In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Callaloo 23.1 (2000) 68-72

[Access article in PDF]

For Audre *

Pat Parker

Part 1: In the Family


The Black Unicorn is restless
The Black Unicorn is unrelenting
The Black Unicorn is not free.
            The Black Unicorn

Who is this bitch?
I mean really
         who is this bitch?
She come bopping
into my life
I be sitting in my pad
minding my own business
she come waltzing in
a funnel of energy
fire questions at me
like some 60 Minutes
reporter hot
after the bad guy.
         Like where is she from?
I know literally [End Page 68]
how she got here.
Been hanging around
with East Bay dykes
and wants to know
where the Black women are
         to them I am
           the Black women.
Now this woman
sits in my house
      no devours
         my words.
No comment.
clicking and um-humming
then has the nerve
to say
I write good but
not enough.
Push more
take the harder road.
         Who is this woman?
I know her for all
of an hour and a half
and she's talking at me
like my fifth-grade teacher.
More discipline, Patricia.
Stretch yourself.
I mean really!
this be one bold-ass bitch.
If that's not enough
she ends the visit
         if that's what you call it [End Page 69]
         I'd call it an earthquake
         shake everything that isn't
         nailed down loose
         watch it crumble and fall
she tells me to my face
as she goes out my door
"you need to get rid of
your lover--
she no help to you."
Who is this bitch?


I am woman
and not white.
         A Woman Speaks

You talk to me
like my mother
with your eyes
dark pieces of coal
pierce my words
dare me to be
reach beneath the surface
tell you the part
that I hold back.
I have known you forever
been aware that you would come.
My muse sang of you--
         watch the sky for
         an ebony meteorite
         that will pierce
         into your darkness
         illuminate your fears
         hurl them at you
         laughing. [End Page 70]
Are you quick
enough to survive?
Can I count on you
to be there?


I am often afraid to this day, but even more so angry at having to be afraid, of having to spend so much of my energies, interrupting my work, simply upon fear and worry.
         The Cancer Journals

After I read The Cancer Journals
I made love to you
touched your body--pressed
my hands deep into your flesh
and passed my warmth to you.
I kissed the space where
your right breast had been
ran my tongue over your body
       to lick away your fear
       to lick away my fear.
I felt jealous
wanted to be near you
and to hold you
and to sing you songs
       to say I love you
       you are not alone
I felt guilt
for all the unsent letters
for all the unwritten poems
for all the "dead air." [End Page 71]


Every woman I have ever loved has
left her print upon me.
            Zami: A New Spelling of My Name
"I was ready to give you up"
so much time passed
and no sense of you.
Sister, love
some things are not possible.
I carry you with me
talk with you
ask your opinion
you cannot give me up
I cannot give you up.
We are linked
         our Blackness
         our creativity
         our queerness
our muses conspire.
I never promise
     to write often
     to call often
     to be a presence
I promise
      to love you
     and call you

Pat Parker (1944-1989), poet, teacher, and activist, was the author of Child of Myself (Women's Press Collective, 1972), Pit Stop: Words (Women's Press Collective, 1974), Movement in Black: The Collected Poetry of Pat Parker, 1961-1978 (Diana Press, 1978), WomanSlaughter (Diana Press, 1978), and Jonestown and Other Madness (Firebrand Books, 1985). She served as director of the Feminist Women's Health Center, Oakland, California, 1978-1989, and founded the Black Women's Revolutionary Council, Oakland, California, in 1980.

* © Pat Parker, from Movement...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
p. 73
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.