Ebony Stewart | This Poem Is About Joy

This Poem Is About Joy

 it’s not about water

remnants evaporation or sand

 

or thirst or dry

fruit or hinges or

 

being hung       today no

one died on the

 

street on the side

walk in the hands

 

of a police officer

or guard

 

today a little boy

is able to play

 

outside and be a

child with a full

imagination     

 

today the only time

he was asked to

 

put his hands up

was to show us

 

how he looks when

he pretends he’s flying

 

today a black woman

could smoke a cigarette

 

could laugh could do

whatever the fuck she

 

wanted to do with

her hair

 

no one called me

a nigger       today blatantly

 

or indirectly      today they

remembered my name      today

 

it sounded like joy

no matter who said

it

 

today being black was

not a reason to

 

die by its natural

causes

 

what I mean is,

no one tried to

 

kill me today      no

one black or dark

 

skin or the wrong

shade died

today

 

today the only time

we came inside was

 

to gather and tell

stories      remember

 

when everyday was a

funeral a sad song

 

and a eulogy      oh

but today

 

the only time we

cried was when we

 

rejoiced      the only

hashtag we used today

was #joy      today the

handkerchiefs only wanted

 

to feel the faces

of the ones who

 

cried with joy

 

This poem is about joy.

 

it’s not about fear

or anger or sadness

 

them emotions come to

us too easy this

 

poem is not about

glass or porcelain or

 

fragile things or being

weak or tired or

 

broken or how many

times or how long

 

we gotta work for

it

 

This poem is about joy.

 

how long it stayed

how we remember it

in us

always


Ebony Stewart is a touring performance arts spoken word poet and active artist in the Central Texas slam poetry scene and theater arts community for over ten years. She has coached Austin Neo Soul and Austin Poetry Slam, finishing 1st and 5th at the National Poetry Slam and They Speak Youth Slam finishing 8th in the world at Brave New Voices. The only adult female three-time Slam Champion in Austin Texas has shared stages with many brilliant artists including the late Amiri Baraka. Featured in the “Texas Observer”, “For Harriet” and “The Agenda: working for LGBT economic equality”, Ebony has published The Queen’s Glory & The Pussy’s Box and Love Letters To Balled Fists. In 2015, Ebony Stewart debuted her first one woman show, “Hunger” at The VORTEX Theatre, which was nominated for a B. Iden Payne award for Outstanding Original Script and won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama. The former Sexual Health Educator with the resting bitch face sometimes known as The Gully Princess, writes because she has to and eats cupcakes for fun. #storyoftheblackgirlwinning