Academic journal article The Journal of Pan African Studies (Online)

Pokeno

Academic journal article The Journal of Pan African Studies (Online)

Pokeno

Article excerpt

- for my grandmother Mae Kennedy and her Club Women

Nana played Pokeno with real women

There was grand mystique in the Queens

kings, spades, jacks, hearts, diamonds, and clubs

drawn on big square cards

and the plastic discs chips

in blues and reds, blacks and whitesthe

shuffling and turning of cardsthe

stacking and falling of colored discsand

the call

"tray of diamonds...Pokeno!"

The women, the chicken, the china

the water and red punch in crystal cups

the strong hot coffee steamers chugging upwind

the little taste of something forbidden

"gon and take it, it won't hurt ya none"

The dead sons the battered daughters

The dark people's plight

the mastectomies, the lost wombs

the refusals

"cause they experiment on Negroes in that hospital"

The murdered sons, the lost weddings

the remains of asparagus spears

the dead daughters

the mousy winters

the hungry strangers

the peppermint candy for the knee highs

the fires

the water rising in the basement

the burnt offerings at the joker's tablethe

one who filled you with all the babies

The autographed picture of the Nat King Cole Trio

the knick knack table

the talcum powdered sheets

while all that you cleave is advancing sleep

beneath a sky of tin stars and brown nipples

a house standing upright

a house on its brain

the December women jeweled with sorority

doused with Emeraude played on through

[Author Affiliation]

Kamaria Muntu is an African-American Mother, Poet and Writer with extensive experience as a political organizer throughout the Southern United States. …

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