I have a house full of books. 4 floors. I recently informed readers of my E-Notes that I was going to give away a number of poetry books. I was amazed at the response I received. Many people wanted the goods. It was hard saying goodbye to my "children" but many of the books needed better homes. They needed to be read. One person who contacted me was Lauren Stuart Muller. She asked if I might be interested in donating some of my poetry books to the June Jordan School for Equity in San Francisco. I told her I didn't even know there was a school named after June.
Now, the post office might be having problems, but as soon as I heard about the Jordan school a box was in the mail. Where would I be without June Jordan? She was the woman who filled my ears with laughter. I loved her politics and the poems that addressed so many issues. She was often the first defender when it came to the difficult times. How many voices had the courage to speak for Palestinians when it wasn't popular to do so?
June Jordan died in 2002. She fought the good fight. My favorite collection of her work is still Things that I Do in the Dark. I was visiting her in Brooklyn the day this book arrived on her doorstep. I still remember the little party that we had. I think we even invited Alice Walker over to join us. June and I wrote many poems to one another. Her "Grand Army Plaza" can be found in her collection Passion. It contains those memorable lines:
We are not survivors of a civil war
We survive our love
because we go on
There are a number of Jordan classics that should be taught across America. At the top of the list would have to be "Poem about My Rights." And -yes, don't forget those poems Sweet Honey In The Rock made delicious to our ears. Yes- I need an absolutely one to one a seven-day kiss.