Can I Poet with You – June Jordan

Eloquent and fiery, activist June Jordan remains one of my favorite poets although her output stopped when she passed in 2002.  There are so many poems I can choose but this quiet one is what I’ve decided to share.  It is quiet and vivid.

Roman Poem Number Six by June Jordan

You walk downstairs

to see this man who moves socollection_jjordan11014_0

quietly in a dark room

where there are balancing

scales on every table.

Signore D’Ettore can tell

you anything about

communications if you mean

the weight the price

pf letters


and special post cards.



his grey hair always groomed


with a comb and just a touch

of grease

for three months

he has worn the same well

tailored suit

a grey suit quite unlike

his hair.

I find it restful

just to watch him making

judgements all of us accept.

“But are you sad/”, he asks

me looking up.


“The world is beautiful

but men are bad,” he says in

slow Italian.

I smile with him but still the problem

is not solved.

The photographs of Rome

must reach my father but the big

official looking book seems blank

the finger-nail of Signor D’Ettore

seems bind and wandering

from line to line among the countries

of a long

small-printed list

“Jamaica? Where is Jamaica?”

I am silent. My Italian

is not good enough to say, “Jamaica

is an island where you can find

calypso roses sunlight and an old man

my father

on his knees.”


From New Days – poems of exile and return by June Jordan

Inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, National Poetry Month, held every April, is the largest literary celebration in the world with schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets celebrating poetry’s vital place in our culture.


About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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