Home > Poetry > Tom Ass Clarence
Amiri Baraka
Published: Fri Apr 15 1994
Art: Paul TheriaultEver New (detail), 2022, acrylic and found paper on scavenged wood
Tom Ass Clarence

Ask these knees if there’s
a negro attached
to them
Ask these knees
who they belong to
& how long they been here
pinned to the
_                 _ground.

“These knees can talk, child!”
1st time I seen knees talk.
But these knees can talk
These knees can cry
These knees can even lie

Only knees had a program on tv
Only knees married to
_         _ a pornography of naked nuns
Only knees can exist w/o anybody
_         _ w/o no legs or thighs
_                      _or feet or anything

Only knees can exist
_                     _ independent
_                     _ of anything
_                     _ completely
_                     _ by themselves
_                     _ autonomous

these are
Self made knees
prosperous knees
proud knees
shiny knees

These knees are
_   _ Called
_   _Knee grows

_   _Like I said
_   _These knees
_   _be on television
_   _They got they own

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See what's inside AGNI 39

Amiri Baraka is the writer of over forty books of poetry, drama, essays, and music criticism. He has received honors including a Guggenheim and two NEA fellowships and an induction into the Academy of Arts and Letters. He has been a highly prominent figure in several activist movements. (updated 6/2010)

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