Silencing A Movement ( a poem about reclaiming your voice and the ability to use your voice)

When you try to silence voice you’re silencing a movement

Telling it to hush and learn how not to speak at all

You’re telling her that she does not matter

You’re taking away her ability to speak up for herself

For those who are so focused on being loud that others simply cannot be heard

You are speaking selfishly and far too noisily

When her voice cascades over the wrong doing of your heart

You will know how it feels to be silenced when you want nothing more but to speak

You will soon learn to honor the birth canal of which she speaks

Listen to her sing and speak and stand with conviction in her tongue

Watch her sway and step into a woman that day

Understand the inflections that speak loudly

As if to say, this is not a joke

There is a revolution preceding out of my mouth

I am the fire shot before the war

There is nothing pretty about this message

Nothing flamboyant or prissy

Today I am loud and boisterous

As if my voice was the host of a partying frenzy

And I will say whatever was burdened on my heart that day

And the day after that and the day after that

This is what it feels like to speak with a wealth of black diamonds laid upon my neck

Each one rare and beautiful

I feel like liberty on the worst storm in New York City, strong and unmovable

I am poet laureate to our cities

Your favorite song

The dance that moves all the way up your right thigh

You feel this don’t you

My mind is what cultivates this next movement

My words will be my stage

I will be salient, free

And buoyant

 

But

This poem is not just for me, but for little black boy, you, sitting in the class too afraid to speak

This is for the girl who walks awkwardly and hates confrontation

For the one who has been stained black and blue

The one with those tarnished parts they never wish to speak of

This is for Arie who will never be silenced

When she wants nothing more but to speak I will tell her

Do not hold back

Do not whisper

Speak with the unmistaken sound of freedom calling out our names (insert names)

Say it loud

Let your voice protrude out of the shadows

Let it spark the minds of those who sit in ignorance

Speak with conviction

Use your hands, evoke what you feel

Never let them believe that you don’t know who you are

When you feel your back folding into the wall

Stand tall

Do not cave in

Dare to be seen

You are a momentous treasure

Something that we all wish we could be like

Remember baby girl there’s something influential about our walk

Mommy taught you that                                                     

 

People will know that you can never silence this movement

You can never make this loud voice whisper when she has only dreamed of shouting

Tell them

Liberate me from this silence

Unmute my talk unchain this walk

Say it loud

Put all you got into it

Fight

 

When people say “You speak like you were born for this”

Tell them that’s because I am

Say “this is what happens when a voice has been unleashed after twenty years

Say I am black history experiencing freedom for the first time

I am Dr. King living to see 80 plus years

I am the dream you tried to stop me from dreaming

I am the Holocaust resurrected

I am South Africa pre-apartheid

Everything is black, wild, and free

Color me home

Say I am freedom’s song

I am a Child of God

I am light piercing the darkness

Say I am the descendant of Harriet, Sojourner, Frederick, Hemingway, Ellison, Zora, Malcolm X, Medger Evers, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison,

 

Spread your vowels with the stretch and yawn of your mouth

Let them no longer remember silence

Reflesh the bones of your feelings

Give it face

Let those words live again

Let them leap from your throat

As if this gaped mouth had the voice of Aretha

Sing baby sing

 

 

And remember when they try to talk you down to a whisper

You are a shotgun ready to pierce the silence, so speak

You are the mouth that will set the world ablaze, speak

Our voice will no longer sit in the back of our throats but will lodge out of the destitute land claiming freedom for ourselves

For the first time we will speak affluently and effectively

Withholding nothing                                                              

 

They will see that

I will not hold back the movement of this current or this unsettling wave

I will take this free will to forget silence and honor the movement, the glory of these words, and the birth canal of which we all speak

And I will say praise be to God for creating vessels with so much resilience about them

 

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