
Last Line: Is to give a little %wine before killing


TESTIMONY OF SISTER MAUREEN       
First Line: Sister maureen murphy, a teaching nun in
Last Line: God- %mother, %god %will take my place


THE DAMNED    Poem Text    
First Line: The drawers of my mother's bedroom
Last Line: If either of us can be saved
Subject(s): African Americans - Women; Women's Rights; Feminism


THE FRIENDSHIP    Poem Text    
First Line: I tell you I am angry
Last Line: Of darkness in sea
Subject(s): Friendship


THE MINKS    Poem Text    
First Line: In the backyard of our house on norwood,
Last Line: Character and beauty
Variant Title(s): Captivity: The Minks
Subject(s): Kent State University - Riot, 1970; Loss; Moving & Movers; Refugees; United States - Immigration & Emigtration


THE POLISHERS OF BRASS    Poem Text    
First Line: I am thinking of the men who polish brass in georgetown
Last Line: Started, it has already tarnished, and they must begin again
Subject(s): African Americans; Negroes; American Blacks


THE WEAKNESS    Poem Text    
First Line: That time my grandmother dragged me
Subject(s): Grandparents; Grandmothers; Grandfathers; Great Grandfathers; Great Grandmothers


TIEDOWN       
First Line: They tie my father's hands and feet


TO A CRUEL LOVER WHO READ ABOUT ME IN THE PAPER       
First Line: What girl wouldn't want to get a letter from the lover
Last Line: No, I am not the same


TO A TRAVELER       
First Line: You are welcome at every house
Last Line: We climb in


TOUCH       
First Line: In my mind's eye
Last Line: One touch of your lips has stunned


TOUCHING / NOT TOUCHING: MY MOTHER       
First Line: That first night in the hotel bedroom


TRANSITION       
First Line: You can push... %I hung there. Still hurting, not knowing what to do
Last Line: Light, like thirsty women shining with their thirst


TWO POEMS: BIRD       
First Line: The secret is
Last Line: Coursing out of its throat like a river


TWO POEMS: PERIPHERAL       
First Line: Maybe it's a bat's wings
Last Line: Beating, its back in a heavy %black cloak


WEAKNESS       
First Line: That time grandmother dragged me


WHEN MY FATHER WAS BEATING ME       
First Line: I'd hear my mother in the kitchen preparing dinner. I'd hear the spoons
Last Line: I'll knock it off. Dry up,' he'd scream, 'and eat.'


WHITMAN, COME AGAIN TO THE CITIES       
First Line: Father who found this vibrant light


WORKSHOP ON RACISM (1)    Poem Text    
First Line: Her mother is crying
Last Line: "black"" is not a color, it is a
Subject(s): Racism; Racial Prejudice; Bigotry


WORKSHOP ON RACISM (1)       
First Line: Her mother is crying
Last Line: Black' is not just a color but a way to inflict pain
Subject(s): Racism


WORKSHOP ON RACISM (2)       
First Line: Her mother is crying
Last Line: Black' is not a color, it is a %blazing skin
Subject(s): Racism