Like the Singing Coming off the Drums

BOOK: Like the Singing Coming off the Drums
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OTHER WORKS BY SONIA SANCHEZ

Does Your House Have Lions?

Wounded in the House of a Friend

A Sound Investment

I’ve Been a Woman

Under a Soprano Sky

Homegirls and Handgrenades

Love Poems

to Afeni and Tupac Amaru Shakur

Naked in the Streets
DANCING

i dreamt i was tangoing with

you, you held me so close

we were like the singing coming off the drums.

you made me squeeze muscles

lean back on the sound

of corpuscles sliding in blood.

i heard my thighs singing.

HAIKU

you ask me to run

naked in the streets with you

i am holding your pulse.

SONG

i cannot stay home

on this sweet morning

i must run singing    laughing

through the streets of Philadelphia.

i don’t need food or sleep or drink

on this wild scented day

i am bathing in the waves of your breath.

HAIKU

let every breast dance

a wild sculpture of rain

i raise my glass.

TANKA

i don’t know the rules

anymore i don’t know if

you say this or not.

i wake up in the nite

tasting you on my breath.

HAIKU

i count the morning

stars the air so sweet i turn

riverdark with sound.

HAIKU

i come from the same

place i am going to my

body speaks in tongues.

HAIKU

i have caught fire from

your mouth now you want me to

swallow the ocean.

HAIKU [
for you
]

love between us is

speech and breath. loving you is

a long river running.

POEM

mornings taking a

detour from love wide

assed life spilling starch.

HAIKU

i await your touch

come magnify our smell

make of us a long journey.

HAIKU

i turn westward in

shadows hoping my river

will cross yours in passing.

SONKU

i collect

wings what are

you bird or

animal?

something that

lights on trees

breasts pawnshops

i have seen

another

path to this

rendezvous.

BLUES HAIKU

when we say good-bye

i want yo tongue inside my

mouth dancing hello.

BLUES HAIKU

you too slippery

for me. can’t hold you long or

hard. not enough nites.

TANKA

i thought about you

the pain of not having

you cruising my bones.

no morning saliva smiles this

frantic fugue about no you.

HAIKU

hunger comes on morning

sails. where twilight passes me

wide is the river.

SONKU

1.

i who have

never moved

from where i

was born could

tell you names

dates posit

memory

when you kid

napped my blood

i retired

into my sex.

2.

and i thought

mountains were

men but these

Makonde

Mountains breasts

whispering

spiraling

sound these wo

men mountains

long with curves

caress    dance

in a suite

of heavy thighs

sweet mountains

smelling me.

HAIKU

come windless invader

i am a carnival of

stars a poem of blood.

HAIKU

i am moving in

air amazon woman bare

foot thunderbound bells.

HAIKU
[
on passing Toni Cade Bambara’s house
]

how are we here one

day gone the next how do we

run fall down to death?

HAIKU
[
for Bernice
]

now i move in the

blood of women who polish

pores a cappella.

HAIKU

i cry out for the

company of women de

liberate with blood.

HAIKU

what is done is done

what is not done is not done

let it go … like the wind.

BLUES HAIKU

what i need is traveling

minds talktouch kisses spittouch

you swimming upstream.

HAIKU

old man standing long

carrying your shanghai years

like an old rickshaw.

TANKA

men who watch in the

night see me coming and yell

the leper comes the

leper comes who will feed her

she without friend or lover.

HAIKU

it is i who have

awakened in nakedness

o cold the morning cock.

TANKA

this man has sucked too

many nipples been inside

too many holes grid

locked too many skins to

navigate a blackwomansail.

HAIKU

i am watersnake

crossing your long body

hear me turn in blood.

HAIKU

i am the ugly

duckling the second daughter

eyes shaking like leaves.

HAIKU

have you ever crossed

the ocean alone seen the

morning cough yellow?

HAIKU

mixed with day and sun

i crouched in the earth carry

you like a dark river.

BLUES [
for Deb
]

even though you came in december be my january man,

i say, even though you came in december be my january man,

but you know i’ll take you any month i can.

woke up this morning, waiting for you to call

say, i woke up this morning waiting for you to call

started shaking in my bed, thought i was taking another fall.

fortune teller, fortune teller, what you forecast for me today,

fortune teller, fortune teller, what you forecast for me today,

cuz i ain’t got no time to be messing with yo yesterday.

even though you came in december be my january man,

i say, even though you came in december be my january man,

but you know i’ll take you any month i can

but you know i’ll take you any month i can.

HAIKU

how fast is the wind

sailing? how fast did i go

to become slow?

BLUES HAIKU

let me be yo wil

derness let me be yo wind

blowing you all day.

BLUES HAIKU

am i yo philly

outpost? man when you sail in

to my house, you docked.

HAIKU

my womb is a dance

of leaves sweating swift winds

i laugh with guitars.

HAIKU [
for Joanne
]

sweet woman dancing

your morning sails i see

your riverbound legs.

POEM

1.

i am dreaming

i have spread my dreams out like wings.

i have selected today a dream

about flying and i take off

sailing on your blue smile.

for today it is enough.

2.

all this year

i have heard

my pores

opening.

3.

i have told

you my name

so there is

tomorrow.

4.

see me through

your own eyes

i am here.

5.

let us be one with

the earth expelling anger

spirit unbroken.

6.

we are

only

passing

through let

us touch.

7.

come again inside

me let us take another

turn at loving.

8.

i hear your smell

running across my threshold.

shall i hold your breath?

Shake Loose My Skin
SONKU [
for Nneka and Quincy
]

love comes with

bone and sea

eyes and rivers

hand of man

tongue of

woman love

trembles at

the edge of

my fingers.

HAIKU

c’mon man hold me

touch me before time love me

from behind your eyes.

TANKA

c’mon man ride me

beyond smiles teeth corpuscles

come into my bloodstream

abandon yourself to smell let

us be a call to prayer.

POEM #3

I gather up

each sound

you left behind

and stretch them

on our bed.

               each nite

I breathe you

and become high.

HAIKU

how still the morning sea

how still this morning skin

anointing the day.

SONKU

i feel your

mouth on my

thighs immac

ulate tongue.

SONKU

i hear the

sound of love

you unstring

like purple beads

over my breasts

HAIKU

i am who i am.

nothing hidden just black silk

above two knees.

HAIKU

in a season of

beautiful clowns betrayals

unapologetic.

HAIKU [
question from a young sister
]

1.

what’s wrong with being

freaky on stage you a stone

freak in yo own skin.

2.

at least we up front

about this freakdom. at least

we let it all hang out.

POEM

Good morning, sex. How do you do?

Tell me how life’s been treating you.

You say what? Sex is and sex ain’t

sex wuz and sex wuzn’t

sex should be and sex has been

on Times Square billboards

on television, in the movies,

in the lyrics dripping off pouting lips.

You say sex is in the drinks we drink

the laughs we laugh

the walk we walk

the smells we smell as we open

our eyes and legs and let the funk spread.

You say sex is dark basements

lights turned out, bodies turned on.

Sex is a breakfast table full of

leftover wine and smiles.

Sex is kinky & clean shaven

sex is straight & gay

sex is do it anyway.

Comes in twos and threes.

Comes on time. Late.

Sex is love. Unlove.

Comes with danger
&
beauty

Comes in clean and shadowy places.

Sex is life. Death. A gig.

Sometimes you need it in the

Morning. Afternoon. Evening.

Sometimes it satisfies; sometimes it don’t

sometimes you feel it in yo’ armpits

sometimes you feel it in the mind,

but ah,
ahhh
, when it comes

this sex, when it appears

buck naked or clothed,

when it comes Thelonious Monk–like jazzy,

when it comes hip hopping like the nite

ain’t like no other nite; ya

know what time it is, what day

it is, what month it is, what year

it is. When it comes RIGHT, you

understand that sex is & sometimes it ain’t

But when it is….

BLUES HAIKU

i ain’t yo momma

but i am this lil mama

who knows how to burn.

BLUES HAIKU [
for Joanne and Val
]

yall talkin all under

my clothes bout my love bizness

friends be doin that.

BLUES HAIKU

this is not a fire

sale but i am in heat

each time i see ya.

HAIKU

i am you loving

my own shadow watching

this noontime butterfly.

BLUES HAIKU

i wuz in Kansas

dorothy and toto wuzn’t

a jacuzzi. sky. you.

HAIKU
BOOK: Like the Singing Coming off the Drums
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