Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind

Durham Poems: From the Finding Poems Participants

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On September 28th an eclectic group of poets gathered for session 4 of the Finding Poems Series.  We were inspired by June Jordan’s architectextual poems and by the powerful video conferenced-in sharing of environmental justice scholar Cheryl J. Fish to engage the spatial realities and legacies of Durham in a poetic way.  We wrote many poems that day but here is our group poem/group of poems for Durham.

And you can listen to it here:

Durham Poem #34

Durham, don’t dig down deep

Beg barter and plea, Baby

For transformation you are not willing to have as your birthday wish, Honey

Durham Poem #9

whirlwind my heart you dirty city

you tobacco dust you slave lust trust

you breathing devil     land

Durham Poem #23

Durham, Durham

The beats of the hearts the angers the terrors the smiles

Dance Durham

Durham Poem #24

the pompeii

in durham, traffic slower

than my blood flow

during morning prayer, a man

ask me for food, or change

in front of mcdonalds,

i extend a banana,

he refuses, i continue

singing.  i belong here.

Durham Poem #25 (26, 27, 28…)

the first year i shivered.  who knew there could be snow down here

making broken oak litter

the two next i plumped + grew + crossed under electrical wires to a turtle river.

and coming for fourth year, three thunderstorms have

drenched me here: the drops are so much bigger than

at home

new home, you got warm tapioca pearls,  got aloe blood, got muscadine guts coming from the sky.

Durham Poem #31


Not West Virginia


Durham Poem #4

There is a man waving a gun next to the Bull

We’re to hide inside, as they kill him; watch him die till morning

As a city with its history tattooed on your sidewalks, I wonder how you might caption your present.

Durham Poem #202

This elastic place-when I breath it

I’m learning new shades; if I remember to keep my lungs open

Here-I am becoming more comfortable with complex color patterns and asking for hugs when I need one.


For more information or to sign up for the upcoming October 19th Finding Poems Retreat Lucille Clifton and the Poems of Our Past Lives contact Lex via the Finding Poems Page:


To sign up for Lex’s Nov. 2nd workshop at LaVenson Press Studios  “Blue Airmail Letters: The Impossible Poem Home” sign up here:


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