Assata’s living monument of love, a found poem for Trayvon and all kids who die* by Vanessa Huang

September 2, 2013

by Vanessa Huang

we are all temporary. i’ll bow

to beyond, and the miracles

supporting us. maybe your bodies’ll

be lluvia, a conscious accumulation

de los cielos where we thought


we could arrive the marching feet

of a plaited rainbow, with many galaxies

and planets inside, we who believe

in gratitude from each other’s bones

and fast moments of unapologetic


beauty. i am their spirit-takes-it-hard

freedom-eating child, blood-and-gold

aunty spirit of the Earth that will not die,

woven testament to the unseen

scream-enough-until-the-system-collapses secret


of my going on. we have to bury

our boys, how much through love and how much

through rape. i never abandoned you.

on some dark days, in courage

where we fail laws and clubs


and bayonets and bullets in precious heartbreak,

enraged warmth. until it comes

i want to dance a kawaakari, not needing

to clutch contentment.

when i pray for our capacity to love


it sounds like grief

or the rivers where you’ve

drowned. i want to dance

with you, and my ancestors,

not needing the light.


i’m tired of falling

all kinds of kids,

seamstress for the ghosts. prematurely,

her blood would be boiling. dare us

make some kind of love and run against


the storm. call this my imagination,

responsibility of human beings, just one

in the number. i hear coyote wailing

life that insist on life

and i see the deceased. i see you Trayvon


and remember the laughter. to shine on

i am the child who cannot rest, lost

in a swamp, smothered against the wise

and the learned, song that reaches the sky

to frighten the amnesiac. tyranny


in other worlds, so joyous and dancing. our love

everlasting through the gale of several hundred years,

racial violence in another place. the lousy

peace institution of the Slave Catchers



we have the power

in our hearts.

This poem weaves found text I heard from many of you in my physical, virtual, and spirit-life constellations in the last 24 hours:

“We are all temporary” (Vincent Toro);  “i’m tired of falling for ghosts” and “i hear coyote wailing in the distance and it sounds like grief” (Adrienne Maree Brown); “her blood would be boiling” (Gabriel Haaland); “a living monument of love”, “lousy peace”, “the wise and the learned”, “all kinds of kids”, “eating blood and gold”, “laws and clubs and bayonets and bullets”, “a song that reaches the sky”, “maybe your bodies’ll be”, “or the rivers where you’ve drowned”, and “lost in a swamp” (Langston Hughes); “lluvia de los cielos” (Michelle Otero); “Call this my imagination”, “I see the deceased in other worlds, so joyous and dancing”, “I want to dance with him, and my ancestors”, “how much through love and how much through rape”, and “I am their child” (Rona Luo); “I believe the institution of the Slave Catchers is what needs to be eradicated.” (La Mesha Irizarry); “beyond where we thought we could arrive”, “responsibility of human beings”, “testament to the unseen”, “the forces of life that insist on life”, “a conscious accumulation”, “spirit of the Earth that will not die”, and “the miracles supporting us” (Layla Kristi Feghali); “we have the power” (Vanessa Camarena-Arredondo);  “with many galaxies and planets inside” (Kazim Ali); “On some dark days, we have to bury our boys.” (Maisha Z Johnson); “Spirit takes it hard”, “from each other’s bones”, “make some kind of love”, and “our love is everlasting” (Freddy Gutierrez); “I never abandoned you” (Kokumo); “scream enough, until the system collapses” (Sandra Estafan); and lyrics from “Ella’s song” (Bernice Johnson Reagon). 


Assata Shakur Travon Martin and LoveVanessa Huang weaves poemsongs with moments of creative aliveness and transformative encounter, color, and texture in call and response with kindred spirits who dream and make worlds where each and all of us are free. A finalist for Poets & Writers’ 2010 California Writers Exchange Award, her poetry and practice inherit teachings from the prison abolition, migrant justice, gender liberation, transformative justice, disability justice, and reproductive justice movements.

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One Response to Assata’s living monument of love, a found poem for Trayvon and all kids who die* by Vanessa Huang

  1. Darrian on September 2, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Thank you for these words and the lives they carry.

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