This poet, this excavator of languages working words, foreign everyday is Black knowledges, understated habits with long lines that travel into the lives of the back and front rooms of families, friends, strangers, loved ones and sometimes neighbours who recognise themselves in poems and let out the secret “we have a poet living among us.”
This poet, forever searching for listening ears, reading eyes with open heads and hearts receptive to the printing of her insides upon us attempting to draft us idiot proof. Always the teacher, the word composer, creator of weaponised women, listening and aware men both responses to the dangers free artists convey.
This poet, protector of otherness, children and stone people. Your smile was optimism, questioning and can do. I never visualised you having nightmares you wrote them away exhibiting a part of your magic was in saving us. It is in your poetry that we and you will live.
For Naomi Long Madgett (1923-2020)
poet, teacher, professor, activist, editor, publisher, dear sister and family woman
Haki R. Madhubuti