Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Cornelius Eady: Nina’s Blues

Your body, hard vowels
In a soft dress, is still.

What you can’t know
Is that after you died
All the black poets
In New York City
Took a deep breath,
And breathed you out;
Dark corners of small clubs,
The silence you left twitching

On the floors of the gigs
You turned your back on,
The balled-up fists of notes
Flung, angry from a keyboard.

You won’t be able to hear us
Try to etch what rose
Off your eyes, from your throat.

Out you bleed, not as sweet, or sweaty,
Through our dark fingertips.
We drum rest
We drum thank you
We drum stay.


From Hardheaded Weather: New and Selected Poems, published by Putnam. Copyright 2008 by Cornelius Eady. Reprinted by permission of the author.

Nina Simone

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