She was untouched by the sun,
skin pale as the moon, heart
marked with lunar craters, one
for each lover in her life.
She has danced dark rhythms,
kissed many shades of skin and lips,
felt the resonance of untameable
blues pulse in veins and hips,
but she will never know the misery
of a dark-skinned woman’s history.

Kim M. Russell, 11th February 2020

Image result for billie holiday
Billie Holiday – image found on Pinterest

My response to dVerse Poets Pub Poetics: Black History Month

Anmol is our host today, and he reminds us that February is Black History Month. For this week’s Poetics we are celebrating amazing African American poets and seeking inspiration from them. He has shared a quote from James Baldwin and poems by Jamaal May and Audre Lorde, and suggests we read Gwendolyn Brooks’ Primer for Blacks, Langston Hughes’ call of/for Freedom, and Maya Angelou’s Harlem Hopscotch.

Anmol asks us to write a poem, short or long, free verse or form, taking inspiration from these poets and their poems. We may pick a line or a theme and find our own voice, or we can elaborate and expand on the issues.

27 thoughts on “Moon-marked

  1. I love this, Kim. You’re right, it’s very hard to imagine how different lives can be. There is still so much racism in the world. I’m thinking how ironic it is that people are being deported to Jamaica en masse, that people are being deprived of citizenship here. It’s not OK.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Sarah. I’m so ashamed of our government. I can’t believe they’re doing this again. I dread to think what will happen when we are out of the EU completely. Will we still have recourse to the European Court of Human Rights?


  2. Billy, like Lena Horne, was more acceptable to the white world, but as a mixed race individual, they had demons of their own to deal with. George Jessel took Lena Horne to a gala, and the doorman asked, “Who wrote the invitation for this woman?” Jessel said, “Abraham Lincoln, you sonofabitch!”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ella Fitzgerald experienced similar treatment. Black singers with white bands had to stay in separate accommodation and earn in different restaurants. I’ve never experienced or heard of that happening in the UK.


  3. a child pf mixed race never know where they fit and try to dance on both sides of the river that flows through them, every word of yours described a woman in between cultures and yet never fully tasting one is a sad reality. a very beautiful take on the prompt today.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This poem gives me food for thought. Indeed, it is impossible to know the effects of injustice- unless you walk in another’s shoes.
    I have head-knowledge of African-Americans- but no heart knowledge.
    In the same way I empathise with the tragic history of the Jewish people- that’s the same empathy I have for them. People are simply not kind to each other.

    Liked by 1 person

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