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Manifesto (I Am Not Tragically Coloured)

Manifesto (I Am Not Tragically Coloured)

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This Long Poem is a tribute to one of the most prolific Artistes of the Harlem Renaissance: Zora Neale Hurston. Ms. Hurston is considered one of the pre-eminent writers of twentieth-century Black Literature. It is a pleasure to present to you I Am Not Tragically Coloured.

I Am Not Tragically Coloured
(about zora)


So the Moon shined in April, a half quarter gleam
at your backside Zora. He was as dust tracks on your road,
caressing you with His natural endowment
for falsetto grace-hope.


You knew that Ol’ Man Moon – He kept you lit
when you were scoring the most beautiful Neale-
Hurston masterpieces.
Well that Ol’ Man Moon steady hides behind, beyond thee
like an unseen strata of cumulous clouds.
He’s demure with songs of lust, his wind still yearning
your silver-linings and your unkempt starry nights.


Like tornadoes piquing in the eye of ecstasy:
He wants you, your barefaced façade like an eclipse
of God… You wrote to him, “Tell my horse.”


I laughed that frosted May. Giggled raucously.
The Moon was full with springtime surprise, but no stars
in the garden that night? Where lay those subtle orbs of fire?,
their blatant sighs in an atmosphere filled with mocking.


Must’ve slyly spied swiss upon my mahogany visage,
an unwinked eye? Hooded?


I smiled with you Zora; I kneeled beside the subtle of your
blasphemy… I smiled poetry.
I winked it actually, my left eye lazy
and my right shining in jest – I steady smile
the prose of questing for an entire humanity
no longer mired in the muck of Jim Crow, no longer
as the mule of young virile men.


From terror to triumph I smile (for we are all vital)
And you shine Zora. You shine on.


Butterflies and orchids. Half-rainbows, stars at noon.
Wine and green blades – Daffodils of yellow make you swoon.


And the chil’ren in sand boxes: Naïveté amazed.
Overalls specked – Slides and swings rathering spirits gay.


Shall you comfort on benches like chaise lounge rooms?
And fall in gardens: Honeysuckle, Azalia, Hyacinth blooms?
Special aroma awaits you. (In the gourd vine of redemption.)


Kittens claw seraph wings and dogs paw like loyalty.
Eyes of golden green, a hazel teeming with malice.
Defense blows in the wind as claws grasp.


A face in moonlit shadow. A voice beckoning
as rain drizzles in the pallor of an invisible orb.
Stars ablaze; clouds rampantly gray: a great man dead…


(dust tracks blown in the wind of perseverance;
in the midst: reparation)


…and her eyes, they laugh, they’re on the silver-lined,
for she could never hold a grudge; grudges rot hearts.
Plus she’s naïve-smart, loving child at thirty-one.
Her eyes be watching God; They’re hungry
and she’s queer.



Copyright © Jacquii Cooke


Jacquii Cooke is a Black American Poet from Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Her writings have been featured in both online & print venues. More of her writing may be found at JPiC Forum For Writers, an online Community where open-minded writers of all backgrounds can freely share in the joy of creating literature. Jacquii’s JPiC profile can be found at MsJacquiiC.

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