Instances of Blue
This blue is deliberate, a move from the red, into something else. To night and what it means. To the unruffled and to ruffling. Ink and keys. To speed. Expression is the antidote to repression. So be it. As it is written. So it is done. So it is written. So it is done. Neither over. Nor under. Toward the temperate. Blue more somber. A constellation’s backdrop. A darkness against light. Black’s sister. Spare. The one between navy and aquamarine, with green. And aquamarine: A bath, a sea. A sky: its quality of never-ending forevering, and everything. A robin’s egg. Danger blues. The maps of the world. The new maps. Blood before it pours out of the body. The blues, of course, of course. Lady sings. Women singing. Through and away the blues. My grandmother’s belts worn beneath her peacock dress. Her devotion to pale Mary, mother of all mothers, and to the inky Erzulie, also Mary and more. Underneath it all. To the beauty of letters on blue paper. And when there is no paper, to that beauty too.
Still Life in Green and Violet
in response to Georgia O’Keefe
The black lily with its black heart juts out of the green lettuce of the world, insisting on itself, asking for your eyes. Yet the flower keeps its secret: a half-shielded bullet, a singular heart.
Oh curtain of green billows, oh vulval patterns, oh frippery of white. Black lily: You are not black at all, but a violet saturation. A sweet slash of black holds you up on the right, and on the left
red, red—but not so red as the inner folds. Erotica. This is erotica: Jack in the Pulpit as oyster, Jack in the Pulpit as black pearl. The inner heart of the body, and less the body whole, seen from
outside. The heart speaks its own language and is not the heart at all. Above you, lily, shines a light. Above it all, a far-off light. Like a god-light.
An unfolding speaks of revelation. Which is another word for admission; disclosure and permission. Primordial dark matter. Life rendered in violet. All
this is a mask. What I want to talk about is loneliness, but that would reveal too much, more than the poem could hold. Who would take it, place it in a frame and make it glow?
Danielle Legros Georges is serving as the poet laureate of the city of Boston. She is a professor at Lesley University. Her work has appeared recently in World Literature Today, Haiti Noir 2: The Classics (ed. Edwidge Danticat), Transition, SpoKe, The Women’s Review of Books—and is forthcoming in the Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography (eds. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Franklin W. Knight); Others Will Enter the Gates: Immigrant Poets on Poetry, Influences and Writing in America (ed. Abayomi Animashaun); and Anywhere But Here: Black Intellectuals in the Atlantic World and Beyond (eds. Kendahl Radcliffe and Jennifer Scot).