April 6, 2009

Hunting literary diveristy in the library

I think I may have mentioned before that sometime late last semester I just randomly stumbled upon the "black" section of the ETSU Sherrod library (3rd floor, in the middle, walk 20 paces to the left, face north, if you're seeing the study group room you've gone too far). If I didn't, well I did.

This section contains mostly historical Negro poetry and short story collections. Since I didn't have much time to read a book last semester by the time I finally decided to do my work and make good grades, I just locked it away for future reference. This semester, I somehow have even more time on my hands that could be better spent not failing classes but you can't tell me shit on a whole, so I've been spending lots of time in the library.

I usually end up just picking off the first book in whatever section I'm in but I've drifted back to the black section and discovered it wasn't as solely black as I thought. That's how I found Black Like Us, an anthology of black LGBT works (and I have been tearing that shit up) and the history of Irish poetry. I discovered a collection of Nuyorican poetry, an anthology compiled by Miguel Algarín and Miguel Piñero and totally practiced my Spanish all over it. My first and only experience with the Nuyorican Movement unfortunately ended with Pedro Pietri's famous epic "Puerto Rican Obituary", brought to me by my handy dandy Heath Antholgy *throws up H sign* Click the link at the end of the excerpt for performance of the poem by Pietri.

They worked
They were always on time
They were never late
They never spoke back
when they were insulted
They worked
They never took days off
that were not on the calendar
They never went on strike
without permission
They worked
ten days a week
and were only paid for five
They worked
They worked
They worked
and they died
They died broke
They died owing
They died never knowing
what the front entrance
of the first national city bank looks like
All died yesterday today
and will die again tomorrow
passing their bill collectors
on to the next of kin
All died
waiting for the garden of eden
to open up again
under a new management
All died
dreaming about america
waking them up in the middle of the night
screaming: Mira Mira
your name is on the winning lottery ticket
for one hundred thousand dollars
All died
hating the grocery stores
that sold them make-believe steak
and bullet-proof rice and beans
All died waiting dreaming and hating


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