Friday Jul 20

scottdarleneanita darlene anita scott’s poetry has appeared, or is forthcoming in,a number of anthologies, including Homegirls Make Some Noise, Growing Up Girl, Stand Your Ground, and Role Call, as well as in ITCH, Specter, The Baltimore Review, Tidal Basin Review, Quiddity, and diode. The recipient of grants from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the Delaware Division of the Arts, scott has been a fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Hurston Wright Foundation, the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, and the Julia and David White Artists’ Colony in Costa Rica.
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How I Got to Paradise, Brownsville, Texas, 1954
 
 
My mama promised herself to my daddy
just before my brother was born.
She promised me every
morning I wouldn’t be
any hungrier than she
had been once they ran
up the bill for provisions
near every just-before
harvest, and she promised
my brother every callus on her feet would be
worth $10 toward his schooling;
Miss Mae, Miss Jo, Miss Edna, Miss Donna, Miss Moore
the sweetest cakes, limp-crisp bacon, and never a
spot on the china.
 
I left
with a twenty dollar bill
tucked in my bloomers
because my daddy said
nobody better not find anything there
warning more promising
mostly hoping. Had
a green suitcase
that banged bruises
in skinny calves
and a handbag
I bought with
the last of my check
from Miss Mae
so I could look citified
where the pink knit sweater Mama
gave me
couldn’t take this chill.
 



I Learn to Love the Body She Loves, 28 September, 1977


If I found my Bible
what would I do with it
Never did
much more than
tack the pieces together
and my permanent fix
blew pixie
dust, without a fairytale,
to pretty, its
cloud sparkly.

I liked to get high
for that kind of reason
thousand little neurons
buzzing in my brain so
orderly the hum was its
own silence.


The devil you know is
better than the one
you don’t. I take 2 and
in the morning
trouble the shower
just the same pretending
not to see the thick
scar tissue, a jagged mountain range
tumbling
into the ravine of her crack.





Sunday Open House, 17 December, 1977


[LUCINDA]


First
pick something pretty.
You have to pull it as tight as you can
behind both ears. Tie a knot to keep it
in place
Then begin wrapping. Tucking
where you must.
But wait


until after you’ve wrapped and tucked
all of the fabric


to look in the mirror
and make any adjustments
then.


[JON]
 
Sitting still is stupid he swung his Buster Browns,
banging the bottom of the bench with each heel,
nearly kicking the rear of the lady in front of him.
Except his legs were too short.
He practiced plusses and take-aways in his head; made up stories
about the brownish people who came,
sometimes, to meals.  Until the songs hushed.  The ladies whimpered.  
The men brined in their sweat. 
Father heaved in his black robe; said “shit.”
There was more, but that’s when Jon went still.  A hangnail stung;
he tried to bite it off, sucked at the blood
under the shifted bit of skin, and waited his chance to ask Miss Edith
for a band-aid. He set his eyes on the burgundy polyester
of Lou’s pant leg, the bell of it ringing silently in its private breeze.


[LOU]

 My smile handles crack at each tiny wrinkle
I am desert dust
And hot enough to spontaneously combust, no-sweat
Burning just the same. Heat like moonshine
Goes slow and scorches
But I do not budge.


I have a chance to picture him
Naked and careless in sleep before
My prayers of mother and father, my soul
growling for want of them.


Trifling journey what scrolls
Drive through reels fidgeting soundless.
I nod from sleeplessness only I know:
Good and faithful servant
Pretending not to smell.