Aja Monet Reads at the Washington Women’s March

by RC James
Babilu
Honorable Mention, February 2017
Judged by Sara Clancy


In a midnight voice, arms extended,
she read blues that laid the soul to dust.

She gave us her mother, standing in the ruins,
holding a bouquet of bloody music and a spear
she’d carved out of her lover’s bones.

A white woman in the audience, hands extended upwards,
moved her fingers, called the sky to hold these words.

Slashing, sinewy phrases testified to the stamina
of the first activists; her mother fought with the strength
that came from shotgun houses next to the picking fields,
grace earned through knowledge and the mission at hand.

Her poem was a freight train of rapid fire explosive words.
Intellect the weapon, unconcealed now, quashed the howling
and leers from whiskey veined faces in tobacco spit-stained t-shirts,
arms lagged leisurely over benches on small town median strips.

She testified to the cruelty, the barbarity, and every day battles
fought by her family, whose matriarch carried hurricane force.



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      Second Place

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      Third Place

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