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poetry When Mama Sang the Blues

"Whoever said a black woman/was always liberated/didn’t walk in my Mama’s heels," says southern California poet Angela Franklin, a poet active in the Social Justice movement.

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When Mama Sang the Blues

By Angela M. Franklin

I hated the blues because
Daddy hated them more.
He came home from work.
The 33’s spinning under diamond tips.
Mama nursing a cold one instead
of shoving cornbread into a hot oven
or sautéing onions for smothered steak.
Mama’s blues came by invitation
liberation flowed through
gold-capped teeth.
Blues stole my mama
made her backtalk her angry
man. Whoever said a black woman
was always liberated
didn’t walk in my Mama’s heels.
Her blues erupted like crude oil
in the middle of a pristine lake without notice.
Mama nursed a black eye after salty talk
crushed Schlitz cans
stacked on our dining table instead of dinner.

Angela M. Franklin is a poet, essayist and visual artist. She is a 2016 Fellow for the Community Literature Initiative, a 2015 Fellow for the Nora Zeale Hurston/Richard Wright Summer Writers Workshop and a 2015 Fellow for the Voices of Our Nation Art, of Southern California. World Stage Press will publish Franklin’s first book of poetry Poems Beneath My Keloids in 2018. Her poems and essays are forthcoming in Leimert Park Redux, and Unmasked, Women Write about Sex and Intimacy after 50. She has traveled to African countries to capture stories of women suffering from the ravages of civil war. As a fervent supporter of impoverished women and children, she fights to lift them out of poverty, through clean water and educational projects. Locally, she is a regular participant of the Poetry of Social Justice Workshop, where she joins diverse poets to write and discuss social justice issues.