10 October 2006

Kwame Dawes

[from Kwame Dawes’s Wisteria, 2006]

God Don’t Like Ugly

They say God don’t like ugly,
and those who make ugly pretty,
they are the angels of God.
Those who can take a shack,

a low down hole with a roof,
and make you want to cry
for the smell of Mama’s cooking
the love of days following days

like a sweet-loved baby girl
not fretting about nothing at all,
they are the angels of God.
Those who make ugly pretty.

So I ride through the low country,
day in day out, to the coast, holding
back the waves of sleeping creeping up
my legs, like how death comes,

just to learn to make something
prettier than what it was.
Around here, in Sumter County,
we’ve got two kinds of angels:

them that make the dead smile
with powders, creams, lotions,
resting in peace there, prettier than
they ever was when walking this earth;

and them that take complaining hair,
dry back of the hand, facial skin,
and make that pretty as morning,
pretty as a poem there in the salon.

They are the angels of God,
for God don’t like ugly at all.
Here in Sumter County, two things are sure,
folks will die their ugly deaths

and women lapping up the magazines
won’t ever feel pretty enough for love.
Me, I am too scared of the cold flesh
that don’t give back, don’t move,

so I caress the women’s jowls,
till all they can do is smile
call me angel of the Lord
’cause God don’t like ugly.


  1. What a poem! Thank you for posting this poem by Dawes.

    I'll check out more of Dawes poetry in the future. I love this poem, and the 'angels' and her voice.

  2. Anonymous10:07

    I love this too!