“How do you expect me to dance / when every day someone / who looks like everyone / I love is in a gun fight / armed only with skin?”
― Danez Smith, Black Movie
Adrianne Embry is a native of the Far Eastside of Indianapolis. She is currently attending Indiana University where she will be receiving her bachelor's degree in theatre in the fall. Adrianne is one of the founders and co presidents of Indiana University’s Black Brown & Beige Theatre Troupe. She was also a co-host for the Bloomington Poetry Slam.
Welcome to the Poets Weave. I'm Romayne Rubinas Dorsey. Adrianne, what poems have you brought for us today?
How can you not like the sound of cicadas
They hum for you, baby
Don’t you know they sing on they own hour
When the sun retires from the sky
they speak to you, child just listen
They telling you when to be home and in the same they telling you that you already there
When the thunder stops threatening and bears the water that it has promised they shall leave
But listen, I’ll still be here
soaked in the same rain that fell on our ancestors
I am healing for you, honey
Let the water splash upon us
It touching blk bodies or soil is what makes it holy so, baby
Let it splash upon us
Child, splash in it with us
Let’s pray in our holy
& our healing
I know you hear the rain and I know the cicadas humming has ceased
But listen, don’t you still hear em?
Ain’t we home??
Ain’t we holy??
Ain’t we able to heal and rejoice even when a storm is coming??
So give praise to the cicadas
& the storm cloud that brings wet
& our ancestors
For it is allowing healing for us
& me & them in a safe space because
Ain’t we home??
Ain’t we holy??
Ain’t we able to heal??
Prove that we not otherwise hallelujah!
We done made it home
There was this woman who slept with her eyes shut in the back of the bus
How trusting to leave your throat unguarded when there are so many teeth around
I watched a man gawk at her thigh
He rubbed his silver wedding ring on his crotch
I wondered if she could feel him
I eyed him
I measured my strength against his
I would defend this unknown sista
I will tweeze teeth out
Me and this woman have two things in common
1. We’re both, tired, black, and woman
2. We don’t like being swallowed when permission was not given
She bundles a braid into a pillow
I sing her a lullaby
Responses to "You Good?"
Am I allowed to be broken and black and woman??
Instead of sleeping last night I mourned over brown bodies
I have grown tired of mourning over these bodies.
Time has persisted and I have become one.
I keep having nightmares of black bodies emptied out. I’m not sure if it’s a dream of if I’ve lived it
To be black is to never be ok
To be black is to always be ok
I could not hear your question over the sound of my kin being murdered
I bear no energy nor want nor answer for your question
What it look like?
Do you not taste the blood in the air?
I’ve carved the constellations into my throat yet I still can’t find my way home
Have you seen my home?
I haven’t slept because I don’t want to see his murder again
To be black is to cope and to not cope at all
I’m good. What about you?
I be artist out of spite
Out of necessity
Out of self love
I be artist for my kin first
then me then my kin again
I be artist because I was raised otherwise
I be artist because fuck else I got this
tongue and talent for?
Why else do I love to speak as much
as you love to listen?
Being an artist mean I’m free
So in theory my flesh is too
I be artist because this is how we
know we blood
I be artist because I come from
a black woman
Thus I was constructed in art itself
I be artist because I can’t breathe when I’m
I be artist because after my shows women
approach me teary eyed thanking me
for telling my story
I be artist because this isn’t only my story
I be artist because my momma stopped writing
before her story was told
I be artist because my daddy can’t read so I
must show him that I am the offspring of
the words he don’t know
I be artist because my poetic ancestors couldn’t
write. Because the vocal ones couldn’t speak
I be artist because I owe it to them
I be artist because I be black
Because I be woman
Because I be art
You've been listening to the poems of Adrianne Embry on the Poets Weave. I'm Romayne Rubinas Dorsey.