Langston & Nikki

I’ve been reading poetry lately…

It’s been a while, since I sat down and read something of someone else’s. I hate to be influenced by other styles when I’m trying to solidify my own…

I’m quite aware that, “good” poets are inspired by others’ works…but, GREAT poets set the bar. I’ve been told I’m great, but recently I feel sub par. Now, now…if you’ve read my stuff and you say, “Kali…cut it out. Your stuff is GREAT“…pump your breaks. YOU are officially biased…and quite possibly…you love me, so again…you work for me. LMAO

I mean sub par against some deeper more established poets. People whose works stand out and BRING it. I’m talking creativity, uniqueness, style and depth. I’m talking opening “it”…widening “it”…and quite possibly…putting a hole in “it” because the bottom ain’t deep enough.

I’ve been reading Langston Hughes and Nikki Giovanni online. How I came across my first poetry book was quite spiritual. My ex pastor of long ago (RIP Rev. Wilson) had a sister who I rarely ever saw…but, one day while at their family home she invited me up to her room. She’d heard from her brother and my mother that I wrote…and wanted to talk to me. Not long after sharing thoughts…she gave me Nikki’s “Cotton Candy on a Rainy Day“. Unfortunately, I lost that book when a relationship ended. ~sigh~ …I have every intention on replacing my book AND acquiring some others. I don’t think I saw his sister much after that…but, she told me I’d love it and I did.

You wanna know something? Other than the ones mentioned above and knowing “of” Sonia Sanchez and other historic bards like Yeats…I’ve never really been a reader of poetry books. I began writing…and that was it.  I had so much in my head that I just wrote. So much so that it got me in trouble (see, journals/diaries/secret notes).

As a child, I indulged in reading fables, researching encyclopedias for vast types of knowledge and as I got older, reading novels/urban tales and the occasional autobiography. I honestly don’t remember being enthralled by the works of others BESIDES Nikki Giovanni. I DO remember having an affinity for Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven“…but that was it. One night, my friend, Tei was reading poetry to me…sharing her love of books she’s come to own and I felt like I was “posing” as a writer while listening. I mean, how didn’t I have at least ONE book in my hand from a renowned poet/writer? How did I manage to call myself a writer without reading some classic books? I could never sit among a field of writers and exchange quips, lines and quotes from memory. I could never sit at a round table of poets and throw out titles of books or poems ad nauseum.

I don’t know…I’m not TOTALLY kicking myself for shits and giggles. I guess I am asking myself to consider taking what I like to call “poetic inventory”. I am going to start looking into finding some collections from the above and some I don’t know and IMMERSE myself in someone else’s craft. I’ve been tussling back and forth with my muse…and it’s tiring. Writing isn’t coming as easy as it once did and that worries me. Perhaps it’s time to focus on something other than what I can create. Maybe I ain’t so great. Doesn’t mean I can’t BECOME great…but, maybe I need to be inspired.

We’ll see…

For now…I wanted to share a poem from Nikki and Langston.

I Wrote A Good Omelet by Nikki Giovanni

I wrote a good omelet…
and ate a hot poem… after loving you


Buttoned my car…and drove my 
coat home…in the rain… 

after loving you


I goed on red…and stopped on 
green…floating somewhere in between… 
being here and being there… 

after loving you


I rolled my bed…turned down 
my hair…slightly 

confused but…I don’t care…


Laid out my teeth…and gargled my 
gown…then I stood 

…and laid me down…

To sleep… 

after loving you 


~smiling at this~



Gods by Langston Hughes
The ivory gods,
And the ebony gods,
And the gods of diamond and jade,
Sit silently on their temple shelves
While the people 
Are afraid.
Yet the ivory gods,
And the ebony gods,
And the gods of diamond-jade,
Are only silly puppet gods
That the people themselves
Have made
~ain’t that the truth~

…thank you for reading 🙂

3 thoughts on “Langston & Nikki

  1. Mr. Hughes works have been on my mind lately also. I had to pull up Mother to Son the other day. Funny how many times we recited it back in elementary school yet had no idea what it really meant 🙂

  2. I posted That same Giovanni poem about a month or so ago right? Cotton Candy on a Rainy Day is one of my all time fav books and it shows on the binding and cover. LOL I'm feeling that poem more than anything right now. Your work is honest Kali. Never compromise the honesty- no matter what the people want. . .

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