Three Poems Timiro
I have always known to let the broken comb sing her praises,
I’ve learned to beat my hair into submission.
For the interview, the classroom,
For all the times I need to code-switch my way into the white of a stranger’s room.
And each morning I begin again in ritual.
I know hooyo‘s favorite love language is a labor of twist and braid
The rhythm of the unsung strand,
How a spiral learns to keep time with its own reversal.
Repetition is the first way my hair taught me, love.
For what is love if not a willingness to begin again.
A willingness to return.
Repetition is the first way my hair taught me patience
The first to take my hands in quiet submission
Ask them to slow: if even for a moment.
So I may lose myself in the feverous loud
Of a doc chanana
Thirty minutes into the braid out
And again in the takedown,
The revival, when it becomes time to begin again.
So take this poem as love letter
In honor of the quiet black girl swag
The Ariana Brown loud.
The two-step tribe.
What I would not give to be the object of Aretha’s affection
to be the rose as instill a flower.
From the careful bend in bough,
The willingness of ancient being to twist and rock and move
To the music of the unwavering wind,
Lose leaves in it
And let it be.
That even the stubborn strand
knows how to move with its own careless grace.
A lesson for weary hands
That still find soft submission in the strength of a careful coil.
Your hair exists in defense of the water herself,
Has learned to begin again,
And endless dance rooted in the knowledge
That when threatened with drowning
Even the trees have learned to grow.
I am familiar with gravity,
with the way, things fall or resist the urge to fall.
So I will rename this body for the sun herself,
Name it for all the beings
familiar with gravity,
For those of us who know all too well what it is
to stand in the bathroom mirror
long enough to make yourself disappear,
She who exists beyond death at the bottom of a freezer,
or losing herself at the back of a kitchen cupboard.
I am the daughter of broad shoulders.
Women who wear burden on their bodies.
Women heavy with the swell of magic,
My heavy is swollen with and swimming in magic.
Figures, I’m always spilling out of something
a dress, a pair of jeans, my own body
As if I am pouring myself- like offering.
I know what it is to make my body bend itself at beck and call,
Know how to make it turn itself inside out.
In the 7th grade, I read in a magazine
that if you suck your cheeks in you can make them look thinner.
So for weeks, I walked around the halls with my mouth caving in on itself.
Wrote this because there is
Something tiring about the way thick thighs will rub themselves raw.
As if even your own legs want to escape themselves
Wrote this still for the freakum dress
For the clap in thick thighs,
For the swim and sway and movement
Wrote this because today I was late again,
I stood in the bathroom mirror long enough to slip outside myself,
And chose instead to make time standstill
Turn back every clock,
let the water drip back up my cheeks
and watch every wound close itself back up.
Wrote this because today I am heavy, familiar with gravity,
with the way things fall or resist the urge to fall.
And today, like every day
I know what it means to catch myself.
For the children of stone-wall
the ones birthed from revolution and a tube of red lipstick
and made in the image of Marsha.
of her flowers making love to the moonlight.
And the paisley print of a dress spilling onto the dark of her skin.
I can see it now,
She is 1969 fresh and endless.
She glides into a room full of laughter and everything stops.
She drops her napkin, and they wonder how gravity could betray her.
Moves in slow motion as if to say,
Who else do you know that could bring a country to its knees and strut?
This is an ode to the unfiltered existence.
To the un-ending loud, for the prideful,
in honour of Marsha “Pay it no mind Johnson.”
And because she marched not only for herself but
and for the 3 generations to come
And hasn’t been the story of black womanhood
To have been called to move mountains in defense of survival.
We the people declare today a celebration.
We the people shed the names of our former selves.
We the people prideful and all too loud pay them no mind.
So if we are to love,
let it be endless
let it hold space for all the ones who walked the earth before us.
For Marsha, and for our former selves.
The ways we existed in limbo.
The way we have always known
that beyond this body,
caught in the waning moonlight of before
we have always been the outliers.
So today I remember my family wherever they maybe
Which is to say I honour my people
everywhere who learned to grieve from behindÂ crowded computer screens buried 6-foot deep in funeral processions neatly packaged in hashtags.
I honour the gully queens, the loud and black, and unfiltered.
The ones that lay in a bed of concrete
Looking up into the sky, holding a staring contest with God
waiting to enter the afterlife.
Today I hold space for the black queer, the non-binary, the trans femme,
every being whose very existence is a form of revolution.
May we learn to let go.
Learn to exist solely in the galaxies,
we create in the moments when love is ever-present
when we sit in an easy back and forth quiet
and get drunk off the sweet sounds of laughter
reverberating in the hollows of our ribcages.
Take this love to be the dawn,
take it to be the darkened sky splitting with the light of every star beckoning fickle sunlight.
Today we will make ourselves in the image of those before us, and begin again.