INSPIRED BY THOSE WHO CREATE
(Or, if I had to write a Black artist’s manifesto, it might go something like this…)
Because we were born into a creative tradition; and
Because our ancestors understood the role of art in the reclamation of our humanity from those who would deny it; and
Because we honor those who gave their lives so that we might be able to dream fully; and
Because we teach the world that dreaming is a prerequisite to freedom, and freedom must first be imagined; and
Because, just as the ones who came before us loved us before they knew us, we create to show future generations a reimagined world, which honors their existence; and
Because we claim our right to live by our art AND assert its worth beyond economic valuation; and
Because we believe God calls us to spread love through our creativity, and we seek to live obediently; and
Because we know that love is necessary to realize our full human potential; and
For these and many other reasons, we are Black artists.” —Courtney McSwain
i give myself five days to forget you.
on the first day i rust.
on the second i wilt.
on the third day i sit with friends but i think about your tongue.
i clean my room on the fourth day. i clean my body on the fourth day.
i try to replace your scent on the fourth day.
the fifth day, i adorn myself like the mouth of an inmate.
a wedding singer dressed in borrowed gold.
the midas of cheap metal.
tinsel in the middle of summer.
crevice glitter, two days after the party.
i glow the way unwanted things do,
a neon sign that reads;
come, i still taste like someone else’s mouth.” —Residue, Warsan Shire
How does that work?
I’ve often longed
To be a lie on your lip
Just to know
That before I rested upon your tongue
I once existed
in the pit of your soul.