Black History Month Author Highlights: Nina’s Fire: Frantic’s Go-Go

For we’re creatures of the wind and 

wild is the wind

 – Nina Simone


Storm’s thunder flush Nina’s heart.

Tempest’s path of chaotic currents,

Travel time, in one’s own mind 

Voudou zombie’s taunt, “it’s real, it’s real.”

Punishments: metronome’s off     beats

Barbed wired blues, blacks’ vibrations

Burst against freedom’s white     spaces.



No joke – its mind fed mannerisms, clenches

Down on ya thoughts     oppressive airways

Unhinges manic movements     deadly tango

Rhythm, nomadic & grounded & no madness

Blue’s bi-moods: Damballa’s dance & stalk


Knows everybody 

Wrestles for space:  facets of Nina’s soul

Partner with some lone, one, no     one

Each one, everyone’s lynched      breath.

Detonates, showers, hammers     fiction.

Can’t you see it 

Can’t you see it 

Reading bones     thrash milky’s brilliant ways

Crossroads between Nina’s honest debates &

Last calls. Her woman-led fortified songs, hoards

day’s after tomorrow & tomorrow’s day’s after.

I don’t belong here

I don’t belong here

Heaps yesterday’s wing-less fleas 

Stuck to summer’s window screens

Screams     look out, out there, seekers

Hiders, come in, come on in, olly, olly

oxen free:  Nina’s plead – Goddam



Bonita Lee Penn is the author of the chapbook Every Morning A Foot Is Looking for My Neck, (Central Square Press). Her work appears in Massachusetts Review, Hot Metal Bridge Journal, JOINT. Literary Magazine, and Women Studies Quarterly. Bonita is a community writing workshop facilitator, literary curator, and Managing Editor of Pittsburgh-based Soul Pitt Quarterly Magazine.

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