Karma’s Footsteps

“Ekere Tallie’s new work ‘Karma’s Footsteps’ is as fierce with fight songs as it is with love songs. Searing with truths from the modern day world she is unafraid of the twelve foot waves that such honesties always manifest. A poet who “refuses to tiptoe” she enters and exits the page sometimes with short concise imagery, sometimes in the arms of delicate memoir. Her words pull the forgotten among us back into the lightning of our eyes.”
-Nikky Finney, author of Head Off & Split, 2011 National Book Award

ekere karmas footsteps book cover-2

ekere karmas footsteps book cover-1


Read an excerpt of Karma’s Footsteps

Buy the book on Amazon

Cover image ©  Mirlande Jean Gilles, 2011


Some anthologies, literary journals and magazines featuring Ekere’s poetry 


published ekere 1 published ekere 3published ekere 7 published ekere 2 published ekere 4 published ekere 5 published ekere 6


Learning to Swim 


She was the baby of the family
curious and neon
magic unraveling her singing braids
there was music coming off of her:
violins and batas
pianos and castanetas
sounds her momma couldn’t relate to
sounds that reminded momma of sin
sienna sunflower girl
knee high
southern tinged
tangos and rumbas tickling her feet
the first time the branch of the peach tree
ripped her skin because she’d been caught
moving to some rhythm
moving to some rhythm not born of the church
it was everything-her
sound, her scent, her earthspeak-
brought the hands, the belts, the switches down
and she tried,
when she left their house,
she tried to conjure her dance again
hear the whispers under her feet
she pulled watercolors around her waist
wore amber and amethyst on wrists and shoulders
she chanted and wound her way through jazz
but no one could read the smoke signals
of her cigarettes
“death would be sweeter than any of this”
and when we met
she was 35
and I was newly born
and she was still drowning
but she gave me studios to dance in
screaming magentas
muted blues
tarot cards
modeling clay
she kept judgement in a locked box too high for me to reach
she stepped aside
my mother stepped aside
she’d evacuated her own dreams
courted death many times
when I met her
she was still drowning
but somehow
she took me to the water
and somehow
she taught me to swim