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By June Jordan

I never thought I’d keep a record of my pain
or happiness
like candles lighting the entire soft lace
of the air
around the full length of your hair/a shower
organized by God
in brown and auburn
undulations luminous like particles
of flame
 
But now I do
retrieve an afternoon of apricots
and water interspersed with cigarettes
and sand and rocks
we walked across:
                        How easily you held
my hand
beside the low tide
of the world
 
Now I do
relive an evening of retreat
a bridge I left behind
where all the solid heat
of lust and tender trembling
lay as cruel and as kind
as passion spins its infinite
tergiversations in between the bitter
and the sweet
 
Alone and longing for you
now I do


June Jordan, “Poem for Haruko” from Directed by Desire. Copyright © 2005 by June Jordan. Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press

Source: Directed by Desire (Copper Canyon Press, 2005)

  • Living
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Poet Bio

June Jordan
Born to Jamaican immigrants in Harlem, New York, June Jordan later attended Barnard College and the University of Chicago. Her experiences as the only black student at a prep school and her taboo marriage to a white man fueled the sense of discrimination in her activist writing—throughout her work, she was tireless in her commitment to civil rights and political liberty. Jordan also had a distinguished academic career, teaching at Sarah Lawrence College, Yale University, and the University of California at Berkeley. In her poem “In Memoriam: Martin Luther King, Jr.” she describes problems in American culture using a rhythmically aggressive yet free-flowing verse form. See More By This Poet

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