By James C. Kilgore
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WINNER OF THE 2016 MINNESOTA e-book AWARD FOR POETRY
"[Beautiful Wall] is infused with mythos and formality, no matter if it’s a pilgrim discovering respite contained in the fresh sanctuary of a cathedral’s color, or a vacationer examining old ruins. .. Gonzalez maintains his necessary function in American literature. ”
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Additional info for African Violet: Poem for a Black Woman
Page 24 Yes, you're "tough enuff" to dance down city streets past brother's rapping love talk on sunset corners (Have you ever wondered why we wait on corners rather than in the middle block? ) We know what your message is: It's the same one issued by Princess Mari, the one who is "Tall as a cypress," the one who gathered weary Black warriors around that old Black World throne and ordered: Look on me and be renewed. Page 25 We know you're lovely: You've heard our new songs: You've heard the brother's loud reverence at least a thousand times When he cried in awe as you passed his corner: "Git it, girl!
My father used to predict rain by pain. When his arthritis struck a joint, He could take out his watch And tell us what time to expect the first drop. I'm not used to predicting rain by my own pain. I'd say though that from the way my torso reels when I walk and from the way the northwest wind weeps across these wet plains that a late monsoon rain is being born. Page 17 It's Thundering Again It's thundering again; The rain falls like steel pellets upon the world; Last night I prayed again, And then I called the South and talked with Mother; She was praying, too; She said she'd had a dream that some turbulence was occurring in my transplanted heart; I told her that her dream's weatherman was wrong, That in my heart there had been no disturbance: There had been a volcanic eruption, And the black peak Was gushing lava over my long-quiet land.
But early one morning, on the edge of spring He stretched his arms in prayer for rain, and This time the fingers knew that a monsoon Had come to heal the land Where no grapes grew, Where no manna fell, Where no rainbow had hung for years. Page 37 Her Performance (for Alberta) Her performance is always perfect; Sometimes she spins the fire, the noise, the whirlwinds of the world, in the atmosphere of instruments vibrating from the pit of her body, spilling joy and sadness upon the face of water, sending shock waves of birth and death on the voice of the winds.