Friday, April 10, 2009

Poem: Harryette Mullen

And another great contemporary poet and one of my former Cave Canem teachers: Harryette Mullen. (Sooner or later I'll have poems by all of them up here.) As the poem below shows, she has enough wit to fuel the mothership. It's from the Academy of American Poets''s website. (Now, if only I could figure out a way to bring her to the university.)


We need quarters like King Tut needed a boat. A slave could row him to heaven from his crypt in Egypt full of loot. We've lived quietly among the stars, knowing money isn't what matters. We only bring enough to tip the shuttle driver when we hitch a ride aboard a trailblazer of light. This comet could scour the planet. Make it sparkle like a fresh toilet swirling with blue. Or only come close enough to brush a few lost souls. Time is rotting as our bodies wait for now I lay me down to earth. Noiseless patient spiders paid with dirt when what we want is star dust. If nature abhors an expensive appliance, why does the planet suck ozone? This is a big ticket item, a thickety ride. Please page our home and visit our sigh on the wide world’s ebb. Just point and cluck at our new persuasion shoes. We’re opening the gate that opens our containers for recycling. Time to throw down and take off on our launch. This flight will nail our proof of pudding. The thrill of victory is, we’re exiting earth. We're leaving all this dirt.

Copyright © 1997, 2002 by Harryette Mullen, from Sleeping With the Dictionary, Berkeley: California. All rights reserved.

(H/t to Dramachik for the title correction.)


  1. This isn't "All She Wrote", it's "Black Nikes".

  2. Dramachik13531, thanks for the correction. I posted it quickly and thus the mistake!