Carolyn M. Rodgers emerges from Margaret Busby’s Daughters of Africa anthology with a message that “plays right into the hands” of non-females like myself. Her poem, “Poem for Some Black Women,” can easily been seen as an embarrassment to the Oprah Winfrey’s of the world. I can clearly see ladies of distinction the world over misnaming the poem “Poem for Poor Black Women,” “Poem for Godless Black Women” or “Poem for Black Women Who Do Not Take Anti-Depressants.”

This poem provides the testimony that supports the indictment I have been making about “my” women ever since I discovered (way too late in age) that, no matter what I do I or what I be, my person—or any person who remotely resembles me—will always have no place in their hearts. What took way too long for me to understand is that it’s not like this place is saved for someone else. No, Carolyn M. Rodgers explains quite clearly that for some Black women there is no place. There is just the habit of doing alone. There is the preoccupation with keeping up appearances and other perception management chores.

Participating authentically in community takes a skilled workforce. To underestimate what it takes to function in partnerships of profound intimacy has been my undoing for most of my adult life so far. But have no pity for me. For this ignorance of mine is just another indication of my disrespect for the wisdom of non-Imperial, ancient African cultures in particular and indigenous, non-warlike cultures in general. As western people—even westerners who proclaim Blackness—there is a tendency to ignore technical skills that have little to do with military hardware. We suffer for this ignorance. We perish for this lack of knowledge. But many of us have nice clothes and shiny cars. Carolyn M. Rodgers, a National Endowment for the Arts award winner and a former member of the Organization of African American Culture (1967–1971), describes this disease of luxuriant western poverty quite well.


Written by . . . . . . . Carolyn M. Rodgers
XHTML/CSS Design by . . . . . . . Bryan Wilhite