Tuesday, April 16, 2024

From Nikki Giovanni’s third volume of poems “Re: Creation,” published by Broadside Press in 1970.

Broadside Press was one of the biggest Black publishing companies in the late 1960s and early 1970s. A Major publisher of the poetry of BAM (Black Arts Movement).

No Reservations 

(for Art Jones)

there are no reservations

for the revolution

no polite little clerk

to send notice

to your room

saying you are WANTED

on the battlefield

there are no banners

to wave you forward

no blaring trumpets

not even a blues note

moaning wailing lone blue note

to the yoruba drums saying

strike now shoot

strike now fire

strike now run

there will be no grand


and a lot thrown around

your neck

people won’t look up and say

“why he used to live next to me

isn’t it nice

it’s his turn now”

there will be no recruitment


where you can give

the most convenient hours

“monday wednesday i play ball

friday night i play cards

any other time i’m free”

there will be no reserve

of energy

no slacking off till next time

“let’s see—i can come back

next week

better not wear myself out

this time”

there will be reservations


if we fail

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