sedens (sedens) wrote,

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Drive-by poem sighting!

One of the reading assignments for my Later British Literature students this week:

The Fat Black Woman Goes Shopping

Shopping in London winter
is a real drag for the fat black woman
going from store to store
in search of accommodating clothes
and de weather so cold
Look at the frozen thin mannequins
fixing her with grin
and de pretty face salesgals
exchanging slimming glances
thinking she don’t notice
Lord is aggravating
Nothing soft and bright and billowing
to flow like breezy sunlight
when she walking
The fat black woman curses in Swahili/Yoruba
and nation language under her breathing
all this journeying and journeying
The fat black woman could only conclude
that when it come to fashion
the choice is lean
Nothing much beyond size 14

Grace Nichols

I do love this one so much -- as a poem (the vowel sounds are amazing -- the tight, fixed-grin "iiiiiiiiih" sounds of the salesgals, contrasting with the fat black woman's rich, round vowels) and also because, as a fat white woman, I do feel some of the fat black woman's shopping pain.  I always want to sit down with her for a cup of tea and tell her about the awesome plus-size boutique in Covent Garden.
Tags: poetry, shopping
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