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Etheridge Knight reads Feeling Fucked Up

 

Etheridge Knight wrote some great poems, up there with the best of them. Like a contemporary of his, Gregory Corso, he was also a heroin addict for a lot of his life, burning his bridges as he went along, thievish like François Villon, a junkie perhaps, yet in his poems there was truth when he spoke.

Etheridge Knight mastered an African American oral tradition called the Toast. The improvisations of Rap today are a continuation of that tradition, and like the Blues with its roots in the work song, spiritual, and English ballad, there is irony in the story telling too. In “Feeling Fucked Up,” Knight laments that he needs his woman back so that he can sing again, but the fact is because she had gone he wrote this excellent poem.

 

 

Feeling Fucked Up

Lord she’s gone done left me done packed / up and split
and I with no way to make her
come back and everywhere the world is bare
bright bone white crystal sand glistens
dope death dead dying and jiving drove
her away made her take her laughter and her smiles
and her softness and her midnight sighs—

Fuck Coltrane and music and clouds drifting in the sky
fuck the sea and trees and the sky and birds
and alligators and all the animals that roam the earth
fuck marx and mao fuck fidel and nkrumah and
democracy and communism fuck smack and pot
and red ripe tomatoes fuck joseph fuck mary fuck
god jesus and all the disciples fuck fanon nixon
and malcolm fuck the revolution fuck freedom fuck
the whole muthafucking thing
all i want now is my woman back
so my soul can sing

One Comment

  1. Marieta Maglas
    Posted 21 Feb ’21 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Grief is a universal experience. He started to sing after getting a lot of anger inside~ wonderful poem, dear friend.

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