Coal Black Voices The Poets  
. . .
. . .
About This Site The Documentary The Curriculum The Affrilachian Poets Key Documents Resources Poetry Calendar Store Home
. . . . . .
. . . . . .


church mother
yoruba high priestess
to the zulu
pentecostal scripture quotin'
holy water sprinklin'
talkin' in tongues
you studied nursing
to learn to disguise
your own ancient ways
your knowing hands
have prepared birth canals
tied umbilical cords
closed eyelids

you see the storm
before the crickets
your skin crawls
when evil lurks

you closed your fertile gates
long ago
to keep a more vigilant watch
over them that came
over them that were sent
to your shade tree
your front porch
your holy place

I saw you step inside
the weak
the innocent
touch their pain
and shout it out

I saw you
anointed with olive oil
full of the holy spirit
reach down deep
and rebuild backbones
close holes in hearts
rescue lost smiles
and souls

when you said 'go'
I went
when you said
'do the right thing'
I gave the child my name

now you say
read ecclesiastes and weigh
my own struggles

study king Solomon
and know real wisdom

'this is just the beginning'
so I'm making room in my hope chest
and saving energy
in your knowing
and praying ways




Frank X Walker's book available on


Affrilachia Cover

Paperback: 112 pages ;
Publisher: Old Cove Press;
(March 1, 2000)

"Finally, a gathering of words that fiercely speaks to what it truly means to grow up African-American in Appalachia. These are not stories of those of us transplanted conveniently into the territory for whatever reason. These poem-stories are from a native Affrilachian heart, more specifically, from the man who first created the word in order to define and not be rendered invisible.

Nikky Finney, author of Rice


View a video clip of Frank X Walker reading "Kentucke" (requires Quicktime)


. .