June 2006

Afaa M. Weaver


Afaa M Weaver Afaa M. Weaver (Michael S. Weaver) is a poet and playwright. The author of nine collections of poetry, including Multitudes (Sarabande Books, 2000) and The Ten Lights of God (Bucknell University Press, 2000), he received his M.F.A. ('87) from Brown University. A student of Chinese language and culture, Weaver is the Alumnae Professor of English at Simmons College where he is also Director of the Zora Neale Hurston Literary Center.

Zombie Dance/Tapping The Blood Root    Click to hear in real audio

               for Katrina

Buddy Bolden speaks from the insane asylum

It don't go that way, upside the wall,
down to the woodwork, falling all over
where the wood in the floor breaks off from
the C note.  It's more like this, the way
I lean up under the last star on Orion
in the first break of spring, under the catcalls
of mockingbirds, the belly grunts of air
knotted up inside me.  Like it was
this morning, the sheets full of years of me,
the dipper back down in the bucket to wash
my dreams until they make sense. Marie
Laveau or her familiar comes back
again, a voice with no body. Then the roar
from the hoodoo and gooba dust, the hammer
nailed to the tree on a piece of cloth
with dry blood, the valley of full moons
like a python belly writhing, full of some
still living thing. Jazz, make the
water one tongue, rise up, rise up,
soprano sorceress, sing to the ancient pain
all around me, the chorus of how time began.
O water, breathe, so the dead can listen.


Children in superdomes

This old lady's hand is weaker than mine,
and I ain't used to so many people close
to breaking, and everybody is so wet.
When I look back to where we used to live,
all I see is the way water stand up and be
talking to you, stand up like it can dance
all over the world.  It's so much stuff in here,
and I am just a little girl trying to help this
white lady in this wheelchair of hers.
People get so loud in here I can't hear myself.
Tonight, when I go to sleep, I'm gonna
count all the things I remember that we had
and hope my sister bring them when she come
back.  She better come back.  I am gonna count
my handmade dolls the Vietnam lady
gave me, plus all the books I had about dolphins
because they are the best. Then I'll be sleepy
and won't hear nobody crying in here where
everything is all piled up, like we all finished
and there ain't nothing else to do, forever.



Afaa M. Weaver: Poetry
Copyright ©2006 The Cortland Review Issue 32The Cortland Review