The Laws of Motion by Nikki Giovanni

The laws of science teach us a pound of gold weighs as
much as a pound of flour though if dropped from any
undetermined height in their natural state one would
reach bottom and one would fly away
Laws of motion tell us an inert object is more difficult to
propel than an object heading in the wrong direction is to
turn around. Motion being energy—inertia—apathy.
Apathy equals hostility. Hostility—violence. Violence
being energy is its own virtue. Laws of motion teach us
Black people are no less confused because of our
Blackness than we are diffused because of our
powerlessness. Man we are told is the only animal who
smiles with his lips. The eyes however are the mirror of
the soul
The problem with love is not what we feel but what we
wish we felt when we began to feel we should feel
something. Just as publicity is not production: seduction
is not seductive
If I could make a wish I’d wish for all the knowledge of all
the world. Black may be beautiful Professor Micheau
says but knowledge is power. Any desirable object is
bought and sold—any neglected object declines in value.
It is against man’s nature to be in either category
If white defines Black and good defines evil then men
define women or women scientifically speaking describe
men. If sweet is the opposite of sour and heat the
absence of cold then love is the contradiction of pain and
beauty is in the eye of the beheld
Sometimes I want to touch you and be touched in
return. But you think I’m grabbing and I think you’re
shirking and Mama always said to look out for men like
So I go to the streets with my lips painted red and my
eyes carefully shielded to seduce the world my reluctant
And you go to your men slapping fives feeling good
posing as a man because you know as long as you sit
very very still the laws of motion will be in effect

A Journey Nikki Giovanni

It’s a journey…that I propose…I am not the guide…nor
technical assistant…I will be your fellow passenger…

Though the rail has been ridden…winter clouds cover…
autumn’s exuberant quilt…we must provide our own guide-

I have heard…from previous visitors…the road washes out
sometimes…and passengers are compelled…to continue
groping…or turn back…I am not afraid…

I am not afraid…of rough spots…or lonely times…I don’t
fear…the success of this endeavor…I am Ra…in a space…
not to be discovered…but invented…

I promise you nothing…I accept your promise…of the same
we are simply riding …a wave…that may carry…or crash…

It’s a journey…and I want…to go…

The Right Way by Nikki Giovanni

My grandmother’s grits
Are so much better than mine

Mine tend to be lumpy
And a bit disorientated
Though that is probably
My fault

I always want
To put 1 cup grits
Into 4 cups cold
Water with 1 teaspoon
And start them all together

Grandmother did it
The Right Way

She started with cold water
That she brought
To a boil

Shifted the grits slowly
Into the bubbles
Then added her salt

She also hummed
While she stirred
With her wooden spoon

I wonder if I
Should learn
To sing

A Journey by Nikki Giovanni

It’s a journey . . . that I propose . . . I am not the guide . . . nor technical assistant . . . I will be your fellow passenger . . .
Though the rail has been ridden . . . winter clouds cover . . . autumn’s exuberant quilt . . . we must provide our own guide-posts . . .
I have heard . . . from previous visitors . . . the road washes out sometimes . . . and passengers are compelled . . . to continue groping . . . or turn back . . . I am not afraid . . .
I am not afraid . . . of rough spots . . . or lonely times . . . I don’t fear . . . the success of this endeavor . . . I am Ra . . . in a space . . . not to be discovered . . . but invented . . .
I promise you nothing . . . I accept your promise . . . of the same we are simply riding . . . a wave . . . that may carry . . . or crash . . .
It’s a journey . . . and I want . . . to go . . .

Balances by Nikki Giovanni

In life
one is always
like we juggle our mothers
against our fathers
or one teacher
against another
(only to balance our grade average)
3 grains of salt
to one ounce truth
our sweet black essence
or the funky honkies down the street
and lately i’ve begun wondering
if you’re trying to tell me something
we used to talk all night
and do things alone together
and i’ve begun
(as a reaction to a feeling)
to balance
the pleasure of loneliness
against the pain
of loving you