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I'm not Lonely -- Nikki Giovanni

Guest poem submitted by Aseem:
(Poem #1540) I'm not Lonely
 i'm not lonely
 sleeping all alone

 you think i'm scared
 but i'm a big girl
 i don't cry
 or anything

 i have a great big bed
 to roll around
 in and lots of space
 and i don't dream
 bad dreams
 like i used
 to have that you
 were leaving me

 now that you're gone
 i don't dream
 and no matter
 what you think
 i'm not lonely
 all alone
-- Nikki Giovanni
Nikki Giovanni is (IMHO) one of the most under-represented poets on
Minstrels - you have just one poem by her! So figured I would put in one of
my favourites to even things up a little. Actually started thinking about
her after reading National Brotherhood Week, reading her more political
poems (see the Funeral of Martin Luther King Jr, for example) but finally
settled on this one to send in.

What I love about this poem is the aching simplicity of it - the almost
tearful courage of lines like "i'm a big girl / i don't cry or anthing" and
the bitter irony of getting over your bad dreams by having them come true
(also the brilliant double edge to "now that you're gone / i don't dream").
The real beauty here is that Giovanni does not protest too much - there's a
part of you that's tempted to believe her and there's a part of you that
knows it isn't true and you kind of get the sense that she doesn't believe
herself either. But would like to.


53 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Celine said...

I think this poem has a beautiful bravery to it. Such simple words, yet with such a endearing truth to them.


Anonymous said...

This poem relates to the loneliness that many people go through. Saying things but doubting themselves afterwards.

Sarah said...

I love this poem. Its just amazing. This young girl is lost without her loved one. She says she's fine, but she isn't. We do this to make others happy, but it doesn't make ourselves happy.

- Sarah A.

Anonymous said...

Been there. Had to use similar words to tell an ex-fiance to get lost. Then lived the words out because I didn't have a choice. Giovanni nailed it.

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Giovanni has been teaching writing and literature at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia since 1987, I think that it is the real thing that the people should knoe about this spectacular poet!22dd

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Anonymous said...

love this poem. it has meaning. i had to do a poem project and so i chose this one because it had so much potential as a piece of writing. :)

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