Monday, November 07, 2005

it's my house and I plan to live in it

My House
Nikki Giovanni

i only want to
be there to kiss you
as you want to be kissed
when you need to be kissed
where i want to kiss you
cause its my house and i plan to live in it

i really need to hug you
when i want to hug you
as you like to hug me
does this sound like a silly poem

i mean its my house
and i want to fry pork chops
and bake sweet potatoes
and call them yams
cause i run the kitchen
and i can stand the heat

i spent all winter in
carpet stores gathering
patches so i could make
a quilt
does this really sound
like a silly poem

i mean i want to keep you

and my windows might be dirty
but its my house
and if i can't see out sometimes
they can't see in either

english isn't a good language
to express emotion through
mostly i imagine because people
try to speak english instead
of trying to speak through it
i don't know maybe it is
a silly poem

i'm saying it's my house
and i'll make fudge and call
it love and touch my lips
to the chocolate warmth
and smile at old men and call
it revolution cause what's real
is really real
and i still like men in tight
pants cause everybody has some
thing to give and more
important need something to take

and this is my house and you make me
so this is your poem

If you didn't listen to Nikki recite this poem aloud last night on PBS, you missed somethin' worth hearing. I nearly missed it, but I caught the tail end of her program just on before the children piled on my bed to watch the sacred concluding episode of Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson. Nikki struck me as a fast talking, well spoken, proud, elegant writer whom I admire greatly. She's captivating and had me talking out loud back to her with my boys pointing out, "She can't hear you, Mommy. She's on television, not in our room."
The truth of the matter is, I feel like I *know* her, because I love her work. Just like I feel like I know the weather man on Channel 10 News Straight from the Heart when I see him with his children enjoying the fall festival at a local school. Nikki came to Knoxville to spend her childhood summers with her grandma (I think it was her granny?), so we are practically neighbors except for the time space/continuum issue; this may have been before I was born, so, of course, it's hardly fair to say I know her at all.
I remember the feeling of horror and of wanting to run out the door once when I realized a room full of people, peers, I'd never met had read something I'd published about my work. A lady announced in front of everyone,"Are you the Truevyne who wrote..."? Blush, awkward wiggle. It's an uncomfortable feeling to be known by others and know absolutely nothing about their lives. I recognize my work as out-of-the-box, because I strive to make every idea a part of myself. However, this may greatly offend one who goes-strictly-by-the-book. Thus my impulse to flee the scene. Looking back, I believe I wanted to remain anonymous, so I could decide if I liked them *before* they decided whether or not to like me. I wonder if Nikki feels like flying away when she's recognized after hoping to simply remain one of the crowd?
She's a one of a kind. The kind I like.

1 comment:

Running2Ks said...

That poem is so great. So honest and real. Unpretentious, sweet, and funny.