I’m continuing on today in my series for National Poetry Month (April) with some three wonderful poems, two of them never before published, from the amazing poet Linda D. Addison! Linda D. Addison is the award-winning author of four collections, the first African-American to receive the Horror Writers Association (HWA) Bram Stoker Award®, and recipient of the 2018 HWA Lifetime Achievement Award. I’m quite honored that she agreed to be part of this series and thrilled she’s offered two unpublished poems for release here at Oh, for the Hook of a Book! Not only talented, she’s always a bright light with an enormous smile and a kind word for all.
The first poem was nominated for a 2018 Rhysling Award and was published as the Afterword in the HWA Bram Stoker finalist Sycorax’s Daughters anthology of horror fiction/poetry by African-American women.
Sycorax’s Daughters Unveiled
by Linda D. Addison
Descendants of the unseen,
born from uterus: bruised, abused, loved, rejected.
Alive, in spite of the promise of death,
giving birth even while silently weeping blood.
We paint red memories of our lives
before prison, on walls made from
our sweat, our anger, and the blood of
our children: unborn, reborn in mourning.
Descending from human to property,
turning to Nyavirezi, lion goddess, for hope,
for a way to survive each bitter breath,
to use the growing Shadows for transformation.
Finding truth in rivers, rain, tree roots,
flowers, herbs. Earth delivers healing &
a way for revenge, for freedom, even if
just surrendering to a cliff’s edge.
Ascending back to Self, the dream was
never deferred, but a tiny seed, carried
deep in tortured wombs, fed by near madness,
rising from ashes, rebuilt from courage.
As daughters of daughters,
we speak Our fables
from mouths full of lightning:
of mermaids, magic, demons, vampires,
journeys to hell and back, shape shifters,
ravished bodies & strengthened souls,
alternate futures, babies wanted & rejected,
firestarters, ghosts, and transhumans.
read Our words & know:
We Are Here.
This next one is a funky poem about writing.
It’s published here for the first time!
How to be Notorious
By Linda D. Addison
The Notorious B.I.G.
write loose and easy
flow dark and semi-autobiographical.
Tell your story
like junior M.A.F.I.A.
feud with the best
spend nine months in jail
just because you got
Business Instead of Game.
Start a band
with fiddles and banjos
play everything from jazz and blues
to rap and waltzes
keep your audience
guessing and confused.
You could be quoted
by shamans everywhere
because your imitation
of Notorious B.I.G.
is so dead on they suspect
reincarnation is involved.
Or you could
unique and imperfect
kiss discretion good bye,
sing when others cry,
dance when they pray,
treat status quo
like the poison
it can be.
This third poem was inspired by the movie “Life of Pi” and Linda changing everything in her life by moving from NYC to Tucson AZ. We are very lucky to publish it first here.
My Life with the Tiger
By Linda D. Addison
My old life shipwrecked.
I am stranded in between.
The Tiger: imagined fear of the unknown future,
looking into the eyes of that wild animal:
“I am your vessel,” I say.
“Above all, don’t lose hope.”
I feed the creature,
we are connected,
finding an uneasy balance.
I look it in the eye,
my determination for life
stronger than fear.
And yet fear keeps me alive.
I plead with danger
“Come out and see God.”
In a relentless storm
“Why are you scaring me, God.
I have given Everything to You.”
We are tossed by Your storm.
Almost drowned I approach the Tiger,
my life, to revive it.
I lean the beast’s head on my lap.
When we finally land, barely alive,
on safe ground, my danger, my Tiger
walks into the jungle, its home,
without looking back.
And now more about Linda and her latest project….
edited with Kinitra Brooks, PhD & Susana Morris, PhD
ISBN-10: 1941958443; ISBN-13: 978-1941958445
Cedar Grove Publishing (March 2017)
33 authors; 28 stories, 14 poems
Cover by Jim Callahan HWA Bram Stoker award® 2017 finalist
Thought-provoking, powerful, and revealing, this anthology is composed of 28 dark stories and 14 poems written by African-American women writers. The tales of what scares, threatens, and shocks them will enlighten and entertain readers. The works delve into demons and shape-shifters from “How to Speak to the Bogeyman” and “Tree of the Forest Seven Bells Turns the World Round Midnight” to far future offerings such as “The Malady of Need”. These pieces cover vampires, ghosts, and mermaids, as well as the unexpected price paid by women struggling for freedom and validation in the past.
Linda D. Addison, Biography –
Linda D. Addison is the award-winning author of four collections, the first African-American to receive the HWA Bram Stoker Award®, and recipient of the 2018 HWA Lifetime Achievement Award. She has published over 300 poems, stories and articles and is a member of CITH, HWA, SFWA and SFPA.
Addison is one of the editors of Sycorax’s Daughters (Cedar Grove Publishing), a Bram Stoker finalist anthology of horror by African-American women. Catch her latest work in anthologies Cosmic Underground (Cedar Grove Publishing), Scary Out There (Simon Schuster) and Into Painfreak (Necro Publications).
Thank you, Linda