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"Miss Jones," a poem by Wanda Coleman

Wanda Coleman - Image by Susan Carpendale
Wanda Coleman
  • she was the great baby sitter — tall dignified
  • rich warm brown
  • we’d scream her name pretend to be endangered
  • run and hide in mama’s clothes closet
  • she’d search house and yard
  • get angry and upset when she couldn’t find us
  • we’d pop out laughing while
  • she scolded us for wolfing
  • delicately she reported on our bursts into puberty
  • and experiments in sex
  • on visits to her home she made us family
  • after play with her nieces and nephews fed us
  • the best tuna sandwiches on the planet
  • love and love always for the only person
  • to ever comb my thick black kinks
  • without taking my hair out
  • in handfuls
  • i loved her coffee stained teeth flashing gold
  • her thick british honduras croon
  • how she always called her lover “Mr.”
  • so pretty inside
  • there was a joy about her i had to be a woman
  • to understand


Wanda Coleman is a well-known American poet who has published 18 books of poetry and fiction, including Bathwater Wine, for which she won the 1999 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize (the first African-American woman to receive that award). Her collection Mercurochrome was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2001. A seminal figure of literary L.A., her honors include Guggenheim Foundation and NEA fellowships. Her new collection of poems, The World Falls Away, has just been published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. “Miss Jones” is from Coleman’s collection Heavy Daughter Blues, published by Black Sparrow Press. It is reprinted here by permission. The author’s photograph is by Susan Carpendale.

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Wanda Coleman - Image by Susan Carpendale
Wanda Coleman
  • she was the great baby sitter — tall dignified
  • rich warm brown
  • we’d scream her name pretend to be endangered
  • run and hide in mama’s clothes closet
  • she’d search house and yard
  • get angry and upset when she couldn’t find us
  • we’d pop out laughing while
  • she scolded us for wolfing
  • delicately she reported on our bursts into puberty
  • and experiments in sex
  • on visits to her home she made us family
  • after play with her nieces and nephews fed us
  • the best tuna sandwiches on the planet
  • love and love always for the only person
  • to ever comb my thick black kinks
  • without taking my hair out
  • in handfuls
  • i loved her coffee stained teeth flashing gold
  • her thick british honduras croon
  • how she always called her lover “Mr.”
  • so pretty inside
  • there was a joy about her i had to be a woman
  • to understand


Wanda Coleman is a well-known American poet who has published 18 books of poetry and fiction, including Bathwater Wine, for which she won the 1999 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize (the first African-American woman to receive that award). Her collection Mercurochrome was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2001. A seminal figure of literary L.A., her honors include Guggenheim Foundation and NEA fellowships. Her new collection of poems, The World Falls Away, has just been published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. “Miss Jones” is from Coleman’s collection Heavy Daughter Blues, published by Black Sparrow Press. It is reprinted here by permission. The author’s photograph is by Susan Carpendale.

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Comments
1

so good the print can't even hold it!

thx thx thx Reader for bringing this inimitable poet to us!!!

Oct. 12, 2011

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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