A Poem Called Freedom

A Poem Called Freedom

(Reflections on How To Stay Free While Black)


Keeping my head to the sky

I will close my eyes

And listen for the sparrows’ whistle, the rivers roll, the trees whisper of their journey to freedom.


As the wind wipes my tears and holds me near

I will embrace the gift of this breath


1-2-3-reverence and wonder


1-2-3- guilt and fear.


Deep down I seek and reach for hope and healing

For every Black body that couldn’t

But left their names for us to remember

The unknown surrender

Of our final moment on earth.


I pledge allegiance—to my soul, the unwelcomed one of America

To seek soft landings, safe circles and sacred community

You are worthy of love, care and protection

Remember The One whose affection

Was blood-bought and redeemed for you too—to be free.


I stand tall as the noonday sun

Stretches out each ray of light and provision

I claim with intention.

Each one of my grandmothers’ prayers tied close to her breast

And even those unfound—stuck deep down

In a lost and abandoned cedar wood chest.


I want it all got receipts y’all

Here claiming all my benefits and rights to liberation

Cashing in the full return of peace, joy and blessings

No more stressin’ or pressin’ to be validated by the white stare.


Standing with both feet anchored—confidence now unearthed

Tried, true and grounded

I declare FREEDOM.

Velynn Brown

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