A Historical Footnote to Consider Only When All Else Fails

By Nikki Giovanni b. 1943 Nikki Giovanni

(For Barbara Crosby)

While it is true
(though only in a factual sense)
That in the wake of a   
Her-I-can comes a   
Shower
Surely I am not
The gravitating force   
that keeps this house   
full of panthers

Why, LBJ has made it   
quite clear to me   
He doesn’t give a
Good goddamn what I think
(else why would he continue to masterbate in public?)

Rhythm and Blues is not
The downfall of a great civilization
And I expect you to
Realize
That the Temptations   
have no connection with   
The CIA

We must move on to   
the true issues of   
Our time
like the mini-skirt   
Rebellion
And perhaps take a   
Closer look at
Flour power

It is for Us
to lead our people   
out of the
Wein-Bars
   into the streets
into the streets
(for safety reasons only)   
Lord knows we don’t   
Want to lose the
support
of our Jewish friends

So let us work
for our day of Presence   
When Stokely is in
The Black House
And all will be right with   
Our World

Nikki Giovanni, “A Historical Footnote to Consider Only When All Else Fails” from Black Feeling, Black Talk, Black Judgment. Copyright © 1968, 1970 by Nikki Giovanni. Used with the permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Source: The Collected Poetry of Nikki Giovanni (2003)

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Poet Nikki Giovanni b. 1943

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects History & Politics, Cities & Urban Life, Social Commentaries, Popular Culture, Gender & Sexuality, War & Conflict, Class

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Nikki  Giovanni

Biography

Nikki Giovanni is one of the best-known African-American poets who reached prominence during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Her unique and insightful poetry testifies to her own evolving awareness and experiences: from child to young woman, from naive college freshman to seasoned civil rights activist, from daughter to mother. Frequently anthologized, Giovanni’s poetry expresses strong racial pride and respect for family. Her . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT History & Politics, Cities & Urban Life, Social Commentaries, Popular Culture, Gender & Sexuality, War & Conflict, Class

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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