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By Nikki Giovanni

Mommy always wanted
To be famous

She would have us (my sister and me)
In all the talent shows
But I could not carry the harmony
Then she had me
Though The Isley Brothers
Always won
Ronald’s sweet voice and Vernon
Doing “the Itch”
Sort of like Michael Jackson
Doing “the Moon Walk”
So I and all others

We sang
In harmony
On our front deck
“September in the Rain”
And our neighbors loved it
Especially Mrs. Morris who
Covered lightly with a quilt
Clapped after each song

Then while waiting
For the Number 16 Bus
She would say:
“This Is June/Hold your tune”
And we had to sing
“My Blue Heaven”

“But Mommy … my sister would say … 
No one is out here”

Maybe someone will come by
And hear us

So we sang
Until the bus arrived

She and my sister sat

I sat on the other side

Source: Poetry (April 2023)

  • Arts & Sciences
  • Relationships

Poet Bio

Nikki Giovanni
Nikki Giovanni was born in Knoxville, Tennessee and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. She received her B.A. at Fisk University, and completed postgraduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work and Columbia University School of Fine Arts. She has been a member of the faculty at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, since 1987. She was a major force in the community following the shootings there in 2007. In addition to her many collections of poetry, she is an accomplished spoken word artist and was nominated for a Grammy in 2004. Giovanni is also a lung cancer survivor. See More By This Poet

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