Reading: Theresa Davis: Why I Write

Theresa Davis: Why I Write

by
Commentary, Poetry - June 15

I write because sometimes this shyt don’t make sense.
When I say shyt, I could mean life.
I could mean this world or the people in it.
I could mean this real time that feels like a choke hold
and no accountability,
like acquittals and coffins.
Like we are all at some fucked up dance party
no one knows the moves, but we keep moving
because to stop is to be consumed by all the madness.
I write because if I don’t the world might shift, shrug me off
like a fly, a leaf or a dangling participle on the wrong side of a noose.

I write because America has a short ass memory.
Alters events so in the light it looks better.
The way it thinks it has always been here.
Believes it never took a land, took a people,
erected interment camps for its own citizens.
Took an idea and twisted it to the tune of white supremacy
of oppression then when America is reminded of this
it demands reparations from the displaced
from the erased, from the forgotten.
I refuse to pay the price
that comes with holding my tongue.

I write because love hurts always.
Even when it is good. Especially when it is bad.
Writing keep the fissures in my heart from filling with concrete.
I write, to maintain my soft, to stall myself before
I turn mason and start building walls that will prevent new love
from finding me.
Safe haven.
I write because I never want to lose sight of love.

I write because some folk feel the need to offer unsolicited advice.
Then get confused when I turn Chernobyl on their asses,
like they should get a pass, didn’t work for that one guy
at the peace festival last weekend who approached me after
I shared a poem about a girl I loved.
I never told her.
Because fear
Because gun shy.
Thought if she listened she would know.
I’ll never know if she did, because she is dead.
Now, when I share those words it’s like a declaration of love wrapped in a funeral.
I grieve, every time, the way I choose to grieve.
Sometimes with a smoke and a whiskey then he yells,
“Stop doing that, those things will kill you!”
Says it like and order.
I nuclear meltdown because I did not ask for his intrusion.
“I am grieving over here!” my brain screams.
I reply, “You know what else will kill you?
Coming back from a jazz festival and an 18 wheeler
takes out the side of the car you are riding in, or
living in a country where men
think they can tell women what the fuck to do!”

And there is his retreating back.

I might have raised my voice.

If my hands were not full of the tools used to dull my grief,
I might have written a response that did not disturb the peace
at peace festival, but these days I find the idea of peace disturbing.

I write to resist the urge to punch the world in the face.
I write to stay Huemyn.
To stay grounded.
To stay open. To never lose the love I have for humanity.
To remember the joy and loss and everything in between.

I write because I almost told my kids a lie.
From the time I stopped being a home
promoted to the roommate paying all the bills.
I instilled in my children daily, live life to the fullest,
pursue your dreams, don’t let anyone use can’t to define your possibility.
Only to wake up one day and find myself hobbled
by comfort, preaching but not practicing a damn thing,
Pushing legacy while I pushed myself to watch not act.
I write because I refuse to be a liar in my children’s eyes.

I write because 2016 is not fucking around as it
snatches stars out of the sky. I write because I am still reeling.
I know had it not been for the brilliance of Bowie of Prince,
I would not know how to be this uniquely me, this fucking fly.
I am troubled because there is a generation of folk coming up
who will not experience this freedom music, unless someone tells them.
I write because I cannot sing,
if I could maybe it would sound like:

the words pile up and fill my mouth
my heart lodged in my throat
I have so much to offer
there are so many songs
living in my bones so much love
I only want to share with you

but I cannot sing.
So, I write.

Theresa Davis is one of Atlanta's best known performance poets and a nationally ranked poetry slam champion. Her poetry takes you on a journey of love, loss, politics and family. Her second book of poetry Drowned: A Mermaid's Manifesto, with Sibling Rivalry Press is being released in the fall. Theresa Davis uses her tongue for bounty and says shyt you wish you said. Follow her in Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/rockstarpoet and on Instagram at @shepiratepoet

  1. Bud Kenny

    24 August

    A strong, beautiful poem. The first of yours that I have read or heard. I really look forward to your feature at Wednesday Night Poetry in Hot Springs, AR.

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