The President-Elect has chosen Elizabeth Alexander to read her poetry on Inauguration Day, 2009. And they say Obama doesn’t have a sense of humour.
From The Venus Hottentot (1825):
will float inside a labeled
pickling jar in the Musee
de l’Homme on a shelf
above Broca’s brain:
“The Venus Hottentot.”
Elegant facts await me.
Small things in this world are mine.
Sometimes I think about Great-Uncle Paul who left Tuskeegee,
Alabama to become a forester in Oregon and in so doing
became fundamentally white for the rest of his life, except
when he traveled without his white wife to visit his siblings –
now in New York, now in Harlem, USA – just as pale-skinned,
as straight-haired, as blue-eyed as Paul, and black. Paul never told anyone
he was white, he just didn’t say that he was black, and who could imagine,
an Oregon forester in 1930 as anything other than white?