Etheridge Knight, Valentine

February 14, 2013   •   By John Murillo

ETHERIDGE KNIGHT'S POEM “Feeling Fucked Up” is just about the greatest love poem ever written. In language as honest and bone deep as any bluesman’s, Knight gets it just right: What it’s like to be left behind. "Lord, she done gone / packed up and split [...]” No platitudes or pretentions. Just what it is. And what it is, is the pain that comes from loving somebody so bad it breaks you. It’s like Ethelbert Miller once wrote in one of his poems: “There’s nothing philosophical about your woman leaving.”


— John Murillo


 


Etheridge Knight, “Feeling Fucked Up”


 


Lord she’s gone done left me done packed / up and split   


and I with no way to make her


come back and everywhere the world is bare


bright bone white    crystal sand glistens


dope death dead dying and jiving drove


her away made her take her laughter and her smiles   


and her softness and her midnight sighs—


 


Fuck Coltrane and music and clouds drifting in the sky   


fuck the sea and trees and the sky and birds


and alligators and all the animals that roam the earth   


fuck marx and mao fuck fidel and nkrumah and   


democracy and communism fuck smack and pot   


and red ripe tomatoes fuck joseph fuck mary fuck   


god jesus and all the disciples fuck fanon nixon   


and malcolm fuck the revolution fuck freedom fuck   


the whole muthafucking thing


all i want now is my woman back


so my soul can sing


[more Valentine's Day poems]