Wanda Coleman


Born on November 13, 1946, Wanda Coleman grew up in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. During her lifetime she worked as a medical secretary, magazine editor, journalist, and Emmy Award-winning scriptwriter before turning to poetry. Her poetry collections include Mercurochrome: New Poems (2001), which was a finalist for the National Book Award in poetry; Bathwater Wine (Black Sparrow Press, 1998), which received the 1999 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; Native in a Strange Land: Trials & Tremors (1996); Hand Dance (1993); African Sleeping Sickness (1990); Heavy Daughter Blues: Poems & Stories 1968-1986 (1988); and Imagoes (1983). She also wrote the books Jazz and Twelve O'Clock Tales: New Stories (2008), Mambo Hips & Make Believe: A Novel (Black Sparrow Press, 1999), and A War of Eyes and Other Stories (1988). A recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, Coleman was regarded as a central figure in Los Angeles literary life. Source

Bedtime Story

bed calls. i sit in the dark in the living room 

trying to ignore them


in the morning, especially Sunday mornings 

it will not let me up. you must sleep 

longer, it says


facing south

the bed makes me lay heavenward on my back 

while i prefer a westerly fetal position 

facing the wall


the bed sucks me sideways into it when i  

sit down on it to put on my shoes. this

persistence on its part forces me to dress in 

the bathroom where things are less subversive


the bed lumps up in anger springs popping out to

scratch my dusky thighs


my little office sits in the alcove adjacent to 

the bed. it makes strange little sighs

which distract me from my work 

sadistically i pull back the covers 

put my typewriter on the sheet and turn it on


the bed complains that i'm difficult duty 

its slats are collapsing. it bitches when i 

blanket it with books and papers. it tells me

it's made for blood and bone


lately spiders ants and roaches

have invaded it searching for food





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Poems of the Everyday

Literary Devices:


the attribution of human qualities to a non-human thing


joining two or more words to create a new word