let her be human today
#SayHerName like news
#SayHerName like poetry
#SayHerName like solidarity
#SayHerName like truth
#SayHerName and know who fights for you…
Pronounce it like your first words
Let her name roll off the tongue, deliberate
like pop culture, like love, like opinion
Annunciate her syllables with respect,
acknowledge that some hashtags never came,
never got printed, were never trending
(Acknowledge also that even hashtags
have the option of exploitation)
Sing her name like song,
let it glide in the air unapologetic and uncomfortable
and knowingly so:
Justice hasn’t come for them
Justice must come for my daughters
#SayHerName in all the tenses that exist:
Past, present-past, conditional, present
#SayHerName like you are just learning it
#SayHerName unlike a campaign
she was born politicized,
let her be human today.
#SayHerName like daughter, sister, mother,
#SayHerName in the name of intersectionality
#SayHerName knowing it is not only her name
but rather the letters in between that tell more stories
unheard and unseen.
#SayHerName like we didn’t have to be reminded that women exist
and continually fight for rights that never truly trickle down to our Queendom.
#SayHerName like warrior
#SayHerName like Royalty
#SayHerName and know that
just saying her name is only the beginning
letter to bb king
When I first heard of you...
I was sheltered in a purple booth for four
not old enough to understand what love lost and love found
can do to a guitar pick.
Tennessee had been good to me.
But not as good as BB King’s Blues Club at nine yours old in Memphis Tennessee
The sounds permanently tattooed in your fingertips and my memory,
I remember the awe more than anything else.
The way the sound lingered like falling molasses and settled like
it was baking the soul in history.
BB King, you planted that seed.
Rock and Roll and Blues,
What did I know of those?
Besides the way it went down so smooth
like electric Egyptian cotton on my skin,
a sensual dance of drum and chest
and that voice–
a soulful sandpaper of sorrow triumphant over the past.
I remember when that trip to Tennessee became my past.
and the it way it was reignited in the commercials you were in
and I was nine again, my mother, two brothers, a dinner, a dance floor, and your stage.
I don’t remember thanking my mom directly.
I don’t remember telling her how much it meant to me.
I feel like she already knew.
Because BB King, you planted that seed.
Later on Jazz would find me and so would the Blues along with Rhythm and Beat.
Like old friends, we’d all sit in a similar booth and I would tell them about BB King’s Blues Club,
the contagious sound that manipulates the molecules in your bones,
forever reminiscent in my heart beat.
I have learned the sway
I have learned how to toss my head like guitar picks on strings.
This plant has bloomed into a soulful purple Lilly with rhythm and beat as her roots.
My only question for you:
How many more gardens are you responsible for growing in the name of the Blues?
Here’s to you.
LEtter to bb King (video)
Tayllor Johnson currently resides in New York City where she has begun her journey into Poet. Passion. Period. In between those learning moments, she sometimes has just enough time to jot a few lines...