To Black Southerners by Si: Prism Pages Poems

I don’t know how to feel about odes. I don’t know where they come from or their school of thought. They’re a format to redefine. But I’m not calling this an ode because why should love be boxed into one format? When people think of the South, they don’t really see us. They examine generational traumas without actually doing anything about it. Using a broken magnifying glass to distort the truth. – Si

Prism Pages, ‘To Black Southerners” poem #1 by Si

To Black Southerners

To Black Southerners
Our stories overlooked within massive space
We are ground zero
We are beautiful and impossible to define
That one road that takes you to the post office back home
Y’all can’t copy really
Y’all can’t be bull riders or do rodeos like my cousins
Y’all can’t steam jeans and preach like my aunt did in an assembly
Y’all can’t play Spades or cards like us
Can’t get into car accidents and still cruise the interstate
That’s not really a flex but goes to show how we take flimsy rubber and make it last a lifetime
The buses we share even though the public transit could do better
Can’t make sweet tea like us
Can’t ordain the body like us in hot weather
Shining gold like each heatwave
as the Shine n Jam sticks in place

Prism Pages, ‘To Black Southerners” poem #2 by Si

To Black Southerners

Don’t lose where you come from
I worry that our accented lives will become relics
Distant as oceans
Do I resent home?
Yeah because it could be so much better
That can’t be the end of us
Don’t lose the sighs and small laughs in elders’ stories
recipes with extra attempts
Don’t lose the long shortcuts
with limestone crossroads
Don’t lose the slant rhymes
Don’t lose the glimpses of light in our contracted sentences
Don’t lose what you know and won’t
Don’t lose the tapped out boots or shoes you got
Don’t lose the clusters of immigrants we got even though we’ve got different experiences
But either way we’re from some South somewhere
A useless attempt to keep us apart

Prism Pages, ‘To Black Southerners” poem #3 by Si

To Black Southerners

We are the mountaintop that could reach the clouds and bring their shade down to cool off. Fire
and lighting bugs to honor factory workers and cleaners. Janitors and teachers. Bus-drivers and
food servicers. Strangers and cousins you just found out about. Divorces and wide-web trees,
honest love with no bounds. All for we descend from folks who had that smoke. Farmers who
had that herbal ingenuity. All for we descend from complications, searching for tribes and
languages when it lives through us now. Right here. Country, rural, city, and wherever we go. To
be Black and from the South is to be the words griots said in secret / to be fighting words masked behind praise songs with inclined hands to back them up.

Si (they/them) is an African-American and Dominican poet that goes beyond the pen.
Aside from mixed-media poetry and short stories, they compose videos related to history and theater.