Out of Print
The Life and Times of Susie Knuckles is a heartbreak story told as a nursery rhyme/ a journey towards resilience armed with plenty of snacks/ a girl-meets-boy story with a colorful supporting cast of deceased rappers and complete strangers. Susie Knuckles, Safia Elhillo’s alter-ego, is strange, unkind, tough, and disarmingly childlike. She interweaves her blunt, sometimes brash voice with the author’s pain, and teaches us to save our own lives even when the heart is broken.
tell me who kissed your mouth and made
your lungs a little shipwreck i know
the wilting of an apple’s flesh when it
is left to air and light i have seen
the same in my own body every
space you’d touched grew wrinkled
and afraid when your lips went home
to roost i’ve forgotten how to float
it’s quite pathetic i hear you’ve
discovered that you are beautiful that
was not the plan now we will never get
to make a home or anything nice i
mean think of dancers’ feet and
horn players’ lungs beauty’s midwives
are never pretty.
“Habibti Safia writes and it leaves a lump in your throat but also honey under your tongue.”
“This book is a master-class on bricolage. It is an artist introduction that doubles as an invitation to awe.”
Safia Elhillo describes herself as “Sudanese by way of Washington, D.C., by way of Cairo, Egypt, by way of everywhere and nowhere for long.”
A finalist in the 2011 Women of the World Poetry Slam, Safia has shared the stage with Sonia Sanchez, the late Gil Scott-Heron, and Black Thought and ?uestlove of The Roots.
Photography: Joe Ferrucci