Thursday, July 7, 2016

Happy Birthday to Amber Smithers!

Photo by Ferdinand Reus

This evening I'd like to post Amber Smithers' provocative poetry.  As you may recall, in 2015 when I held the contest in memory of Michael Brown, she won a prize for her poem "A Lullaby to My Son." Unfortunately, her prize-winning poem is still timely.  Tonight's first poem "Thoughts on Being a Black Girl" will always be timely but for happier reasons.

  Thoughts On Being a Black Girl
  1. Your body is full of miracles. Some will say you are demonic, filthy, unworthy but you’re the love child of the sun, brown sugar, and honey.
  2. There will be tears that could fill all seven oceans at the end of your life. Tears from the boy who said you’re beautiful for a black girl. Tears that stream down your cheeks while cutting your body apart to fit into a society that tells you’re not good enough for.
  3. People will tell you you’re too loud when you laugh. Laugh louder you deserve to fucking laugh, they don’t know how long it took you to be able to.
  4. Your body is worthy of love. In all its shapes. Don’t let anyone tell you any different. 
  5. When your sisters tell you you’re not black enough, forgive them. Someone broke them long ago, kiss their wounds. You are enough. You are enough.
  6. They will say your music is too raw. That is all we know. 
  7. When you dance they will call the way you move your hips sinful. They say this because they have not tasted true bliss. 
  8. There will be a boy one day who will make you believe in your beauty. When he walks away know he was not worthy of you.
  9. There will be days your want different skin, a different lineage. I hope on those days you will know your skin is a gift from God. Your lineage is a reminder of the Phoenix which will rise again. 
  10. You are enough. 

Amber also sent me this powerful poem on an important topic.  It may trigger some feelings, but I hope that it may help some readers or perhaps their friends and family.   

Bulimia Poem

He said to me,
Open your mouth wider.
Go deeper,
This is how you will be loved.
I went deeper--
Pushing my index and middle finger deeper,
‘Til I felt the rush of my mother’s lasagna.
Binging and Purging became my ritual.
Each day called for this.
My daily confession happened in bathroom stalls.
I would lose myself in the rush--
Being worthy of love.
I could not stop it.
I still cannot stop.
On my worst days
I sit in my confessional,
I pray for the strength not to regress.
The day I felt that my body was a curse--
Was the day a stranger told me I was so pretty!
But if I lost weight I would be beautiful.
Later that day,
My mother found me--
And trying to claw out all the food I had eaten.
My mother bathed me,
Trying to scrub that women’s words off of me.
My mother praised my body
Saying my body is something so divine,
Something worthy of love
Because it is a part of me.
I tell her this is not true.
She holds me.
Every day she reminds me
That my body is worthy of love and praise.
Each day I pray that I will believe her
One day.

Cecile McLorin Savant sings "I Didn't Know What Time It Was" at Dizzy's Club Coca Cola:

Here she sings "Look at Me":

Charenee Wade covers Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson's "I Think I'll Call It Morning":

Here she sings "Ain't No Such Thing as Superman," also from her tribute to Scott-Heron and Jackson:

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