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Happy Juneteenth!

June 19, 2010

Image via Jack and Jill Politics

How will you celebrate?

Since Juneteenth is the perfect day to think on what it means to carry on in the work of fighting injustice, I wanted to share this poem with you by Malkia Cyril:

What Has Yet to Be Sung

in tribute to Audre Lorde, June 18, 1992

Backing to breaking down
I always come to why, to
the unfair, painful
part of life
which runs through everything
like children’s crayons
or mud streaked
into the secret rooms of my house.
It gets easier and easier to sit
and watch the sun set
forgetting how it rose
how the glow lifts
black children’s faces toward
tomorrow and another chance
waiting with everything that I am
to know the world
and fill it up with one mighty word
one poem to rage catastrophic
on my enemies
one powerful poem to fly past silence
and bleed will into children trapped
by public schools and private traumas.
Forgetting in between spaces
that deny opposition I invite chaos;
the only directio for me is out.
Audre, I am learning not to sacrifice
belief, not to murder hope.
Still sometimes I wake in the middle
of the night screaming dark alleys
and an ex-lover’s body desecrated
and buried in time for papers
to catch the story.
That is not
the whole of life,
whole–I can’t explain is where
she took me, is where you bring me
to become the poetry of our mothers,
the survival of our fathers
to love beginnings
taking trips back to loving hands
into the sit back, yes on track
stand up way Audre had of obliterating
silence so that even while midtown maniacs
with billy clubs are smearing
our future with blood
we know we are still the plenty of our love
the height of promise.
I have known a woman who was a movement
in my life,
like welcome back to love;
we become the women
whose tongues have been stabbed
and sing anyway,
the women who learn from
teargas and tears how to make
a bomb cry, the soul rise
to meet the earth
crushed under buses
splintered onto sidewalks
we learn death is not the end of life
that language and change
are the beginning
I want to be a beginning
for me
for you.
One Comment leave one →
  1. marybullstonecraft permalink*
    June 20, 2010 10:48 am

    I should note that you can find Cyril’s poem in the collection Afrekete: An Anthology of Black Lesbian Writing.

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