With a title such as There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce, Morgan Parker is setting the reader up for poetry that will be evocative, provocative, enthralling and enriched, steeped in the black and black woman experience.
Reading Parker’s poetry was like taking a deep dive into some subconscious quagmire that only those in touch with pop culture will sink into. However it was hard not to judge this book subjectively because with poems like “13 Ways of Looking at a Black Girl”,“Afro”, and “RoboBeyonce” I had a party in my head and I understood exactly where the speaker was coming from.
Take these words for instance:
“I’m too small to see but I’m listening.”
“On the last day of the year I enter a scalding tub and think you away.”
Many poems I understood, just from living it.
However, some poems I came across seemed to be from a stream of consciousness that my mind just froze upon. That is okay. Stream of consciousness is good. I delve into it with my own writing too, creating abstract poems with my abstract brain.
This is a great book of poetry, I do recommend it to those who enjoy poetry infused with pop culture and plenty of interesting, uncharacteristic rhythm.
*Black Wings continues with a slightly longer conclusion. Thanks for reading!
Everything about her is so tiny, so fragile. Her lips are the perfect bow shape-tiny. Her fingers, long and slender-tiny nails. Her face, a small heart shape- tiny eyes the shape of almonds, with milk chocolate irises. Her hair floats behind her like a big cloud, her skin is the color of night without stars, but her small teeth are perfectly white, glitters in her face. And she does not know she has my heart in a vise…
Ricky was about to follow Cara out into the storm when several hands grabbed at him. “You’re going to be crowned the king! Come on!” Several girls pulled on his arm. They were cute girls. Trim girls. Wore the same makeup girls. Plastic girls. Not really mean, just cookie cutter in order to make it.
“I have to find Cara.”
“Who?” asked one them in a huff. “Stop playing around. If Trish sees you out here trying to find another girl, she will dethrone you so quick.” The girl with dark hair snapped her fingers for emphasis.
Ricky pulled away from her. “She and I aren’t dating. We just…I don’t know.” He shook himself. “I gotta go.”
“During prom?” The girls screeched. “This is important, Ricky! Stop playing around!” The blonde one wearing a beautiful sequined dress.
Something tugged at his heart. It was beginning to ache. Cara was out there, probably trying to do something stupid. Here he was arguing about being “king”.
In a split second decision, he decided to go look for Cara. She couldn’t have gone far.
Sprinting across to the EXIT, with several swear words following behind him, he burst through the double doors, still smelling the Sweet Pea lotion Cara wears but the wind and the rain were brutal. The scent was quickly sliced.
Rain came down like small swords. Sluicing and wetting up everything. It sounded like rocks being thrown outside.
He did not care.
Where did she go in this night?
A bright yellow dress shouldn’t be hard to miss.
He crossed the intersection where cars were backed up, horns honked in frustration and the freaking streetlight that never gets fixed, remained on red for a while.
Then he saw the hair, like wings flapping behind her. The yellow dress clinging to her tiny body as her small feet kicked up mud and puddle water.
Without thinking, Ricky chased her. He’ll be damned if…if he see this. Witness this.
Within a few steps he caught up to her. Instead of touching her he raced ahead of her and stopped, turned to face her,causing her to bump into his chest.
“What are you doing?”
“You tell me. What are you thinking running out into the dark like this?”
“I can if I want.” Her lips were wet with kisses from the rain and her small eyes, cat-like eyes he now realized, looked at him with iron anger. “What? Afraid I’ll catch a cold?”
“That and the fact that this part of town is dangerous.”
“So?” Ricky wanted to hug her so bad. Let her know it was alright to be different and that some people were just anus holes. She was the darkest girl in the school but the prettiest. The girls and guys knew that too and would admit it if they weren’t chicken.
“I can’t just let this happen.”
Cara crossed her arms over her, defiant. “I don’t get it. You are the most popular boy in the school about to be crowned. For your beauty. Your talent. They are probably waiting for you right now. You are out here, chasing me. You sure you aren’t on any drugs?”
Ricky laughed. “I am not on drugs and to hell with prom crowning. They can have it.”
“I gotta go,” Cara said resolved, turning from him.
But Ricky couldn’t let her leave. Not like this. Not right now.
“Cara listen to me! I think you are very beautiful! I- I think you are the sweetest girl I’ve ever known and smart too.”
Cara kept walking away but this time he caught up to her, gently pulled her elbow to turn her around and face him. “You don’t have to do what you are trying to do.”
“What is it I am trying to do?”
They both stood there, rain beating their faces and bodies. The wind whipped harder but Ricky put less distance between them, placed his hands on her shoulders. Her scent sweet and bright, like her dress, like her eyes.
“I watched my mom do it. Said she was going to the bathroom and will be right out. Dad and I waited half an hour. Silence, Cara. Silence! Mom never came out. All I remember…” Ricky was glad for the rain to mask his tears. “All I remember was her dark hair disappearing in the bathroom door, a piece of it caught in the doorjamb, but she didn’t know or care. Then the sound of something falling. Life was too much for her. So instead of thinking of me and dad, she thought about herself. Focused inward so much, we became, maybe caricatures to her. Expendables. Our hearts still beating, bleeding for her and we know she’ll never come back.”
Cara was silent. Listening to Ricky was a mistake.
“My essay, Black Wings? From earlier this week was about her, Cara. When I was ten that was all I
remember. Her dark hair, flapping behind her like black wings and disappearing behind a freaking bathroom door. Only to lose her moments later. She flew away from me and dad. I wish I could tell her she was good enough. Better than enough. I wish I could bring her back.” He swiped at his eyes. “She basically killed our soul, Cara. That is what suicide does to those who love you.”
The cars zoomed past them. All it would take is one toe out in the street. A quick dart out and then finally she can be away from this dark world. Maybe in her next life she’ll be light and pretty.
His eyes got to her though. Those kind green eyes held a special sadness. A permanent sadness his mother put there.
“Sorry about that, Ricky.”
Suddenly the rain slowed and Ricky put even less distance between them, his hands slid slowly down Cara’s arm, his forehead touched hers. “I will not let the next person I care about, do the same thing. I don’t like people leaving me, Cara.”
Cara looked up into Ricky’s face. This was wrong. Very wrong.
“You have another life Ricky. Go back to that school!”
“No!” He hissed to her lips. “I am not leaving you out here. We go together to the school or we stay together here. I will not lose anyone else!”
“Please. Let me do this. I know I will be free if I can do this. The one thing I can do right.”
“No.” He tipped her chin up so her eyes could meet his. “I want to tell you something, I’ve been trying to say all year. I couldn’t write it in the card but-”
“Yes,” he smiled and finally ran his hand through her thick, kinky hair. “The cards you’ve been given.”
“You put them cards in my locker?” Her eyes narrowed at him.
“I slip them in there from time to time.”
“You write nothing on them though,” she chuckled. A small smile, a small feat achieved. Her smile literally broke through the storm. He could watch her smile and hear her laugh all day long.
“I am about to, just listen. Please.”
Cara rolled her eyes, but she couldn’t step away from Ricky’s strong touch. Their bodies were now pressed together as if they were two halves of a heart. As if they were lovers.
“Cara, you sit near me every day in English class and never look my way. I don’t think you notice me. You carry yourself around as if your skin is a heavy burden or bricks to be laid down and you sag in your seat, absorbing class material like a computer. Your eyes are never trained on me, the teacher or class and I find myself wondering: Who is this girl that no one matters to her? She walks alone to class and from class. Her head is down sometimes and most days it is up, not in snotty manner but as if she is a Queen and aspires to be so. I could only hope to be the lucky guy on her arm.
I know you feel like an ugly duckling and that the world does not look at you or admire you. But I will let you in on a small secret. When you are not looking, it is your scent that makes a few of us guys sniff the room. It is your smile that causes a small gossip to erupt amongst the jocks, the secret longings of their hearts exposed in closed locker rooms. The girls sometimes look your way and the next day they upgrade their hair and makeup. One girl in particular tried to befriend you the other day in the cafeteria, she heard that you like Star Wars. Instead you nodded politely and went back to eating, regal as can be because who would really want to talk to you?
Everyone, Cara. Everyone wants to talk to you including me. But I want more. I want more than your talk, I want your lips on mine. I want more than for you just to see me, I want you to gaze at me. I want more than just a handshake from you,” he trailed his hand down her arm to her hand. “I want a hug.”
Cara was speechless.
Before she could say anything, Ricky put his lips on hers, startling her. He kissed her with the feather light touch of a painter’s brush, or the kiss of sun after a stormy, rainy day. A hint of heat and softness.
Ricky knew this wasn’t enough to stop someone from disappearing. What if one day Cara was no longer enough for him? Will she pick up where they left off? Somehow, he knew she’d be in his life forever. She was a treasure to him. Confessing his heart was all he could do. To save her.
**Author note: I truly hope you enjoyed this story. It dropped in my mind one day as I was waking up. I thought, “Hmmm, what if a girl who felt un-pretty met a very beautiful boy who sent her blank greeting cards?”
April Sinclair has done it again with Ain’t Gonna Be the Same Fool Twice, her follow up to Coffee Will Make You Black.
Jean Stevenson or “Stevie” has left high school with hopes of becoming a journalist while also still exploring her sexuality and how it could connect to her being black in the 70s.
In high school, she crushed on a white nurse(In the first book) and began questioning herself then, even though she had sex with a boy before. Even in college, Stevie dates men but soon she realizes there is more to her relationships than just sex. Racism, religion, and politics become a part of the stretching fabric of her life.
Stevie eventually finds herself in a few female relationships and she calls it “experimenting” yet those who care about her wonder if she is sure about any of her decisions. Recalling quotes from a loving grandmother and living in San Francisco with a homosexual hottie named Sterling, Stevie will need to muster all the courage and common sense she was taught just to survive.
This book was just as good as the first! If you are someone who shies away from topics like lesbianism and racism with a dash of politics, then you may want to run. I am not into politics or sexuality topics like either, but the story was good.
A lot of Stevie’s experiences, sadly, has not changed in reality for 2016.
For example, when Stevie begins dating an attractive white female, they are stopped by the police and the police assumes Stevie is a black male and never once looks at her, he constantly asks if her girlfriend is okay. Unfortunately for Stevie, her white girlfriend is only offended when he calls her “ma’am”. This is Stevie’s crucial eye opener to the climate of the times she is in.
I enjoy Stevie’s personality and her wise mannerism to a degree. She can come off as scathing and wishy washy at the same time; most moments and even with a scathing, stern personality, she can become a rug for someone else even when she knows better. Her friends left much to be desire. I cared for no one really in California. The portrayal of the city she was in was one where people hold on to inhibitions, freedom and weed, but let go of sense and sensitivity.
All in all I give this an exceptional rating. It was a perfect follow up to Coffee Will Make You Black.
Okay, bookworms! Would you ever read a book like this? What are some books you loved that had very sensitive topics for you? Discuss below and remember to share this post with your friends!
Warning! Do not read this book near a gas station! This story is sexually explicit and with serious matters that may be uncomfortable for most….
Beast is the remastered, incredible modern day fairytale about Lt. Christopher Jameson a.k.a. Beast, a marine born with a severe facial deformity. Ashleigh Marie Dalton is what you would call “bodacious” with a very pretty face but slightly overweight.
When Beast meets Ashleigh, the combination of their stories and souls collide into something beautiful, heartfelt, and strong.
Beast has a lot of love to give.
I could not put the book down. I have read several really good books this year so far and I will say with confidence, Beast stands on top of the rest. Number one, the characters are so real I literally miss them, the passion and erotic scenes between Beast and Ashleigh are enough to cause firestorms, and the story deals with real issues.
Ashleigh is superficial, but she comes from a superficial family. When she meets Beast, her reaction to his very powerfully built body is instant and understandable and her slight repulsion to his facial deformity, is also, sadly understandable.
Beast is such a shy, sweet man! But he does not play around when it comes to courting the woman he is attracted to and even though Ashleigh is overweight, her beauty is undeniable and her weight has never been a problem for him.
I really enjoyed the hot scenes…sorry. Had to say that. The book definitely gets five star rating for that and also for storyline.
Quote: “She was so little…well she was a big girl, but in his arms she was dwarfed…His arms tightened protectively around her.”
Finally, what I absolutely loved about the book was that there were a few serious issues addressed and fleshed out pretty well. I will not say what those are, but Ashleigh and Beast have childhoods that weren’t so pretty.
Little Nuances: There were some cases where the author misspelled a character’s name and maybe just a couple of grammatical/spelling errors, but certainly not enough to turn you away from this powerful read!
If I told you of a really, really great YA book and it had a dark skinned girl on the front cover, would you still read it?
I have read and promoted books about all races and sexuality and even religions and loved the experience from each one. So why aren’t black novels as popular as mainstream books?
Does Diversity Stifle Creativity?
It all began last year as I was watching The Hunger Games on Netflix. Soon after, reruns of Twilight aired on cable television and earlier this year my husband and I was amazed at Mazerunner. We truly enjoyed it.
But in the back of my mind a small voice said: “Where are the black folks in mainstream media? Are there no black teens in America at all?”
I did not like the question any more than I liked the answer which quickly followed on its heels. Yes, there are black teens everywhere and there are black authors, but none of these books are made into film. Why?
A couple of weeks ago, I read an interesting article on xojane.com which touched on this subject and even listed great and I do mean really great YA books written by black authors:
…for black teens, it can be tough to find people who look like them in the literature they read, which is beyond awful. We need to help build a world where it’s easy to find great books with characters of color — and not just black characters.”[source]
Another reason is that black readers purchase and review mainstream books too, further increasing the sales of the most popular YA we see in film.
Last year, a blogger mentioned that no one should force him to write or buy books by people of color. That could stifle his creativity. And I must say I do agree. As a writer, I don’t want to be told what type of characters to put into my work either.
Paying Attention to Diverse Reading Trends
One author(a white author) has broke the mold already. Her name is Emlyn Chand, author of the Farsighted series.
When I saw the chocolate girl on the cover looking like the singer, Brandy Norwood I gasped. Not only was the cover model gorgeous, but it was a dark girl on the cover of a fantasy sci/fi series and she was not “mixed” or blonde.
Very rare indeed.
My thing is, I don’t care who writes the books, but as an avid reader of all kinds of books I do notice trends and I try to figure out why.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Like I said, serious bookworms would read a good book no matter the cover.
Will you step out of your world, just for a minute?
And I do think if many of us would step out of our comfort zones, just a tiny bit and read, review and promote books that reflect diversity, many more authors would get the attention they deserve- and maybe some movie deals in the making?
As you can see I love books about anyone and will continue to promote them. These are just my thoughts.