There’s a city that I know.
One that doesn’t ask you for your hand
but takes it, twirling you on the surface of the mississippi
dancing on a gold mine
that is a pyramid,
making our hearts a jukebox for all of the greatest hits,
heels clicking to go home whenever you are far from mother
to bring her near.
is a mother,
birthed by her people but forever taking care of her children,
bridged from a past of unforgiving -
but her milk is the best in the land.
she ain’t nothing but trouble
a diamond derived from grit and grind
streets holding sacrifice – I wonder, did she cry when black feet walked chained across her back? Did she whisper for someone to build upon her,
so she didn’t have to bare the shame of a history crystallized on waters of purity?
Will it wash away the blood on concreted streets?
abandoned by natives,
forced to smile crooked
like the “m” it was named after -
so beautifully curved like the corners of my lips
looking like happy,
like joy, like a homeland untouched.
has a tricky way of letting me know I am safe,
by the neon rainbows on Beale, showing that I am welcomed
through cookouts on park soil,
by music—the sweet music of America’s soul.
Holding a melody aged as balanced wine,
Tuned by time, colored by its sharps and flats.
Its song harmonized by each generational line.
With one wind, its history plays in cut time,
Notes climb, and dynamics perfectly bred.
Words too well said to have been sightread.
But listen harder.
Let the irreplaceable percussion move you,
Hear the new and worn voices, treble and bass,
The chorus that faced injustice yet grew,
The breath it drew before winning the race.
A steady pace kept by overly fatigued feet,
How bittersweet that the dream and reality meet.
But listen further.
The sizzle, the popping, the grill crackling,
Jokes cracking, the people laughing?
It’s not acting, these people are happy.
Voices raspy and mouths left gasping,
By flippers and blues so snazzy.
And the song lives on.
A Day in Memphis
Good morning Memphis
That’s where I live
At the very edge of Tennessee
Where brick walls are covered with poetry
Where the soul of music lives and rejoices in glory
Where every picture is filled with nothing but stories
Good afternoon Memphis
Where little kids can play and have fun
Where you can be beautiful and let your light shine under the sun
Where people and tourists love to come
Good evening Memphis
Where every corner and every street meets every personality
Where people can walk and be proud of their normalities
Where everyday brings a case of blissful memories
Where nothing’s more alluring than the sound of laughter on the streets
Or when the river speaks
Where a ‘M’ stands proudly glowing in the night sky