Woman Poem

Nikki Giovanni

you see, my whole life
is tied up
to unhappiness
it’s father cooking breakfast
and me getting fat as a hog
or having no food
at all and father proving
his incompetence
i wish i knew how it would feel
to be free

it’s having a job
they won’t let you work
or no work at all
castrating me
(yes it happens to women too)

it’s a sex object if you’re pretty
and no love
or love and no sex if you’re fat
get back fat black woman be a mother
grandmother strong thing but not woman
gameswoman romantic woman love needer
man seeker dick eater sweat getter
fuck needing love seeking woman

it’s a hole in your shoe
and buying lil’ sis a dress
and her saying you shouldn’t
when you know
all too well—that you shouldn’t
but smiles are only something we give
to properly dressed social workers
not each other
only smiles of i know
your game sister
which isn’t really
a smile

joy is finding a pregnant roach
and squashing it
not finding someone to hold
let go get off get back don’t turn
me on you black dog
how dare you care
about me
you ain’t got no good sense
cause i ain’t shit you must be lower
than that to care

it’s a filthy house
with yesterday’s watermelon
and monday’s tears
cause true ladies don’t
know how to clean

it’s intellectual devastation
of everybody
to avoid emotional commitment
“yeah honey i would’ve married
him but he didn’t have no degree”

it’s knock-kneed mini-skirted
wig wearing died blond mamma’s scar
born dead my scorn your whore
rough heeled broken nailed powdered
face me

whose whole life is tied
up to unhappiness
cause it’s the only
for real thing

Last updated September 25, 2022