exist

by Naomi Jones

Black people let’s write you a love letter 1,
For the way you never dim, always vibrant,
Laughing.
Exploding.

Let’s let you experience joy and water
For the width of an ocean and the depth of
release
Pressure.

Let’s cause an earthquake with your laugh
bring pangea to its roots through the bellows
The wheezes
The knee cap slaps.

Let’s let them see your roots in sun flares
And garden your wildberries,
And guard your bodies.

Let’s let you live.


“I am with you. And I love your wise audacious boundaries. I love your visible evolution. I love your decadent adaptation in a world of watered mouths. I love your bristle and your backbone. The way you breathe through your whole body. The way you can freeze onlookers with your eyes and build worlds out of edge and frost and melt. You work of art. You magic bell. You jar of genius. Map of galaxies. You goad the world to roughen texture. Tempt the sky to fall in rings” (Alexis Pauline Gumbs Undrowned 74).



Forthcoming in the black body, with love stardust

* Mass Poetry Writing Prompt: Write a love letter to someone (a person, a family, a community, yourself) or something (a place, an item, an idea) who/that you feel needs one.

From A Sproutglass

by Dr. Maru Colbert

One wilted flower of wine
The weakness of heart
Faint after exhaustion
With heated envy
Holding rage
Of unrequited existence
Whitewashed, erased
Again

The liquid rush of a fluted pour
White wine of water at the bottom
Roots and stems coiled
In the middle
As a blend
Of hues, ignored
When

Resting on the table
Foggy white walls surround
Elegant yet placed alone
The top strong
Grey face down
Muted yellows, rays of sunshine
Hope

This very quiet spring
A vase of liquid power
After a year of pain
A beautiful renewal
One’s storied tableau
Glass walls
Reveal

* Poet’s Writing Prompt: This original poem was inspired by the “Hard Work of Hope” theme, the invitation to “connect stories and struggles…to the natural world…” and Montserrat College artist Rebecca Nagle’s artwork depicting a wilting flower in a bottle on a table in a muted room. The first, ekphrastic version of this poem was adapted for this entry.

As a plant, trapped in a clear object, acutely involved in or witnessing turmoil, infuse or invite a/your wounded spirit.


Naomi Jones

Naomi Jones is a recent BFA merit graduate from Emerson College. Naomi has been a multicultural liaison for Zeta Phi Eta, a Resident Assistant in Little Building for First Year students, a junior coordinator in the Office of International Student Affairs, a Student Ambassador Campus Tour Guide, the President of Emerson’s Black Organization with Natural Interest (EBONI), founder of the Black Christian’s Association at Emerson, the Music Director for Emerson Treble Makers, the Class of 2021 President, the Undergraduate Speaker for the Class of 2021 commencement ceremonies, recipient of the President’s citation, and an active member of POWER (a coalition of students of color fighting for change) Emerson Students of Color week of action movement. Naomi has served as a speaker in the “What Matters to Me Series” through the Center for Spiritual Life in Fall of 2020. Naomi says, her writing is a reflection of her connection with God. She loves to intertwine her talents to make the separate industries flow as one: to do so, she says, “there has to be something that you love about yourself and you use that to thrive.” Naomi is a dedicated woman of color out to change the way society acts and she will see it done. Her forthcoming book, the black body, with love stardust, which originated as a senior thesis, is dedicated to celebrating and highlighting the history of the Black diaspora as stardust.


Dr. Maru Colbert

Dr. Maru Colbert is an engineering professor and performer. Her research and teaching spans the engineering fields of chemical, environmental and materials science with a STEM focus on chemistry and mathematics. Additionally, she runs a cultural arts company based in Boston. Her spoken, written and choreographed works have been featured in Denver, Los Angeles, Toronto, Windsor, Montreal, Amsterdam, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Detroit and Boston. Maya, Nikki, Lorraine, Zora, Alice, Toni, Harriet, Sojourner, Michelle, Nina, Langston, August, Jacob, Romare, Cicely, James, Harry, Coretta, Aretha, Stevie, Billie, CBG and Duro are some of her many “influencers” for writing, acting, singing and design. When asked about her motivation she responded, “she writes what her soul releases.”