Skip to content →

Category archive for: Lucille Clifton

wishes for sons

i wish them cramps.

i wish them a strange town

and the last tampon.

i wish them no 7-11.

i wish them one week early

and wearing a white skirt.

i wish them one week late.

later i wish them hot flashes

and clots like you

wouldn’t believe.  let the

flashes come when they

meet someone special.

let the clots come

when they want to.

let them think they have accepted

arrogance in the universe,

then bring them to gynecologists

not unlike themselves.

from The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton: 1965-2010Find it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2012
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

homage to my hips

these hips are big hips

they need space to

move around in.

the don’t fit into little

petty places. these hips

are free hips.

they don’t like to be held back.

these hips have never been enslaved,

they go where they want to go

they do what they want to do.

these hips are mighty hips.

these hips are magic hips.

i have known them

to put a spell on a man and

spin him like a top!

from The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton: 1965-2010Find it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2012
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

what the mirror said

listen,

you a wonder.

you a city

of a woman.

you got a geography

of your own.

listen,

somebody need a map

to understand you.

somebody need directions

to move around you.

listen,

woman,

you not a noplace

anonymous

girl;

mister with his hands on you

he got his hands on

some

damn

body!

from The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton: 1965-2010Find it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2012
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

good times

my daddy has paid the rent

and the insurance man is gone

and the lights is back on

and my uncle brud has hit

for one dollar straight

and they is good times

good times

good times

my mama has made bread

and grampaw has come

and everybody is drunk

and dancing in the kitchen

and singing in the kitchen

oh these is good times

good times

good times

oh children think about the

good times

from The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton: 1965-2010Find it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2012
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

birth-day

today we are possible.

the morning, green and laundry-sweet,

opens itself and we enter

blind and mewling.

everything waits for us:

the snow kingdom

sparkling and silent

in its glacial cap,

the cane fields

shining and sweet

in the sun-drenched south.

as the day arrives

with all its clumsy blessings

what we will become

waits in us like an ache.

from The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton: 1965-2010Find it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2012
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

miss rosie

when i watch you

wrapped up like garbage

sitting, surrounded by the smell

of too old potato peels

or

when i watch you

in your old man’s shoes

with the little toe cut out

sitting, waiting for your mind

like next week’s grocery

i say

when i watch you

you wet brown bag of a woman

who used to be the best looking gal in georgia

used to be called the Georgia Rose

i stand up

through your destruction

i stand up

from The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton: 1965-2010Find it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2012
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

my dream about being white

hey music and

me

only white,

hair a flutter of

fall leaves

circling my perfect

line of a nose,

no lips,

no behind, hey

white me

and i’m wearing

white history

but there’s no future

in those clothes

so i take them off and

wake up

dancing.

from The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton: 1965-2010Find it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2012
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.