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Three Poems
from Remembering My Birth

by Alice Lovelace,
Atlanta, Georgia

    July 7 at 7 Stages Theatre --
    Imani Dances Before She Walks

    We have raised you
    Through litany
    Pass the seventh chant

    Resurrection of bone
    You came
    Like life in reverse

    Me giving birth
    (but not me)

    My first born

    (so lovely)
    But not mine
    Daughter of my wild season

    But more / Grand Daughter
    Faith I have that a
    Chorus of community

    Shall shelter you
    Faith I see
    In your steps

    Dancing already on legs of oak
    Courageous spirit of
    GreatGrandMother anchors

    Your surefooted ways
    I / GrandMother
    Provide air for sustenance

    And Imani is dancing
    (already) On legs of oak
    ToYoruba rhythms

    Senegalese chants
    Strokes of Djimba
    (all praise to the drummers)

    Into the future

    Imani dances


In the margin of the day
dividing Lebanon from
Israel, the scribbled
notes of your lives

lie buried in snowdrifts
Three am / caffeine renders me
television drone
beneath my bed

darkness calls
voices bark (silent
yet unyielding)
417 excuses I invent

secure in my zone of
demarcation. Were this
a road I would find
you in the trenches

Yours is a sacrificial settlement
cradled between sleep and death
twelve and seventeen
mark your impasse
(you were borne to sorrow)

In these days af mid-
life crises, I know you
(purely) by way of

Like spoiled children
passing licks
(gone too far)
six am and you come

like a serpent

like yesterday's news


Through the mist
Decode time
Travel more slowly
Than the bullets

Unrequited ghost
Heroes of
Lost crusades
Memory of
Plague infests

These lands
Same people
Same bridge
Birthed a World War
(and two ... and three ?)

Fear rises
Vultures sip, while
Missiles scamper slope to slope

The news-sayers say
This war has worked
Rule Meanwhile
I cruise C-Span

Adjust the image ...
Will we pass on this blame
Will we deem everyone a victim
Will we claim all is justified
(the time has come to weep)

For the sorrowful faces of children
For leaves that cling still to the trees
For bitter water ploughed in furrows
(the time has come to weep)

Far the moon like an eyelid
Spying the coming winter

  • Click here for a review of Remembering My Birth
    by Dr. Gary Alan Fine of the University of Georgia
  • Alice Lovelace, Remembering My Birth: Recent and Collected Poems
    (Introduction by Dr. Ja Jahannes)
    Horizons Press, 1994.
  • Available from Stone Fish Productions: 404.794.4427

Published in In Motion Magazine June 22, 1996