haki and safisha
Haki and wife Safisha, then


Haki and Safisha, now





our joining into one proceeded like

sand through a needle’s eye.

slow, bursting for enlargement & uncertainty.

a smoothing of passion and ideas

into spirited permanence and love.

there are decades of caring in you,

children loving that makes the father

in me active and responsible.

you forecasted the decline of marble shooting

& yo-yo tricks, knowing too that hopscotch

& double dutch could retard early minds if

not balanced with challenges and language.

you are what brothers talk about

when serious & committed to loving life.

when examples are used to capture dreams

you are that woman.

for me, you are summer at midlife,

daring spirit and middlenoon love

and the reason I return.



dark women are music

some complicated well-worked


others simple melodies.

you are like soft piano

black keys dancing between

& not becoming the white.

you bring dance & vision into our lives.

it is good & good

to be your



–By Haki R. Madhubuti






Copyright © 2020 by Haki R. Madhubuti. Reprinted from the book Taught by Women: Poems as Resistance Language New and Selected published by Third World Press.

Dr. Haki R. Madhubuti is an award-winning poet, one of the architects of the Black Arts Movement, an essayist, educator, founder, and publisher (Emeritus) of Third World Press (1967) and Third World Press Foundation. He is the author/editor of over thirty-six books of poetry and nonfiction including Don’t Cry, Scream (1969), and his latest book, Taught by Women: Poems As Resistance Language New And Selected (2020).

A long-time community activist and institution builder, Madhubuti is a co-founder of the Institute of Positive Education and its three schools in Chicago. He retired in 2011 after a forty-two-year distinguished teaching career that included Cornell University, Howard University, Chicago State University where he was appointed its first University Distinguished Professor and was the founding Director of its MFA Program in Creative Writing. At DePaul University, he served as the last Ida B. Wells-Barnett University Professor.