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Listening at the Speed of Life

– by C. J. Wade –

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spoken word

Wednesday Wind Down: Poetry – I SALUTE YOU

Hi, Family!

In honor of National Poetry Month, I made a goal to share a poem or spoken word piece each week. Well, last week, I feel off the rocker, so I’m posting one tonight and another on Sunday!

The piece below was written exactly one year ago in February while contemplating the past and present sacrifices made in my culture. Thanks in advance for reading it!

I SALUTE YOU

For every elder that was asked “How many bubbles are in a bar of soap?” before casting their vote

I stand for you.

Hold my head up high and walk into work every day for you.
Go to class and flash my smile and say “Yes, I’m here” for you.

For my sisterfriend on the verge of killing cancer dead in its tracks
Intelligence questioned by White men, assuming her competence is thin and porous
For every train car that clickety-clacked with Pullman porters, chins up and hands out in superior service

I stand for you.

This isn’t just Black History to me. This is a perpetual ceremony where you are the guests of honor.

I get the privilege of cooling in your shadows, walking in your footsteps, glowing in your Sonlight, basking in your love for my future.

For every lash received with outstretched arms and naked backs
I proudly stand for you.

Clap my hands, hoot and holla any day for you, because you did what so few could do.
You kept clocking in when they spit on you.
Breastfed their children when they wouldn’t feed you.
Sang and danced like a beautiful Black angel when they wouldn’t even pay you.
You lived when they tried to kill you.

I stand for you.

Grandma, washing clothes of White families over the mountain, feet filled with fatigue
In fatigues, Grandpa called “boy” while lacing up his combat boots getting ready for war
Fighting for rights that didn’t see the light of day… back home

Accepting substandard pay and being told to comb your hair
Swallowing your pride and pushing down your voice
Diluting who you are to match someone else’s choice
Being a superhero for your children when you were just treated like a child
Making me smile after a long hard day
Washing my socks on your hands before Sunday morning
Dressing me like a chocolate doll and telling me I’m beautiful
Even though you couldn’t afford to buy your food

You will never be forgotten.
I appreciate you.
I stand for you.
I salute you.
Forever, and ever…
Amen.

***

The Magic City Poetry Festival is going strong here. Check out their events and read about the founder of the festival who is also first Black and youngest poet laureate of Alabama. How cool is that? I salute you, Ashley M. Jones.

Peace & Thanks for listening! 🙂

#bloglikecrazy: Day 28 – Speak Up

The Good

#28 – I performed spoken word pieces at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.

There’s something you should know. I don’t like to share all of my words. Yes, I’m a writer and public speaker, but sometimes I hoard my words like a squirrel stores acorns. I know why I do it too. It’s because I don’t want to be disregarded and misunderstood. That residual flaw still lives in my bones when it comes to sharing spoken word pieces. Well, this year, I decided to begin the extraction process by accepting the opportunity to perform at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute for a social justice event. One piece commemorated the Children’s March of 1963 and the other addressed the water contamination in Flint, Michigan. My friend was supportive and the best part was having my mother there to witness my nervousness and my courage when she had the same emotions living through the Movement. I won’t lie to you, it was difficult to stand there and perform as museum attendants waited for something profound to fall from my lips… but I did it and I walked out of the BCRI 7-feet taller knowing that I was standing on the backs of those of which I spoke. Many people of different colors said how much they enjoyed my craft and who wouldn’t feel the Good after that?

The Lesson

You have a voice and it’s worth hearing. You don’t have to scream and shout if you don’t want to, and to the same degree, you don’t have to be quiet either. Just use your voice in the capacity that God gave you. That’s how the world gets better, feels different, and becomes an enriching place to live. Your voice may be through your pen, your tablet, your sewing, your outreach, your teaching, your janitorial work… speak up so everyone can have the opportunity to better than they were before they joined your company. In light of everything going on locally and nationally, it would behoove us to speak up in as many ways as possible and not judge the sound of each other’s voices. I learned that my voice is light, but it is strong. It is assertive and it is compassionate. However I choose to use it, I have nothing to be ashamed of and neither do you.

Peace & Thanks for listening. Don’t worry… I’ll share them online in February 2019. See you then.

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