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The Government Of Nature (Pitt Poetry Series)
by Afaa Michael Weaver

    Publication Date:
    List Price: $15.95 (store prices may vary)
    Format: Paperback
    Classification: Poetry
    Page Count: 80
    ISBN13: 9780822962311
    Imprint: University of Pittsburgh Press
    Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
    Parent Company: University of Pittsburgh

    Book Description:

    This is the second volume of a trilogy (the first was The Plum Flower Dance) in which Weaver analyzes his life, striving to become the ideal poet. In The Government of Nature, Afaa Michael Weaver explores the trauma of his childhood—including sexual abuse—using a "cartography and thematic structure drawn from Chinese spiritualism." Weaver is a practitioner of Daoism, and this collection deals directly with the abuse in the context of Daoist renderings of nature as metaphor for the human body.

    This volume of poetry includes the poem, “Scrapple,” which you may watch Afaa reads in the video below.

    It was cousin Alvin who stole the liquor,
    slipped down Aunt Mabie's steps on the ice,
    fresh from jail for some small crime.
    Alvin liked to make us laugh while he took
    the liquor or other things we did not see,
    in Aunt Mabie's with her floors polished,
    wood she polished on her hands and knees
    until they were truth itself and slippery
    enough to trick you, Aunt Mabie who loved
    her Calvert Extra and loved the bright inside
    of family, the way we come connected in webs,
    born in clusters of promises, dotted
    with spots that mark our place in the karma
    of good times, good times in the long ribbon 
    of being colored I learned when colored
    had just given way to Negro and Negro was
    leaving us because blackness chased it out
    of the house, made it slip on the ice, fall
    down and spill N-e-g-r-o all over the sidewalk
    until we were proud in a new avenue of pride,
    as thick as the scrapple on Saturday morning
    with King syrup, in the good times, between
    the strikes and layoffs at the mills when work
    was too slack, and Pop sat around pretending
    not to worry, not to let the stream of sweat
    he wiped from his head be anything except
    the natural way of things, keeping his habits,
    the paper in his chair by the window, the radio
    with the Orioles, with Earl Weaver the screamer
    and Frank Robinson the gentle black man,
    keeping his habits, Mama keeping hers,
    the WSID gospel in the mornings, dusting
    the encyclopedias she got from the A&P,
    collecting the secrets of neighbors, holding
    marriages together, putting golden silence
    on children who took the wrong turns, broke
    the laws of getting up and getting down
    on your knees. These brittle things we call
    memories rise up, like the aroma of scrapple,
    beauty and ugliness, life's mix
    where the hard and painful things from folk
    who know no boundaries live beside
    the bright eyes that look into each other,
    searching their pupils for paths to prayer.



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