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  • Akosua Biraa

Neanderthal Nostalgia

What kind of person could kill

a Black child

and then kill another

Black child

and then

just to sit there/target

[a] man’s body at auction

This great American poet of democracy

a burning river

as cosmos

formerly citizens of some acceptable position


there was a child went forth everyday

one full Black lily

above the dirty

mopped-on antiseptic floors

and dreams of memories and

of the daring

This is a trip that strangers make

around the apple

flesh and fit

better slow down!

I didn’t know and nobody told me

and what could I do or say,


People been having accidents

all over the globe

and you keep the pomegranate stacked

inside a wobbly

year old anatomy


inclination to kiss folk I despise

This is not a good time

to be against the natural order

The natural order is not

about a good time

Chile is as long as China

is wide

the Pope thinks all of the time

neither twist nor turn


of the dead

I tried to obliterate such dread

This piece is composed solely out of phrases taken randomly from June Jordan’s (1989) “Lyrical Campaigns: selected poems”.

I’ve loved June Jordan’s work for well over three decades. Her poetry helped me get through some of my toughest experiences of being a young and single black woman trying to find place (and purpose) in urban London, while existing within certain racist-sexist tropes.

Of great value to me is Jordan’s piece “Poem about My Rights”, which is also in this collection. This poem speaks to the need to always resist sexism and racism wherever they are—be that within intimate relationships or out in public space. Some of my favorite lines from the poem, are when Jordan defiantly declares:

I am not wrong: Wrong is not my name

My name is my own my own my own

and I can’t tell you who the hell set things up like this

but I can tell you that from now on my resistance

my simple and daily and nightly self-determination

may very well cost you your life

Jordan’s courage knows no bounds, as she tackles various domestic and international topics with passionate honesty. This is what makes her worth reading over and over again. So grab yourself a copy of this classic text, along with other work of hers such as “On Call” (1986), “Moving Towards Home: political essays” (1989) and “Technical Difficulties: selected political essays” (1992). You wont regret it!

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