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Callaloo 23.1 (2000) 46-47

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Jessehelms *

Audre Lorde

Part 1: In the Family

I am a Black woman
writing my way to the future
off a garbage scow knit from moral fibre
stuck together with jessehelms'
come where Art is a dirty word
scrawled on the wall
of Bilbo's memorial outhouse
and obscenity is catching
even I'd like to hear you scream
ream out your pussy
with my dildo called Nicaragua
ram Grenada up your fig hole
till Panama runs out of you
like Savimbi a-flame.
But you prefer to do it
on the senate floor
with a sackful of paper pricks
keeping time to the tune
of a 195 million dollar
military band
safe-sex dripping from your tongue
into avid senatorial ear-holes
later you'll get yours
behind the senate toilets
where they're waiting for you jessehelms
the white boys with their pendulous rules
bumping against the rear door of Europe [End Page 46]
spread-eagled across the globe
their crystal balls poised over Africa
ass-up for old glory
your turn now jessehelms
come on it's time
to lick the handwriting
off the walls.


Audre Lorde (1934-1992), who died of cancer in the Virgin Islands, is author of more than eight volumes of poems and four collections of essays, including Zami, Chosen Poems: Old and New, A Burst of Light, Sister Outsider, and Our Dead Behind Us. She taught at Tougaloo College (Mississippi), John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and Hunter College.

* Copyright © 1990 by Audre Lorde. This poem and the two that follow originally appeared in Callaloo 14.1 (Winter 1991).



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