Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Hodgepodge 290/365 - Poetry (Khadijah Queen)

Like several others I've featured here, Khadijah was a fellow student at Antioch University, in the Creative Nonfiction thread. I vividly remember her pieces about being a sailor—young, female, black—on the U.S.S. Cole (before it was bombed by Al-Qaeda), about her grandmother. Her prose was enriched by the fact that she is also a poet.

For a few years, we took part in a little writing group together with a couple of other Antioch friends. We called ourselves the Red Threads. Reading her work was always challenging—in a good way. She pushes boundaries, finds edges then transcends them.

Since I met her she has published several books of poetry, a play, and most recently a work of what I would call prose poetry, I'm So Fine: A List of Famous Men & What I Had On, which was a finalist for the 2015 National Poetry Series prize. Here are a few from that book (which you can read more about in this review).

The same year I found out who Audie Murphy was I got stretch marks I was 12 & living in a battered women’s shelter in Long Beach with my mother & sister & I filled out too fast from eating too much junk food & noticed the light striations after my first shower there I put on sandals & a loose pale blue summer dress that tied at the shoulders & saw the woman in the bunk across the room organizing pictures in a raggedy green photo album she lay there propped up on a thin elbow & I asked who is that & she didn’t reply just turned to a page that had his name & stared at Audie Murphy so hard her inch-thick glasses fogged up & I think it bothered her son who was my age & very smart but he didn’t complain he took really good care of her she would kiss the pictures & say in a clear voice I might be tall & you might be short Audie Murphy but you’d better tell those Western girls you’re all mine

I don’t remember how old I was when I saw Lou Rawls but we were on Wilshire somewhere with my mom & he drove a Rolls the color of rich cream every finger had gold & diamonds on it & the woman passenger wore a white fur coat & her bouffant stretched high enough to almost brush the inside roof of the car she also had on a lot of jewelry but not as much as Lou & we knew who he was because he had just performed on Solid Gold or Soul Train & I am pretty sure it was nighttime in the spring because I remember his lights were on & my legs were cold so I must have had on a dress or shorts my mom said for us to wave so we waved & he smiled & tapped the horn & glided on down the street in sparse traffic

A guy I met on Tinder took me to see Lionel Richie at Red Rocks Amphitheater I had on 3-inch gold heels stupidly because you have to climb approximately 8,901 steps which slope at a 45 degree angle but redeemed myself by keeping a pair of flats in the car also gold luckily matching my black slacks & ecru shell & light sweater I was glad I brought the sweater even though it was June since when the sun went down it still wasn’t warm enough & my date also let me wear his jacket & wrapped an arm around my shoulders & we had just met but it wasn’t weird at all just a moment that made me love dating in my late 30s & our whole row sang along to all the songs & on that outdoor screen Lionel Richie looked like he hadn’t aged a day since 1988

1 comment:

  1. I didn't know Khadijah served on the U.S.S. Cole. Happy to hear she published and read these excerpts. Thanks.