“Neglected Handling” (after Ntozake Shange)

Note: The image above is a piece titled, “Uzuri” by artist Keith Mallett.

The original piece typed below is inspired by the poem “A Laying On of Hands” by Ntozake Shange, the last choreopoem segment of the play, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf.   (See the video below for Shange’s original piece)


She wept with pink stained tears calling

with outcast imagination,

clawing through reality

aching for a memory,

or an alternative being

that included hands:

the laying of rhinestone decorated fingers

upon young forehead gleaming


that smell of coco butter in the morning

and wrap you up with evening cooking

at night


The folded ones.

Hands that grace the cover of passed down Bibles

Sunday white handkecheifs

that fall enamored with magnolia

and trace home with lanvendar

and authority.


She had missed something

something promised,


The laying on of hands:

powdered fingertips kneading dough

all together firm

for discipline and soul moulding.


that would crack open the sun

and spill herself

upon herself

with Truth:

The laying on of hands

to drain the ocean

and bottle the essence

upon steel wombs

and soften progeny.

The laying on of hands

that warm, pry aptly

and beat out the melancholy tune

with required eloquence.


Is the moon no longer

the right hand of the sun?

See the rhythms of silence

that scatter blood

and song


and regret


and anticipated death

upon young lighted face.


Is this justice?

Consequence of foremother negligence

and forefather nonexistence,


She had missed something

something promised:

The laying on of hands

to catch her along the journey

and take captive

the serpent that had boldly tried

to seize

both gold and rainbow.

She is encompassed in colors

and her element is

still intact.


©Afroetry Works 2017

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