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Thompson Cager

About Poet
As one of the contributors and as the editor of When Divas Dance, Chezia Thompson Cager exemplifies a talent for making words soar beyond their apparent meaning. The current Director of Spectrum of Poetic Fire, Reading Series in Baltimore, she has also written In the Presence of Things Unseen: Giant Talk. Her latest work is available as a CD: Teaching Jean Toomer's 1923 Cane.

Fathers & Daughters

And I unfold like a sheet before
the wind knocks us to the ground.
You are almost perfect;
but your kiss isn't.
I would be profound, if
I didn't worry so much about the pain.
We are like a James Brown Tour Ticket:
Men like me don't know when to shut up.
Our words shift through the dark times
watching her sew an air quilt
using thread rolling off the spindle of the moon.
She has taken into her skin what the night holds,
while I rule the world a sucker
punch away from being nothing.
I fight her as a teacher with 2 fists
to exorcise the texts out of my classroom;
where I will school her about pain.
Foretelling, that I know your simple secret.
I know that you are afraid of the dark.
It disturbs your idea of her;
turning from blood, to poem to dust to ashes.
But since I have a baby girl, I have
to learn to love the part and the plait,
the Virgo moon her winsome cry hangs on.
I leapt onto her laughter
like pouring into something hot.
My legs want a different sort of work
because her eyes told them they could.
I should have realized then
and run away from the dysfunction
of our love.


Mississippi Psalk: Oshun Returns
(for Alvin Aubert & Henry Dumas)

I am the mist in the forest
of your mind.
Without lines or vibration,
I move into color - into depth.
Without voice hearing
the speak say of yesterday and tomorrow;
the grinding nerves of history calling me out.
Breathing, I expand into your body.
Your head struggles before breaking
to let me enter to convene with
"your face looking at me - dark lines
waiting for the light."
Skull-bone sharp.
My tongue, silent in our repast
exhumes the ritual, the idea that
we are a people with work to do...
So, now sing the dream work that is
this moment's song.
I touch your skull bone with rose water;
Stand to the drum and rattle as
dry bones come together, at last.
Now, sing the family of color into a circle
unbroken; Join hands and reach down to
resurrect the son of man.
Stand Clay and rename the world:
Give the world our sound, our form
Because in the days to come, they
will learn to hear our children's voices calling out
They will hear the days of blood remembered
And the world will stand with us.
Our names shall call the world.
We will give the world our voices as a gift.
"We will sing.
And when we sing, they will hear us,"
And they will sing too,
And then I will say:
"First, I was air,
Now I am water" and laugh.


Rain Song

He stands in a dry pool of falling water
Questioning a yawning moon
Over her indented shoulder's sculpture

Idols they have never forgotten, absent scent
Wafts through the chasm of her legs
Over mounds of flash to his nose - his mouth

Steamy Windows from a man
Who dusted his chin - a finely mustached wind
Against a dread-locked heated room

The want of the sip, the whiff, the teeth
And tongue dare unsung melodies
His life wiped all over her in a stare

The galvanized roof reconfigures sound
What is voluptuousness in neck, hand and thigh
The taste of oil and sweat in their mouths

Every word is a wish leading to the lyrical
In the stroke of an adept swimmer
Who wants only to know the joy of the current

The River laughed with her sister Rain
Who could know these two would find a way
To walk into each other's sight


Chezia Thompson Cager
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