What you know bout ballin your every fiber into a tight fist, letting the naps of history that birthed you unfurl & stand its ground?
We be a fortress,
a rage full of ammunition.
And ain't we got reason?
Ain't we been a scorched earth
for other people's comfort?
Ain't time still tangling us up?
Ain't these years still filled with battle
trying to lay us flat?
Ain't we got enough reason
to turn every shade of revolt,
braid and lock ourselves into defiant dissent?
What they know ‘bout this congregation of joy,
this beauty that does not martyr?
They think our pride a thug,
our heritage uncivilized—
their intent always to divide
into well-groomed submission.
We twist the word ugly
til it's limp as they want us be,
comb through the lies and
crown ourselves worthy.
We ain’t never learned to be tamed
or tongue tied.
Each strand is silent witness,
a constant resurrection,
a righteous rebellion that
won’t stay in its place for no one.
Added: Friday, September 15, 2017 / Used with permission.
Camisha L. Jones is author of the Finishing Line Press chapbook, Flare, and a recipient of a 2017 Spoken Word Immersion Fellowship from The Loft Literary Center. Through both, she breaks silence around issues of invisible disability as someone living with hearing loss and chronic pain. Her poems can be found at Button Poetry, The Deaf Poets Society, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Typo, Rogue Agent, pluck!, Unfolding the Soul of Black Deaf Expressions, and The Quarry, Split This Rock’s social justice poetry database. She is also published in Let’s Get Real: What People of Color Can’t Say and Whites Won’t Ask about Racism (StirFry Seminars & Consulting, Inc., 2011), Class Lives: Stories from Across Our Economic Divide (ILR Press, 2014), and The Day Tajon Got Shot (Shout Mouse Press, 2017). She is Managing Director at Split This Rock. Find her on Facebook as Poet Camisha Jones, on Twitter as 1Camisha, on Instagram as 1camisha, and online at her blog.