Poem for Audre Lorde

February 18, 2014

By asha bandele

Author’s note: Audre Lorde was my teacher and my mentor. This poem, written two years after her transition into the Spirit world, is an edited version of a piece that initially appeared in my first book, Absence in the Palms of My Hands, which was dedicated to Audre.


Audre Lorde copyright Dagmar Schultz

Audre Lorde
copyright Dagmar Schultz


Sometimes I still see you

BlackUnicorn riding the edge of the wind

Head tilted upward

And eyes speaking deliberate truth

You were the last one who should have left us



Your angry children

Disguising our silence

With gangsta lyrics

That shred our souls into a million pieces of broken history

That chokes in the throats of our mothers

The ones who left us a legacy of honor we do not serve

With our current retrograde labor

Leaving all us us


Blind, begging

From the hungriest place in our spirits for

Real poetry!

Real music!

Real art!

Real culture!

Real, real us Blackpeople whose lives are testimonials


We’re more than trigger fingers on Israeli made submachine guns!

We’re more than I beat my bitch with a bat!

We’re even more than fly-ass synthesized sounds and drum machines!


We’re live music

Big oversize bass muthafuckas

We dimensional    we deep

We complicated Coltrane configurations only God understands


We got things to say

Relevant points to make

Urgent issues to raise



Come back

In whatever form you choose

And remind us of us in us

Remind us of the Last Poets in us

Remind of the Sonia Sanchez the Gwendolyn Brooks the Zora Neale Hurston Lorraine Hansberry Margaret Walker Jayne Cortez Lucille Clifton

In us


Remind us of the James Baldwin the Paul Laurence Dunbar the Langston Hughes The Claude NcKay the Amiri Baraka the Haki Maduhubuti the Larry Neal

In Us


And the Letta Nealys the Pamela Sneed the Tony Medinas the jessica Care moore

In us

The Voodoo Rain

In us

The Boys on the Boulevard

In us



Remind us of the homegirl in us

Remind us of the steel drum the conga the 3-chord Mississippi sound in us


That deep feeling Muddy Water  way down low in Big Mama Thornton throaty blues In us

The breaking free no more ball and chain

In us

The come on and rock me all night long

In us

Remind us of the freedom codes in slave songs

In us

Remind us of the movement

In us

The toi toi, the capoeira, the lindy, the last dance, the float-like-a-butterfly-sting-like -a-bee, 200-meter-dash, long distance run, Black star express

Reach out and touch somebody’s hand

In us

And the science in us

The social progression, the sincerity in us which is

Remind us of the

You in Us


Remind us of the Universe

In us

The Universe is in us

The Universe




asha bandele

asha bandele

asha bandele is a poet, journalist, and an award-winning memoirist and novelist.  An advocate for children and against mass criminalization, asha lives in Brooklyn with her incredible daughter, Nisa, and is working on her sixth book, a novel.





Tags: , , ,

3 Responses to Poem for Audre Lorde

  1. zillah eisenstein on February 18, 2014 at 9:57 am

    audre would love this…i love this….thank you.

  2. 林怡君 on February 18, 2014 at 10:51 am

    What song, what poetry! Thank you for this invocation, this reminder, this call, this celebration of Audre!

  3. […] Poem for Audre Lorde By asha bandele […]

Follow The Feminist Wire

Arts & Culture

  • Excerpts from In the Away Time by Kristen Nelson kristen

    . January You called me She instead of You. “Where is she going now?” is the first question you ever asked me. You were standing on a porch next to the last She who you broke. I remember looking up at you over my shoulder and smiling. I was going skinny-dipping. [...]

  • Poems for Ferguson: Vanessa Huang and Aya de Leon Michael-Brown-Ferguson-Missouri-Shooting-Petition-Racism-america_2014-08-15_17-44-22

    Two poets consider Michael Brown, Ferguson, MO, and the crucial ways in which Black Life Matters.     How Do I Love Thee? A love poem from the Ferguson, MO police dept to Black residents: An informal emulation of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnet 43 by Aya de Leon . How [...]

  • “Paws” by Tracy Burkholder tracy

    Paws   In sixth grade, I started to envy certain girls’ hands. Not always manicured, but always neat. Fingers thin and smooth. These hands gently freed sheets of paper from their metal spirals and lifted loops of hair to more beautiful perches. Lunch trays floated inside their gentle grip while [...]