10 haiku
(for Max Roach)

1.
Nothing ends
every blade of grass
remembering your sound

2.
your sounds exploding
in the universe return
to earth in prayer

3.
as you drummed
your hands kept
reaching for God

4.
the morning sky
so lovely imitates
your laughter

5.
you came warrior
clear your music
kissing our spines

6.
feet tapping
singing, impeach
our blood

7.
you came drumming
sweet life on
sails of flesh

8.
your fast beat
riding the air settles
in our bones

9.
your drums
soloing our breaths into
the beat . . . unbeat

10.
your hands
shimmering on the
legs of rain.

"10 haiku (for Max Roach)" appears in Sonia Sanchez's latest collection, Morning Haiku. Copyright © February 2010 by Sonia Sanchez. Reprinted by permission of Beacon Press, Boston.


haiku poem: 1 year after 9/11


Sweet September morning
how did you change skirts so fast?

What is the population of death
at 8:45 on a Tuesday morning?

How does a country become
an orphan to its own blood?

Will these public deaths
result in private bloodletting?

Amongst the Muslim, the Jew, and the Christian
whom does God love more?

How did you disappear, peace, without
my shawl to accompany you?

What cante jondo comes
from a hijacked plane?

Did you hear the galvanized steel
thundering like hunted buffalo?

Glass towers collapsing in prayer
are you a permanent guest of God?

Why do some days wear the
clothing of a beggar?

Where did these pornographic flames
come from, blaspheming sealed births?

Did they search for pieces of life
by fingerprinting the ash?

Death speaking in a loud voice,
are your words only for the deaf?

What is the language for bones
scratching the air?

What is the accent of life
when windows reflect only death?

Hey death! You furious frequent flier,
can you hear us tasting this earth?

Did the currents recognize her sound
as she sailed into the clouds?

Does death fly south
at the end of the day?

Did you see the burnt bones
sleepwalking a city?

Is that Moses. Muhammad. Buddha. Jesus.
gathering up the morning dead?

Why did you catch them, death,
holding their wings out to dry?

How did this man become
a free-falling soliloquy?

Why did September come whistling
through the air in a red coat?

How hard must the wind
blow to open our hearts?

How to reconnoiter our lives
away from epileptic dreams?

How to live—How to live
without contraband blood?

Is this only an eastern wind
registering signatures of ash?

Do the stars genuflect
with pity toward everyone?

"haiku poem: 1 year after 9/11" appears in Sonia Sanchez's latest collection, Morning Haiku. Copyright © February 2010 by Sonia Sanchez. Reprinted by permission of Beacon Press, Boston.

Sonia Sanchez is a poet. Mother. Professor. National and International lecturer on Black Culture and Literature, Women's Liberation, Peace and Racial Justice. Sponsor of Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. Board Member of MADRE. Sonia Sanchez, retired professor at Temple, is the author of more than 16 books, including Homecoming, We a BaddDDD People, Love Poems, Does Your House Have Lions?, Like the Singing Coming off the Drums, and most recently, Shake Loose My Skin (Beacon Press, 1999). A recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts, the Lucretia Mott Award for 1984, the Outstanding Arts Award from the Pennsylvania Coalition of 100 Black Women, the Community Service Award from the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, she is a winner of the 1985 American Book Award for Homegirls and Handgrenades, the Governor's Award for Excellence in the Humanities for 1988, the Peace and Freedom Award from Women International League for Peace and Freedom (W.I.L.P.F.) for 1989, a PEW Fellowship in the Arts for 1992-1993 and the recipient of Langston Hughes Poetry Award for 1999. She is the Poetry Society of America's 2001 Robert Frost Medalist and a Ford Freedom Scholar from the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. She has read her poetry in Africa, Cuba, England, the Caribbean, Australia, Europe, Nicaragua, the People's Republic of China, Norway, and Canada. She was the first Presidential Fellow at Temple University and she held the Laura Carnell Chair in English at Temple University.