my hair is natural dammit (i can stand the rain): A Poem

by Jacquese Armstrong

i come from a long line of strength
developed from genes
that travel back to a ship
where survivors were born
only steel-trapped minds survived on
morsels of hope
self-directed pride

the synaptic matter jails me though
reminds me of a cell
where fannie lou hamer suffered
blows to almost death and
the places where many
lost breath
through centuries’ mass white psychosis
and delusional reigning kings/still do

when irrationality turned on me intimately
had to decide
the crossing bridge
knowing i live to tell
the punitive tales

i must tell the babies
how i got over
what i got over
why i got over

this is my destiny
my righteous truth

the challenges’ singular
perspective air
advantages pre-measured
yield distracted compounds and
time is the empty chair that sits
alone in the corner
it is irreverent and barren
like the trees in frigid winter

(you must breathe)

the rain beats down at
times shouts its
evolutionary silence in thunderous
rebirthing curl patterns
introducing growth

but my hair is natural
i can stand the rain…

Photo: Shutterstock

Jacquese Armstrong is a writer/poet/mental health advocate residing in Central New Jersey. Her work has appeared in Black Mental Health Network, Black Magnolias Literary Journal and BLACKBERRY: a magazine, among others. She was a 2015 recipient of the State of New Jersey Governor's Council on Mental Health Stigma Ambassador Award.