Someone almost walked off wid alla my stuff.

This is my favourite Ntozake Shange poem and one of my favourite poems. Loretta Devine recited it in Tyler Perry’s adaptation of For Coloured Girls but my absolute favourite recitation of this poem is done by Alfred Woodard. I’ve listened to her recitation over and over again and she brings the words to life. I’ve posted a link to the video and have also written out the words. 

The words below are from Alfred Woodard’s recitation and may differ a bit from Ntozake’s version. Oh and if you haven’t realised: wid alla is ‘with all of’.

Somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff.

Not my poems or a dance I gave up in the street,

but somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff

like a kleptomaniac working hard  and forgetting while stealing, this is mine.

This ain’t your stuff.

Now,  why don’t you put me back and let me hang out in my own self?

Honest to God, somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff

and didn’t care enough to send a note home saying

I was late for my solo conversation

or two sizes too small for my own tacky skirts.

What can anybody do with something of no value on

a open market? Did you get a dime for my things?

Hey! Man, where are you goin wid alla my stuff?

This is a woman’s trip, and I needs my stuff to ooh and aah about.

Daddy I gotta mainline number for my own airline.

 Now woncha put me back and let me play this duet with this silver ring in my nose.

Somebody almost run off wid alla my stuff

and  I didnt bring anythin but the kick and the sway of it.

The perfect ass for my man, and none of it is theirs

This is mine, Juanita’s- her own things-that’s my name

Now you give me my stuff back.

 I see you hiding my laugh, and how I sit sometimes with my legs open to give my crotch

some sunlight.

There goes my love, my toes, my chewed up finger nails.

Nigga, with the the curls in your hair!

Mr. louisiana hot link, I wants my stuff back.

My rhythms and my voice; open my mouth and let me talk you

Out of throwing my things in the sewer.

This is some delicate leg and some whimsical kiss I gotta have to give to my choice

without you runnin off wid alla my stuff

Now who is this he left me with?

 Some simple bitch with a bad attitude

I wants my things

I want my arm with the hot iron scar

and my leg with the flea bite

I want my calloused feet and my quick language back in my mouth

fried plantains, and pineapple and pear juice

and sun-ra and Joseph and Jules

I want my own things, how I lived them.

and  give me my memories,  how I was when I was there

You can’t have them or do nothing with them.

Stealing my stuff from me don’t make it yours

It makes it stolen

Somebody almost run off with alla my stuff

And I was standing there looking at myself the whole time

It wasn’t a spirit took my stuff Luane,

 It was a man whose ego walked round like Rodan’s shadow

A man faster than my innocence

A lover I made too much room for almost walked off wit alla my stuff

And I didnt know I’d give it up so quick

And the one running with it

don’t know he got it

I’m shouting: this is mine,  and he don’t know he got it.

My stuff is the anonymous ripped off treasure of the year.

Did you know somebody almost got away with me

 in a plastic bag under their arm?

Me, dangling on a string of personal carelessness

I’m spattered with mud and city rain

And no I didn’t get a chance to take a douche!

Hey! Man, this is not your prerogative

I gotta have me in my pocket to get round like a good woman should.

To make the poem in the pot or the chicken in the dance.

What I got to have

I gotta get my stuff to do it too.

So why don’t you find your own things?

And leave this package of me for my destiny.

What you got to get from me

I’ll give it to you

Yeah, I’ll give it to you. 

Around 5 o’clock in the winter when the sky is blue-red

and Dew City is getting pressed

If it’s really my stuff

You gotta give it to me

If you really want it.

I’m the only one who can handle it.


6 thoughts on “Someone almost walked off wid alla my stuff.

  1. In 1986 had ran from my pimp in New Orleans with my 4 yr old daughter. Living in homeless shelter, waiting for bed open up in treatment center…addicted to heroin.. Beautiful black lady came to shelter & read this poem. It changed my life! It cracked my heart open, it opened my mind, it freed my spirit. To this day I cry when I hear it.

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