July 13, 1963

We live in fragments
like speech. Like the fits
of wind, shivering against
the window.

Pieces of meaning, pierced
and strung together. The bright bead
of the poem, the bright bead
of your woman’s laughter.

This article is part of The Nation’s 150th Anniversary Special Issue. Download a free PDF of the issue, with articles by James Baldwin, Barbara Ehrenreich, Toni Morrison, Howard Zinn and many more, here.

The Nation was one of the first major publications to print LeRoi Jones’s work, including his 1964 essay on the fight between Cassius Clay and Sonny Liston. Jones (1934–2014) later changed his name to Amiri Baraka