Weary Kingdom
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In this new collection of poems, Weary Kingdom, DéLana R. A. Dameron maps a journey across emotional, spiritual, and geographic lines, from the familiarity of the honeysuckle South to a new world, or a new kingdom—Harlem. Her poems traverse the streets of this Black mecca with a careful eye cast toward the intimacies of the exterior. Still, as the poems move throughout the built environment, they navigate matters of death, love, love loss, and family against the backdrop of a city that has yet to become home. Indeed what looms over this weary kingdom is a longing for the certainties of a lover's touch, the summer's sun, and the comforts of a promised land up North. And as the poet longs, so do readers. Ultimately they grow aware of Utopia's fragility.



Publié par
Date de parution 25 avril 2017
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781611178104
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0800€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Weary Kingdom
Weary Kingdom
D Lana R. A. Dameron
Foreword by Ross Gay

The University of South Carolina Press
2017 University of South Carolina
Published by the University of South Carolina Press
Columbia, South Carolina 29208
24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data can be found at http://catalog.loc.gov/ .
ISBN 978-1-61117-809-8 (paperback)
ISBN 978-1-61117-810-4 (ebook)
The following poems have appeared or forthcoming in online print publications: West 148th Street Canvas, Migration Story, Communion, and Or Maybe, Apocalypse in African American Review; The Perch in Country Dog Review; Shorn and Things My Father Taught Me in Home Is Where Anthology; Oyster Pearl in INCH; Hudson View and Weary Kingdom in Painted Bride Quarterly; Reflection, Broken in Pedestal Magazine; Cartographer in Rattle Magazine ; Amoeba in Reverie Journal; Palinode in Southern Women s Review; First Snow in The The Poetry; Work and Dear-, (Little Gatherer) in Valley Voices; Cerebral and Beetle in Vinyl Poetry; Knowing the Limits of the Earth in Center for Book Arts (Broadside).
For Curtis John, my love and light. My muse and poem. My steadfast kingdom. For my mama, Rena Dameron, whose voice is throughout this book, and whose voice I miss everyday. For my daddy, Thomas W Dameron Jr., and sissy, Tressa Dameron.
For all my living Beltons, Melvins, Damerons, and now Johns. I love you and thank you for your support.
Come, Let us roam the night together Singing.
I love you.
Langston Hughes, Harlem Night Song
Ross Gay
I. Mapmaker
The Perch
First Snow
Waiting for the Sliver of Light
Hudson View
February in New York
Dear- ,
Road Mart on St. Nicholas Avenue
Dear- ,
Io Moth
The Yellow Mug
II. Migration Story
Self-Portrait at 148th Street Broadway
Dear- ,
D Lana I
Douce Campagna
Blue Crab
Things My Father Taught Me
The Letter I Never Sent, 2007
Say, Divine
Dear- ,
At the Station
West 148th Street Canvas
Migration Story
Dear- ,
Weary Kingdom
River Bend
Dear- ,
Ode to a Bed
The A Train Drags Its Way Uptown
III. Pomegranate Sky
How Can It Be Time to Leave Me?
Dear Zemar ,
What Life Were We Expecting
Dear- ,
Fist Blooming Open
Knowing the Limits of the Earth
Dear- ,
Or Maybe, Apocalypse
How I Remember the Things You Said
147th Street, December
Reflection, Broken
Dear- ,
About fifteen years ago I was driving to Jersey City on my way to coach basketball, listening to Charlie Haden s whispery, plaintive version of Wayfaring Stranger, and by the time he had trebled through the chorus, I m going home to see my father, I m going there no more to roam, I was more or less a wreck, tears dragging down my face. Same goes for the Beatles tune Golden Slumbers, - Once there was a way to get back homeward, once there was a way to get back home. And I d wager that I ve listened to Sweet Honey in the Rock s Long Journey Home something like a million times, always moved, and a little bit shaken. At some point a friend of mine, watching me choke up over one of these songs, said, Oh, you have a home thing. Indeed I do.
Which maybe is why I find myself sinking so deep into D Lana R. A. Dameron s Weary Kingdom . It also has a home thing, with its mapping and searching, its longing, as I see it, for a home, a place in which to rest, to find sanctuary. That home, or idea of home, takes many shapes-the South, Harlem, family, memory, a lover, the body, the earth itself. But so often the home seems just beyond reach. Always some more to roam.
In Dameron s first poem, The Perch, the speaker is trying to settle into her Harlem apartment. Let s say is the poem s refrain: Let s say a studio . Let s say: everything is halffinished, half-started . Let s say in this room of incomplete things . This place, this home, is actually speculative-something spoken by the poem into fragile being. Fragility borne out by the final image: a pile of abandoned shoes at the door. Shoes of the departed? Shoes for when we have to run? Shoes for when what we ve construed as home-what we ve made into home-has abandoned us?
In another poem, Dameron has written,
-I have a habit
of dreaming for what I ve once held, now gone-
It s no wonder that the first section of Weary Kingdom is called Mapmaker, as maps attempt to abstract and contain (often in a collection of them, a book) the actual and uncontainable world before us. It s no wonder that the speaker in these poems regularly mentions street names and train lines, neighborhoods and regions, not to mention the flora of specific places. And it s no wonder that the most common mode of the poems in this book is the epistolary, dramatizing the separation of the speaker from those who, presumably, truly know her, from those who, we might conclude, constitute a kind of home. Dear-, they re titled. There s something about that dash, that very rich absence, that breaks my heart. Little tightropes between the speaker and . Maybe it s because I know poems are letters to oneself as much as to any you. Or in addition to you. Oneself on the other end of that line, and you, reaching back into the poem toward the speaker, teetering, precarious, dear. Oneself reaching toward oneself, and toward you, at once. You see where I m going.
Weary Kingdom makes me ask in ways I have not before: might home be the persistent and rigorous act of reaching kindly toward oneself? One s many selves, of which you are one? And might that reaching be a rigorous act of the imagination, which is, let us remember, kin to compassion? Kin to tenderness? Reaching toward all selves.
The poet Aracelis Girmay has put it like this: so to tenderness I add my action. And Dameron: so tenderness I enter . And the kingdom is weary, maybe, because tenderness is bigger. It has no boundaries. We re already, you and me, inside. We re already, you and me, home.
The Perch
Let s say a studio. A lone wide room where all living is done.
For example: the dining table by the fireplace
with four chairs; the zipped-up body of the guitar case
by the radiator; three uncurtained windows
opening their mouths to a grey Harlem sky.
Let s observe the boxes under the dining table-
how they spill across the floor their unshelved books.
Observe the unflowered vases; the bed unmade-one side
folded back, the other untouched. I know it.
Let s say: everything is half finished, half started.
Let s say a bathroom with a skylight-
clear tarp, tape covering the broken pane. The dishes
in the kitchen sink. Let s say sunlight never reaches
the oven or dish rack that makes you sad-
that your one cantaloupe will never ripen how you like it,
you hate how you flip the switch the cupboard
is flooded with 60 watts, your apples must dream of orchards.
Pollen collected on the coffee table, let s say it would be nice
if someone should join you: give reason to clear the air, to bend
your back over the broom. Let s say in this room
of incomplete things, your journal isn t open
to an empty, lined page. Let s keep it written in,
brimming with verses or prayers.
This is home. Not magnolia dogwood
dandelion, but hardwood floors butter-colored walls,
a pile of abandoned shoes by the door.

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