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Best Famous Audre Lorde Poems


Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Audre Lorde poems. This is a select list of the best famous Audre Lorde poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Audre Lorde poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Audre Lorde poems.

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by Marilyn Hacker |

Years End

 for Audre Lorde and Sonny Wainwright

Twice in my quickly disappearing forties
someone called while someone I loved and I were
making love to tell me another woman had died of cancer.

Seven years apart, and two different lovers:
underneath the numbers, how lives are braided,
how those women's death and lives, lived and died, were
interleaved also.

Does lip touch on lip a memento mori?
Does the blood-thrust nipple against its eager
mate recall, through lust, a breast's transformations
sometimes are lethal?

Now or later, what's the enormous difference?
If one day is good, is a day sufficient?
Is it fear of death with which I'm so eager
to live my life out

now and in its possible permutations
with the one I love? (Only four days later,
she was on a plane headed west across the
Atlantic, work-bound.)

Men and women, mortally wounded where we
love and nourish, dying at thirty, forty,
fifty, not on barricades, but in beds of
unfulfilled promise:

tell me, senators, what you call abnormal?
Each day's obits read as if there's a war on.
Fifty-eight-year-old poet dead of cancer:
warrior woman

laid down with the other warrior women.
Both times when the telephone rang, I answered,
wanting not to, knowing I had to answer,
go from two bodies'

infinite approach to a crest of pleasure
through the disembodied voice from a distance
saying one loved body was clay, one wave of
mind burst and broken.

Each time we went back to each other's hands and
mouths as to a requiem where the chorus
sings death with irrelevant and amazing
bodily music.


by Audre Lorde |

Who Said It Was Simple

 There are so many roots to the tree of anger 
that sometimes the branches shatter 
before they bear.
Sitting in Nedicks
the women rally before they march 
discussing the problematic girls 
they hire to make them free.
An almost white counterman passes
a waiting brother to serve them first
and the ladies neither notice nor reject 
the slighter pleasures of their slavery.
But I who am bound by my mirror
as well as my bed 
see causes in color 
as well as sex

and sit here wondering
which me will survive 
all these liberations.


by Audre Lorde |

Hanging Fire

 I am fourteen
and my skin has betrayed me
the boy I cannot live without 
still sucks his tumb 
in secret
how come my knees are 
always so ashy
what if I die
before the morning comes
and momma's in the bedroom
with the door closed.

I have to learn how to dance
in time for the next party 
my room is too small for me
suppose I de before graduation
they will sing sad melodies
but finally
tell the truth aout me
There is nothing I want to do 
and too much
that has to be done
and momma's in the bedroom
with the door closed.

Nobody even stops to think
about my side of it
I should have been on Math Team
my marks were better than his
why do I have to be
the one 
wearing braces
I have nothing to wear tomorrow
will I live long enough
to grow up
and momma's in the bedroom
with the door closed.


by Audre Lorde |

Making Love To Concrete

 An upright abutment in the mouth
of the Willis Avenue bridge
a beige Honda leaps the divider
like a steel gazelle inescapable
sleek leather boots on the pavement
rat-a-tat-tat best intentions
going down for the third time
stuck in the particular

You cannot make love to concrete
if you care about being
non-essential wrong or worn thin
if you fear ever becoming
diamonds or lard
you cannot make love to concrete
if you cannot pretend
concrete needs your loving

To make love to concrete
you need an indelible feather
white dresses before you are ten
a confirmation lace veil milk-large bones
and air raid drills in your nightmares
no stars till you go to the country
and one summer when you are twelve
Con Edison pulls the plug
on the street-corner moons Walpurgisnacht
and there are sudden new lights in the sky
stone chips that forget you need
to become a light rope a hammer
a repeatable bridge
garden-fresh broccoli two dozen dropped eggs
and a hint of you
caught up between my fingers
the lesson of a wooden beam
propped up on barrels
across a mined terrain

between forgiving too easily
and never giving at all.


by Audre Lorde |

The Black Unicorn

 The black unicorn is greedy. 
The black unicorn is impatient. 
'The black unicorn was mistaken 
for a shadow or symbol
and taken
through a cold country 
where mist painted mockeries 
of my fury.
It is not on her lap where the horn rests 
but deep in her moonpit 
growing.
The black unicorn is restless 
the black unicorn is unrelenting 
the black unicorn is not 
free.


by Audre Lorde |

The Electric Slide Boogie

 New Year's Day 1:16 AM
and my body is weary beyond
time to withdraw and rest
ample room allowed me in everyone's head
but community calls
right over the threshold
drums beating through the walls
children playing their truck dramas
under the collapsible coatrack
in the narrow hallway outside my room

The TV lounge next door is wide open
it is midnight in Idaho
and the throb easy subtle spin
of the electric slide boogie
step-stepping
around the corner of the parlor
past the sweet clink
of dining room glasses
and the edged aroma of slightly overdone
dutch-apple pie
all laced together
with the rich dark laughter
of Gloria
and her higher-octave sisters

How hard it is to sleep 
in the middle of life.


by Audre Lorde |

Coal

 I 
is the total black, being spoken 
from the earth's inside. 
There are many kinds of open 
how a diamond comes into a knot of flame 
how sound comes into a words, coloured 
by who pays what for speaking. 

Some words are open like a diamond 
on glass windows 
singing out within the crash of sun 
Then there are words like stapled wagers 
in a perforated book—buy and sign and tear apart—
and come whatever will all chances 
the stub remains 
an ill-pulled tooth with a ragged edge. 
Some words live in my throat 
breeding like adders. Other know sun 
seeking like gypsies over my tongue 
to explode through my lips 
like young sparrows bursting from shell. 
Some words 
bedevil me 

Love is word, another kind of open. 
As the diamond comes into a knot of flame 
I am Black because I come from the earth's inside 
Now take my word for jewel in the open light.


by Audre Lorde |

Never To Dream Of Spiders

 Time collapses between the lips of strangers
my days collapse into a hollow tube 
soon implodes against now
like an iron wall
my eyes are blocked with rubble 
a smear of perspectives
blurring each horizon 
in the breathless precision of silence
One word is made.

Once the renegade flesh was gone
fall air lay against my face 
sharp and blue as a needle
but the rain fell through October
and death lay a condemnation
within my blood.

The smell of your neck in August
a fine gold wire bejeweling war
all the rest lies
illusive as a farmhouse
on the other side of a valley
vanishing in the afternoon.

Day three day four day ten
the seventh step
a veiled door leading to my golden
anniversary
flameproofed free-paper shredded
in the teeth of a pillaging dog
never to dream of spiders
and when they turned the hoses upon me
a burst of light.


by Audre Lorde |

Inheritance—His

 I. 
My face resembles your face
less and less each day. When I was young
no one mistook whose child I was.
Features build coloring
alone among my creamy fine-boned sisters
marked me Byron's daughter.

No sun set when you died, but a door
opened onto my mother. After you left
she grieved her crumpled world aloft
an iron fist sweated with business symbols
a printed blotter dwell in the house of Lord's
your hollow voice changing down a hospital corridor
 yea, though I walk through the valley
 of the shadow of death
 I will fear no evil.

II.
I rummage through the deaths you lived
swaying on a bridge of question.
At seven in Barbados
dropped into your unknown father's life
your courage vault from his tailor's table
back to the sea.
Did the Grenada treeferns sing
your 15th summer as you jumped ship
to seek your mother
finding her too late
surrounded with new sons?

Who did you bury to become the enforcer of the law
the handsome legend
before whose raised arm even trees wept
a man of deep and wordless passion
who wanted sons and got five girls?
You left the first two scratching in a treefern's shade
the youngest is a renegade poet
searching for your answer in my blood.

My mother's Grenville tales
spin through early summer evenings.
But you refused to speak of home
of stepping proud Black and penniless
into this land where only white men
ruled by money. How you labored
in the docks of the Hotel Astor
your bright wife a chambermaid upstairs 
welded love and survival to ambition
as the land of promise withered
crashed the hotel closed
and you peddle dawn-bought apples
from a push-cart on Broadway.

Does an image of return
wealthy and triumphant
warm your chilblained fingers
as you count coins in the Manhattan snow
or is it only Linda
who dreams of home?

When my mother's first-born cries for milk
in the brutal city winter
do the faces of your other daughters dim
like the image of the treeferned yard
where a dark girl first cooked for you
and her ash heap still smells of curry?

III.
Did the secret of my sisters steal your tongue
like I stole money from your midnight pockets
stubborn and quaking
as you threaten to shoot me if I am the one? 
The naked lightbulbs in our kitchen ceiling
glint off your service revolver
as you load whispering.

Did two little dark girls in Grenada
dart like flying fish
between your averted eyes
and my pajamaless body
our last adolescent summer?
Eavesdropped orations
to your shaving mirror
our most intense conversations
were you practicing how to tell me
of my twin sisters abandoned
as you had been abandoned
by another Black woman seeking
her fortune Grenada Barbados
Panama Grenada.
New York City.

IV.
You bought old books at auctions
for my unlanguaged world
gave me your idols Marcus Garvey Citizen Kane
and morsels from your dinner plate
when I was seven.
I owe you my Dahomeyan jaw
the free high school for gifted girls
no one else thought I should attend
and the darkness that we share.
Our deepest bonds remain
the mirror and the gun.

V.
An elderly Black judge
known for his way with women
visits this island where I live
shakes my hand, smiling.
"I knew your father," he says
"quite a man!" Smiles again.
I flinch at his raised eyebrow.
A long-gone woman's voice
lashes out at me in parting
"You will never be satisfied
until you have the whole world
in your bed!"

Now I am older than you were when you died
overwork and silence exploding your brain.
You are gradually receding from my face.
Who were you outside the 23rd Psalm?
Knowing so little
how did I become so much
like you?

Your hunger for rectitude
blossoms into rage
the hot tears of mourning
never shed for you before
your twisted measurements
the agony of denial
the power of unshared secrets.