The Government Of Nature (Pitt Poetry Series)
by Afaa Michael Weaver
Publication Date: Feb 01, 2013
List Price: $15.95
Format: Paperback, 80 pages
Imprint: University of Pittsburgh Press
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
Parent Company: University of Pittsburgh
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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 tookthe liquor or other things we did not see,in Aunt Mabie’s with her floors polished,wood she polished on her hands and kneesuntil they were truth itself and slipperyenough to trick you, Aunt Mabie who lovedher Calvert Extra and loved the bright insideof family, the way we come connected in webs,born in clusters of promises, dottedwith spots that mark our place in the karmaof good times, good times in the long ribbonof being colored I learned when coloredhad just given way to Negro and Negro wasleaving us because blackness chased it outof the house, made it slip on the ice, falldown and spill N-e-g-r-o all over the sidewalkuntil we were proud in a new avenue of pride,as thick as the scrapple on Saturday morningwith King syrup, in the good times, betweenthe strikes and layoffs at the mills when workwas too slack, and Pop sat around pretendingnot to worry, not to let the stream of sweathe wiped from his head be anything exceptthe natural way of things, keeping his habits,the paper in his chair by the window, the radiowith the Orioles, with Earl Weaver the screamerand Frank Robinson the gentle black man,keeping his habits, Mama keeping hers,the WSID gospel in the mornings, dustingthe encyclopedias she got from the A&P,collecting the secrets of neighbors, holdingmarriages together, putting golden silenceon children who took the wrong turns, brokethe laws of getting up and getting downon your knees. These brittle things we callmemories rise up, like the aroma of scrapple,beauty and ugliness, life’s mixwhere the hard and painful things from folkwho know no boundaries live besidethe bright eyes that look into each other,searching their pupils for paths to prayer.