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© 2015 Kristin Dot Com

hiya@kristindotcom.com

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More Schtuff.

Yesha.

July 24, 2017

"You know how you meet a girl, and she is funny and bright and an amazing poet, and so she becomes a part of your life in a small way, and then in a big way because you live in awe of her talent and her drive and her energy. And what she can do with words is a gift, a magical storm. And you have heard her perform hundreds of times, but on this one night in Brooklyn, she stands up in a room of poets and leans onto the mic and a celebration of sound comes out of her mouth. And for four minutes you and the entire room sits breathless, and tears stream down your face. And you know that this is a moment you will not forget. 

 

And when she is done she looks at you, and comes over and gives you a hug and you become a hot teary snotty mess because you feel so proud... proud of her, yes, but proud of yourself that you saw wonderment, in the form of a bespectacled, mohawked, Biggie T-shirt wearing, Beyonce-loving, always-doubting herself poet and did not let it pass you by."

 

I wrote this in honor of watching Yesha Townsend perform at the Women of the World Poetry Slam last year.  One of her poems, The Physiology of Sound won her round. 

 

 

Last week, she performed a new piece at a Cup Match celebration, and it should be the official poem of the 2017 Emancipation Celebration - if we were to ever have such a thing!   She also shared a piece that i first heard at WOWPS, and has since become one of my favorites, and in light of my recent essay, 'Dark n' Stormy' about the Bermudian accent, I wanted to share it here. 

 

 

Praying in the Sargasso

 

my mouth is a brackish pond

a stew of salt

there is a liturgy thumping in my chest

to pelt my praises in sargassum

i sound of cedar

of loquats in spring

and surinam cherry jelly on fingers

of boys holding meditation

and girls with sucked teeth

the language here is howling

our endemic are moon-born and worship under it

and move by the tide

cerulean blue-green

that’s why we’re always white cap frothing at bit

this dialect is hella tempestuous

sounding of psalms

and wind rocked, bending palms

of hurricane

of shark oil

and an absentee imperial ass union jack

i sound of limestone

twenty miles of it

where everyone’s your damn cousin

and your cousin is fiiiiine

and your cousin is fucked up

and your cousin dances ancient junkanoo to fife and bass drum

in white chucks

my accent is a prayer

a shiver of the spirit

a sanctum in the sub-tropics

an untamable glory

a half gallon of swizzle

and grandmothers kneading knuckles in cassava

i sound nothing short than the rumblings of South Shore

and hot, sticky, spittle of the Sun

of the morning cracking the eastern sky

so even in my yawning

this hallowed home

this rattling roof of jaw

got me sounding like ay man

got me sounding like Amen

 

 

***

 

Her website yeshatownsend.com will launch on 1 September 2017. 

 

 

 

 

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