in learning myself to write - Lyrical Faith

I have lately considered myself a dead thing.

Burying my bones before a casket does the deed

Pouring a body of soil into the hole I have dug

And from below, wondered,

Who of the 10 people in my life offered to read the eulogy


While I’ve sat inside these 4 barricades

On extended house arrest

I've done everything but reflect


I am a broken mirror

Who writes on the wall of which I am hanging

But am scared to draw blood from the shards

I be a couch cushion some days

But fail to search for things lost underneath


And I guess what I am trying to say

Is I avoid the parts of my soul that are scattered


I learn to write

In order to piece back that of which is jigsaw

To fill up my childhood trauma

With words that runneth over a holy grail


I learn to write out all of the bad things

And still forget that I harbor some


At bay, they stand like battleship

Crossing over troubled waters

Reminding me of all the bodies in the water


Reminding me that I too, am the water

That I too, need the water

That I, had not drank water

For the first 4 weeks of this pandemic


And I think it because

I’ve already felt like drowning

So could not take anymore alive


I drink, because I have not learned to swim

I drink, because there is a body of water

Somewhere out there still waiting to baptize me

And I cannot find it while lost at sea

So I try to feel it within myself


I learn me to write a depression poem

On the days where joyfulness be in quarantine


Learn me to write a stanza on how this anxiety

Be both working and essential


Learn to write about my family scars

After covering up the stitches with a mask


Learn to write on my emptiness

While keeping 6 feet away


And I realize

That God be a masterful author


Gave me the notepad of clear vision

Tore out a page from the Book of Job

Filled up my pen with healing

Then read into me whole


Scattered me

All over the garden

Like seeds

To remind me

He is the first gardener


Let there be water

And sunlight

And soil

To bury a dead thing so deep

I realized

He made me

To grow.

A Bronx native born and raised, Lyrical Faith (birth name, Imani J. Wallace) is a Black American educator, activist and award-winning international spoken word poet who believes in a future for her world, much bigger than she can see.


She is a 2019 recipient of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs “Bronx Recognizes It’s Own” Award in the category of Spoken Word, the 2016 Syracuse University Martin Luther King Jr. Unsung Hero Awardee, and the 2015 Syracuse University Poet of the Year.


She is an alumna of New York University, where she received her M.A. in Higher Education and Student Affairs with a focus in Social Justice, and an alumna of Syracuse University where she received her B.S. in Public Relations and Sociology. Through her poetry, she strives to inspire, educate and advocate for intersectional and institutional issues by merging the arts and activism with a faith-based worldview.

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