On First Reading the Introduction To Natural Birth by Toi Derricotte

 

by Lenard D. Moore

 

I sat there like an owl

on that narrow Cranbrook bed,

 

which reminded me

of my army bunk,

 

my other life

with the calling cadence

 

for sacred survival.

I was in that singing skin

 

twenty-two years

in front of now.

 

A man marching in/out

of his own life like a ghost,

 

I was on duty’s time

searching for a woman

 

to join her grace,

her natural self.

 

I wanted to pluck loneliness

from someone’s heart.

 

I practiced living

when hearing her speak

 

in the chambers

of my poems:

 

all over the barracks

the season of birthing

 

amidst the general orders

and the long days

 

through Fort Jackson

to Fort Eustis

 

to Stuttgart

and back home

 

where it came

to the creation,

 

always exploring

with my future wife:

 

falling, rising and falling

into the waterfall.

 

It was too sweet to stop,

to catch our breath.

 

Our concerto reached grace,

our natural selves.

 

We wore love like ribbons,

and we still do.

 

We are a whole continent,

beyond military borders.

 

I must tell this story

to our daughter

 

who is nearing nineteen,

the same age my wife gave birth:

 

and from the fort,

it was a natural one.

 

NOTE:  “On First Reading The Introduction To Natural Birth By Toi Derricotte” has previously appeared in Cave Canem 2000 Anthology: V. Cave Canem Workshop. Baltimore: Black Classics Press, 2001.

 

COMMENTS

 

Lenard D. Moore is the Founder and Executive Director of Carolina African American Writers’ Collective and Co-founder of Washington Street Writers Group.  He is also the President of the Haiku Society of America and Executive Chairman of the North Carolina Haiku Society.  His poems, essays and reviews have appeared in over 350 publications and in over forty anthologies.  His poetry has been translated into several languages.  He is the author of THE OPEN EYE (NC Haiku Society Press, 1985), FOREVER HOME (St. Andrews College Press, 1992), DESERT STORM: A BRIEF HISTORY (Los Hombres Press, 1993), and A TEMPLE LOOMING (WordTech Editions, 2008).  Moore has taught workshops, served on literary panels, and given hundreds of readings at schools, festivals, colleges and universities. He has taught at NC State University (Raleigh), NC A&T State University (Greensboro), Shaw University, and Enloe High School. Former Writer-in-Residence for United Arts Council of Raleigh & Wake County, he currently is an Assistant Professor of English at Mount Olive College, where he directs the MOC Literary Festival and advises The Trojan Voices, the MOC literary journal.

 

An avid reader and listener of music, he writes about family, jazz, identity, and global issues. He is currently working on two poetry collections, a novel, short stories, a play, and literary criticism. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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