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childhood remembrances are always a drag 
if you’re Black
you always remember things like living in Woodlawn 
with no inside toilet
and if you become famous or something
they never talk about how happy you were to have 
your mother
all to yourself and
how good the water felt when you got your bath 
from one of those
big tubs that folk in chicago barbecue in 
and somehow when you talk about home 
it never gets across how much you
understood their feelings
as the whole family attended meetings about Hollydale
and even though you remember
your biographers never understand
your father’s pain as he sells his stock 
and another dream goes
And though you’re poor it isn’t poverty that
concerns you
and though they fought a lot
it isn’t your father’s drinking that makes any difference 
but only that everybody is together and you
and your sister have happy birthdays and very good 
and I really hope no white person ever has cause 
to write about me
because they never understand
Black love is Black wealth and they’ll
probably talk about my hard childhood
and never understand that
all the while I was quite happy

© Nikki Giovanni