whose seat, whose table

I.

I was the first, one of the first. But you know
first one’s a fool. Who’s gonna get in line?
First one to go, first one to fight the way.
We lived in the throat of death every day.

Where you’re criminal because of who you are.
“These people ain’t gonna do nothing for us.
You need to start your own army,” he said.
There we bowed our heads. Broke our bread

that night. We shook our hands, then conquer
and divided what used to be home. Hit ‘em
while they watched. I’m tired of explaining,
‘where’d your love go?’ Man, this shit is draining.

This concrete don’t have any love for us,
for nothing, whatever it’s worth. Nothing.
That was my childhood. I was angry for years.
Angry, very angry…

II.

They say you got the right to be mad
but you gotta let it go. Look what remains:
pour your ashes where they claimed my name.
Where I changed. But ‘a pity if I stayed the same?’
That’s my battle cry. Gotta hit ‘em when they watch.
But what you gonna do when they saw all your moves
and practiced ‘em daily? Protect your neck, or give
invitations? People, sitting around pointing fingers.
I tried to drink it away, put one in the air like
cranes in the sky. But I bet on it, you’ll all
still be here when the lights come out,
still looking for temporary nothings.
Still looking for nothing.
They don’t understand
you got the right to be mad.
But when you carry it alone, you find it
only getting in the way. You gotta let it go.
Fall in your ways. Let it crumble. Dance it away.
So I took that anger and put it into my music, hoping
my son will bang this song so loud that he almost makes
his walls fall down, cause momma wants to make him proud –
oh, to be us, facing the world.

III.

The streets say you’re a king;
the world says you’re a failure
and your mother is a queen.
But you know that a king is only a man
with flesh and bones: he bleeds just like you do.
Now, we come here as slaves,
but we going out as royalty, knowing
these people done paved they way.
He asked, “Where does that leave you?
Where’s the peace? Do you belong?”
I said, “in you, in you.” My pride:
don’t touch it. The glory’s all mine.


spwm18 day 2

Solange is the younger sister of Beyonce. She used to be a backup dancer for Destiny’s Child. Even though she is also an accomplished singer, not enough people knew or talked about her until very recently.

This whole poem is comprised of nothing but lines taken ad-verbatim from her album, “A Seat at the Table”. I rearranged them to capture the main themes of the album plus present a narrative. I really loved this album and I hope that if you didn’t like my poem, you’d still give the album a chance.

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