Weekly Poem: ‘In D.C.’
By Elizabeth Alexander
In D.C. there are black women
with golden Afros and African-
print jumpsuits. Sidewalks sizzle
in summer, a languid,
loving fizz, a Hey Girl
hissing from the streets,
ambient, hey girl on all sides. Walk
up and down Georgia Avenue
or Florida Avenue or Columbia Road:
How you doin’? Hey.
You never know what you will miss
when you leave, what will call you
back, what will disappear
forever, or what was never there
quite as you now see it, hear it, write it
in memory’s poem.
Elizabeth Alexander was born in Harlem, raised in Washington, D.C. and attended Yale University, where she now teaches African American Studies. She is the author of six books of poems, including most recently, “Crave Radiance: New and Selected Poems 1990-2010.” On Jan. 20, 2009, Alexander became just the fourth poet to recite an original poem at a U.S. presidential inauguration. Look for an upcoming conversation with her here on Art Beat. Meantime, watch Alexander’s 2009 conversation with Jeffrey Brown.