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August 4, 2020
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Poetry on the Page

Belly Song by Etheridge Knight

1
And I  and I  / must admit
that the sea in you
has sung / to the sea / in me
and I  and I  / must admit
that the sea in me
has fallen / in love
with the sea in you
because you have made something
out of the sea
that nearly swallowed you

And this poem
This poem
This poem / I give / to you.
This poem is a song / I sing / I sing / to you
from the bottom
of the sea
in my belly

This poem
This poem
This poem / is a song / about FEELINGS

about the Bone of feeling
about the Stone of feeling
And the Feather of feeling

2
This poem
This poem
This poem / is /
a death / chant
and a grave / stone
and a prayer for the dead:
for young Jackie Robinson
a moving Blk / warrior who walked
among us
with a side / stride — and heavy heels
moving moving moving
thru the blood and mud and shit of Vietnam
moving moving moving
thru the blood and mud and dope of America
for Jackie / who was /

a song
and a stone
and a Feather of feeling
now dead
and / gone / in this month of love

This poem
This poem / is / a sliver feather
and the sun-god / glinting / green hills breathing
river flowing — for Sheryl and David — and
their first / kiss by the river — for Mark and Sue
and a Sunday walk on her grand / father’s farm
for Sammy and Marion — love rhythms
for Michael and Jean — love rhythms
love / rhythms — love rhythms — and LIFE

3
This poem
This poem
This poem
This poem / is / for ME — for me
and the days / that lay / in the back of my mind
when the sea / rose up /
to swallow me
and the streets I walked
were lonely streets
were stone / cold streets

This poem
This poem / is /
for me / and the nights
when I
wrapped my feelings
in a sheet of ice
and stared
at the stars
thru iron bars
and cried
in the middle of my eyes

This poem
This poem
This poem / is / for me
and my woman
and the yesterdays
when she opened
to me like a flower
but I fell on her
like a stone
I fell on her like a stone

4
And now — in my 40th year
I have come here
to this House of Feelings
to this Singing Sea
and I and I / must admit
that the sea in me
has fallen / in love
with the sea in you
because the sea
that now sings / in you
is the same sea
that nearly swallowed you–
and me too.

 
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