somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff

by Sami Bennett

a poem by Ntozake Shange

somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff
not my poems or a dance i gave up in the street
but somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff
like a kleptomaniac workin hard & forgettin while
stealin/ this is mine/ this aint yr stuff/
now why don’t you put me back & let me
hang out in my own self
somebody almost walked off wit alla my stuff
& didn’t care enuf to send a note home sayin
i was late for my solo conversation
or two sizes too small for my own tacky skirts
what can anybody do wit somethin of no value on
a open market/ did you getta dime for my things/
hey man/ where are you goin wid alla my stuff/
this is a woman’s trip & i need my stuff/
to ohh & ahh abt/ daddy/ i gotta mainline number
from my own shit/ now wontcha put me back/ & let
me play this duet/ wit silver ring in my nose/
honest to god/ somebody almost run off wit alla
my stuff/ & i didnt bring anythin but the kick & sway
of it/ the perfect ass for my man & none of it is theirs
this is mine/ ntozake ‘her own things’/ that’s my name
now give me my stuff/ i see ya hidin my laugh/ & how i
sit wif my legs open sometimes/ to give my crotch
some sunlight/ & there goes my love my toes my
chewed up finger nails/ niggah/ wif the curls in yr hair/
mr. louisiana hot link/ i want my stuff back/
my rhythms & my voice/ open my mouth/
& let me talk ya outta/ throwin my shit in the sewar/
this is some delicate leg & whimsical kiss/
i gotta have to give to my choice/
without you runnin off wit alla my shit/
now you cant have me less i give me away/ & i waz
doin all that/ til ya run off on a good thing/
who is this you left me wit/ some simple bitch
widda bad attitude/ i wants my things/
i want my arm wit the hot iron scar/ & my leg wit the
flea bite/ i want my calloused feet & quik language back
in my mouth/ fried plantains/ pineapple pear juice/
sun-ra & joseph & jules/ i want my own things/
how i lived them/ & give me my memories/
how i waz when i waz there/
you cant have them or do nothin wit them/
stealin my shit from me/ dont make it yrs/ makes it
stolen/ somebody almost run off wit alla my stuff/
& i waz standin there/ lookin at myself/ the whole time
& it waznt a spirit took my stuff/ waz a man whose
ego walked round like Rodan’s shadow/ waz a man
faster n my innocence/ waz a lover/ i made too much
room for/ almost run off wit alla my stuff/
& i didnt know i’d give it up so quik/
& the one runnin wit it/ don’t know he got it/
& i’m shoutin this is mine/ & he dont know he got it/
my stuff is the anonymous ripped off treasure
of the year/ did you know somebody almost got away
wit me/ me in a plastic bag under their arm/
me danglin on a string of personal carelessness/
i’m spattered wit mud & city rain/ & no i didnt get a
chance to take a douche/ hey man/ this is not your
perogative/ i gotta have me in my pocket/ to get round
like a good woman shd/ & make the poem in the pot
or the chicken in the dance/ what i got to do/
i gotta get my stuff to do it to/
why dont ya find yr own things/ & leave this package
of me for my destiny/ what ya got to get from me/
i’ll give it to ya/ yeh/ i’ll give it to ya/
round 5:00 in the winter/ when the sky is blue-red/
& Dew City is gettin pressed/ if it’s really my stuff/
ya gotta give it to me/ if ya really want it/ i’m
the only one/ can handle it

From the book For colored girls who have considered suicide/When the rainbow is enuf.

Text from here.