Nikki Giovanni

Friday, February 21st, 2014

During Black history month I decided to take a moment to spotlight my good friend and former client, Nikki Giovanni. I used to be Nikki’s book publicist back in the day and promoted three of her titles that went on to achieve major media attention worldwide.

Nikki is not only my friend she is my sorority sister and when I was on Delta’s National Commission on Arts and Letters I made sure Nikki was featured in our programs during the national convention in Chicago. She featured my short story “Pop Pop” in her book for young adults titled, GRANDFATHERS.


Recently, to my surprise, Nikki came to Albuquerque to publicize her new book CHASING UTOPIA. It was a pleasure seeing her again after so many years, and that’s when I realized; where ever I move, no matter which city, Nikki seems to always visit and we hook up to eat and/or chat about any and everything. But Albuquerque surprised both of us. This city is not normally on the schedule. I told her Albuquerque was selected on her tour for the first time because I’m here now. The Universe wants us to stay in touch.

When Nikki’s poems first emerged from the Black Rights Movement in the late 1960s, she immediately took a place among the most celebrated and controversial poets of the era. Nikki has received several awards including being named Woman of the Year by Mademoiselle, Ladies’ Home Journal and Essence magazines.

I want to share my favorite poem by Nikki when I was in college:


I always like housecleaning even as a child I dug straightening the cabinets putting new paper on the shelves washing the refrigerator inside out and unfortunately this habit has carried over and I find I must remove you from my life

My favorite poem by Nikki when I became a grooownn woman:


if you’ve got the key then i’ve got the door let’s do what we did when we did it before

if you’ve got the time i’ve got the way let’s do what we did when we did it all day

you get the glass i’ve got the wine we’ll do what we did when we did it overtime

if you’ve got the dough then i’ve got the heat we can use my oven til it’s warm and sweet

i know i’m bold coming on like this but the good things in life are too good to be missed

now time is money and money is sweet if you’re busy bay we can do it on our feet

we can do it on the floor we can do it on the stair we can do it on the couch we can do it in the air

we can do it in the grass and in case we get an inch i can scratch it with my left hand cause i’m really quite a witch

if we do it once a month we can do it in time if we do it once a week we can do it in rhyme if we do it every day we can do it everyway we can do it like we did it when we did it that day!    

I think this poem is everyone’s favorite:


I was born in the congo

I walked to the fertile crescent and built the sphinx

I designed a pyramid so tough that a star that only glows every one hundred years falls into the center giving divine perfect light

I am bad

I sat on the throne drinking nectar with allah

I got hot and sent an ice age to europe to cool my thirst

My oldest daughter is nefertiti the tears from my birth pains created the nile

I am a beautiful woman

I gazed on the forest and burned out the sahara desert with a packet of goat’s meat and a change of clothes

I crossed it in two hours

I am a gazelle so swift so swift you can’t catch me

For a birthday present when he was three I gave my son hannibal an elephant He gave me rome for mother’s day

My strength flows ever on

My son noah built new/ark and I stood proudly at the helm as we sailed on a soft summer day

I turned myself into myself and was jesus

men intone my loving name All praises All praises I am the one who would save

I sowed diamonds in my back yard My bowels deliver uranium

the filings from my fingernails are semi-precious jewels

On a trip north I caught a cold and blew My nose giving oil to the arab world

I am so hip even my errors are correct

I sailed west to reach east and had to round off the earth as I went

The hair from my head thinned and gold was laid across three continents

I am so perfect so divine so ethereal so surreal

I cannot be comprehended except by my permission

I mean…I…can fly

like a bird in the sky…

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2 Responses to “Nikki Giovanni”

  1. Tonya says:
    February 21st, 2014 at 9:53 AM

    I had such a good time meeting Nikki for the first time when I visited you in Albuquerque. She was and is an inspiration.

  2. Permed to Natural says:
    February 21st, 2014 at 3:53 PM

    Hey Tonya, I was thinking about you when I wrote this post.

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