Poems written by Untold Stories poets in response to the prompt “Our singing brought” from "An Old Story" by Tracy K. Smith.
~who we are~
- Teiana McGahey
our singing brought
truths from places deep down
our dancing brought
freedom and wisdom from our bodies
our love brought
peace and strength from the earth
our joy brought
liberation and life
Our Singing Looks Good on Us
- Erica B. Edwards
We came 100,000 strong
To share cognac emojis
And our beautiful Black affiliations
While the DJ spun us back to simpler times
And our bedrooms and kitchens and living rooms and bathrooms
Transformed into the red roped
We dream about, but don’t always get to sit in.
Even our forever president posted up
(Like we always knew he would).
This new definition of stunt
Looks good on us.
In pajama pants
And then we did it again
To New Jack Swing
In all the ways it does too much
While we were entertained by the softer side of shade
Their genius reminding us
Of all the love
And all the dancing
They made for us
Since our Mama’s and Auntie’s and them
We dusted our bamboos out of retirement
And woke our babies
To tell them they don’t know nothing about this.
Because it was just that good.
Even if there was an echo or kick back
Or an unnecessarily long piano rendition of hits that sound just as good when you press play.
We all love somebody who is 25 years behind the rest of us.
So when Facebook exploded with #tbt pictures of our Daddies and Uncles and them
And silk shirts
And herring bones.
We had more joy than a little bit
Because times are always good
Even when they are bad.
These ethnomusicological masterclasses
more valuable than their weight in gold
Showing us how much we been shining.
Culture doesn’t breathe in a text book.
This new definition of learning looks good on us.
And then the Spirit of God
(Who was present in all these things)
Spoke to remind us that adoration of the Most High
Whomever we conceive it to be
Brings forth the newness we sang for on these and distant shores.
So all of gospel royalty revealed their gifts
From the comfort of their homes
And we were reminded to smile
And give a total praise
And we were covered again
With the assurance
That trouble don’t last always.
Some of us came back to the Lord
through Live Stream
Standing next to our beds
Tarrying in the presence
With no other saints to witness
But our little ones
(Who are closest to God anyway).
All the stuff we never understood about Granny’s religion
Standing out in relief.
If it was good enough for her.
It is good enough for me.
It’s easier to be sincere
To pour your heart out
when no one is watching.
This new definition of worship looks good on us.
And we needed to be lifted up when they canceled our meeting at the crossroad
To find out who run it.
So it was a divine gift when the ever powerful children of the goddesses
Gave word that they were holding court.
And so we came over half a million strong
To sit at their feet and pay our respects.
The soundtrack to our first grown experiences
Playing all night
While we allowed ourselves to be surprised by how much we didn’t need to turn up to tune in.
All of our mistakes
And good fortune
With raised glasses
And shared adoration.
All of our happy days
And ecstatic nights
Bubbling up in our memories
As we marveled at the scars that are proof of our healing.
It was a tangible reminder of how much we needed each other then
And how much we need each other
Because we’re not a do it alone type of people.
This new definition of sisterhood looks good on us.
And as the months wane on
And the questions linger
And the distance abounds as a matter of our Black lives
This is the proof
That our singing sustains us
our dancing frees us
our hope lives in our expressions.
And as surely as the drum speaks
Our singing will bring us through this
-Leseliey Rose Welch
Our singing calls yesterday into today
and tomorrow in to being
Our singing wakes the Gods
a reminder we are creators
and world makers
Our singing says our ancestors were here
feeling, living, loving, resisting
it offers us
their faith in better days
Our singing prays our suffering soothed
our minds renewed
our bodies move
like palms in rhythms of joy
Our singing paints bricks yellow
stitches blue skies
bears the light
and midwifes freedom