(Photo by William Stitt)
When you speak
it can be light and playful and full of
and with a flip of your hair, and the narrowing of your eyes
you can turn lighthearted banter into a sermon and summon the wisdom of all the ages.
The spirits – they flock to you when you walk.
The eyes – they turn to you when you talk.
And when you dance – Lord, when you dance. Thunder knows no better competitor.
And for this white boy, you were a safe haven
granting me mercy and grace – when you yourself had little to spare sometimes from white people sometimes from your men in your own race.
You showed me how to cook – Ms. Brenda, I see you there.
And when you called me ‘baby’ -“Whew, lord…” why, I melted into the floor.
Straight through – all the way to China.
Seriously, “Where’s the body ma’am. No one will ever ever know. “
I’ll set my watch and salvation and my money in the bank on it.
You come in all shapes and sizes and tones
sometimes you come with an accent like Creole, or African,
or trailing the speech of whatever time zone you happen to occupy.
Sometime it’s Spanish and sometimes it’s French
and sometimes it’s ‘hood’ when your angry, something you can turn off and on like a light switch.
But where ever you are or where ever you’ve been.
On the stage, on the floor of government,
or in the grocery store or at church
people watch you
sometimes those eyes aint no good
sometimes those eyes are just wide with awe
if you want to know for whatever reason gazes are cast upon you
its because you are something to behold
whether you’re young or whether you’re old
people know when a black woman is in the room
So in this world, with it’s dizzy distractions and dissatisfactions
of lazy minds and backwood ignorant interactions
where white means right and everyone else is left
feeling tired and worn and see through
there’s a black woman, arms folded under her bosom
rollin’ her eyes the way we all wished we could
So whether you’re a Whitney, a Maya, an Oprah, or just you
Just you is enough – overwhelmingly enough
to find, and be, and speak the truth
and the truth is this, it’s always been this
And I know it hasn’t been said enough
and I know saying so will make some sorry ass throw a fit
but our world has been made better simply because you’re in it.
Yes, our world, my world, this world has been made better
simply because you are in it.