Nikki Giovanni





Walking Down Park

walking down park 
amsterdam
or columbus do you ever stop 
to think what it looked like 
before it was an avenue
did you ever stop to think 
what you walked
before you rode
subways to the stock 
exchange (we can't be on
the stock exchange
we are the stock
exchanged)

did you ever maybe wonder 
what grass was like before 
they rolled it
into a ball and called
it central park
where syphilitic dogs
and their two-legged tubercular 
masters fertilize
the corners and side-walks
ever want to know what would happen 
if your life could be fertilized
by a love thought
from a loved one
who loves you

ever look south
on a clear day and not see
time's squares but see
tall Birch trees with sycamores 
touching hands
and see gazelles running playfully 
after the lions
ever hear the antelope bark
from the third floor apartment

ever, did you ever, sit down
and wonder about what freedom's freedom 
would bring
it's so easy to be free
you start by loving yourself
then those who look like you
all else will come
naturally

ever wonder why
so much asphalt was laid
in so little space
probably so we would forget 
the Iroquois, Algonquin
and Mohicans who could caress 
the earth

ever think what Harlem would be
like if our herbs and roots and elephant ears
grew sending
a cacophony of sound to us
the parrot parroting black is beautiful black is beautiful 
owls sending out whooooo's making love ...
and me and you just sitting in the sun trying
to find a way to get a banana tree from one of the monkeys 
koala bears in the trees laughing at our listlessness

ever think its possible 
for us to be
happy