“It is our duty to fight for our freedom. / It is our duty to win. / We must love each other and support each other. / We have nothing to lose but our chains.”
- Assata Shakur, Assata: An Autobiography
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?
I May Have Dreamt of You Last Night
You were hazy eyed and thirsty.
The pale cotton of your tongue flicked towards me
Behind your pearl yet stained teeth.
I’m not sure if you were asking for my tongue in return
Or the soft of my throat. Maybe it was both.
Regardless, I was ready to tuck the trimmer of my tongue
anywhere you found worthy of my tasting.
Then you were gone.
You left me standing there with no god to give my sacrifice to.
When I woke the midnight from my dream spilled into
My room & bed. The darkness embraced me and it felt like you.
I dreamt of you last night but I
Couldn’t remember how it ended.
I then felt the tepid titian tasting my throat.
My red spilled from two holes.
Then I remembered the whole damn thing.
I dreamt of you last night, you approached me mouth
Full of white then you left quenched, mouth
Dressed in my red. How lucky of you to leave
unscathed and satisfied with your tongue
Bearing such a tremendous color…
TT and Oil Sheen
“Heaven is where roots grow the strongest.” – Darian Woods
This time Jazmine Sullivan’s hit “Lion, Tigers, and Bears” is on loop.
We sing. Replace the words with, racism/hatred/despair.
We know this song now. Sing it from the back of our hands
I’m not scared of: racism, hatred, and despair.
But I’m scared of…
This time we ain’t scared of nothing.
We sit on front porches eating watermelon. We not stressing about
Junie making curfew. We know he not gunned down somewhere.
We as in me and my cousins. Me and my people. Me and ghosts.
Teresa is sitting on a golden lawn chair. Demands her thrown. TT sits in the middle of her legs
getting her edges snatched forced into a cornrow.
The porch smells like pink lotion, oil sheen, and TT’s tears
TT is always crying, but it’s coo now. This time it ain’t about her brothers.
It ain’t about the pressures of racism. She just crying cus she happy and because
Of the pain of Teresa’s heavy hand. We chillin now.
Nobody stopping us from being black and woman at the same time.
Nobody touching our hair but homies.
Nothing dying but daisies in the summer.
Eve in a yellow sundress that’s molded onto her honey brown skin.
She in the lawn, grinding. Her hips singing a song of freedom.
Everyone stares like it’s the only thing we know how to do.
We all dancing as the sunset kisses itself into all the right spots on our skin.
The blue in the sky is replaced with darkness.
The wind begs for an encore. We don’t bow.
Instead we force them to their knees.
Jazmine Sullivan is in the background still…
The moon extinguishes the sun. We all end on the same note…
But I’m scared of.
The sound of rain still scares me
I know the power of the earth ‘cus I seen it swallow bodies whole
So who’s to say that this shower is not a storm thrashing around
leaving us in the throat of it Whose to say it isn’t
moistening the ground for when it swallows me too
The sound of rain scares me ‘cus it makes me think about death
And the dead and the bodies that have been gusted
up by wind throats caught on the russet branches
and hung from earth’s trees
Realistically the sound of lighting is not god bowling
It’s her yelling and demanding more bodies
For wet beds to lay them in
What a great host god is what a great storm this may be
Clashing against my window and daring me to sleep
My nephew used to be my homie. We used to play Simba and things.
We’d sleep under the kitchen table on the cold hard sticky floor.
Call it our den. We were lions. We would pounce on any prey plotting.
When we grew out of that we’d chill in my room listening
to Chance the Rapper. You smoked your first joint with auntie.
We were both too young, but yearned to see what the big kids smoke.
We wanted to know what the earth taste like. We’d sneak out and smoke together.
We would walk into family dinners with our eyes pink and low.
We’d laugh just to laugh.
I’d roast your daddy. You’d roast mine.
You can’t get mad when we family. We close. We kin.
In high school when I was going to kill myself I didn’t because of you.
My therapist called you my safety net. We’d still smoke and laugh
listening to Chance. You stopped listening to Chance.
I stopped smoking. We stopped talking.
I don’t know what you into now.
Do you know you’re not invincible, boy?
I taught you too much irrelevant shit about weed and music.
I forgot to mention the bullets you have aimed at your back.
Do you know you’re not invincible boy?
I tell you to watch the things you say and do.
I tell you to watch how you walk. To speak with your chin up.
You don’t hear me anymore. That window closed.
Don’t you miss the days, stranger? Don’t you miss the days.
You got me smoking again. Got me all stressed.
Do you know you’re not invincible boy?
You've been listening to the poems of Adrianne Embry on the Poets Weave. I'm Romayne Rubinas Dorsey.