When We Arrived presents: 7 Apollo Street a poem by Margie Shaheed

I fly from the porch
go to the kitchen for water
Hindu devotional
songs have leaked
through my dusty wooden floor

I imagine the song says,
“touch the bones
let them give you
the answer”
I plant the message
in the hollow of my hand

I return to the porch
where children with dreadlocks
sweep the sidewalk clean
playing the wheel barrow
game on Apollo Street

Down on Apollo Street
where cows trek on golden hooves
and the bitter hum of curry powder
snuffs out loud music and the color
of sun beating down the day


What is the role of poetry in a community?
I’m a community poet, writer and teaching artist who witness my art as a direct product and expression of a communal experience. Just like you can’t separate mind, body and spirit you can’t separate poet, community and the world. We function as the eyes and ears, observing and reporting to the community what’s going on in the world around us. Now, don’t think for a minute that the people don’t know what’s going on because they do it’s just not easy for everyone to express themselves in this way. Poets on the other hand, like the African Griot not only teach, recite and bless the mic, they also document and keep the story straight. Although I identify strongly as a poet, I’ve been writing across genres lately trying my hand with success at short stories and nonfiction. In this regard I’m greatly inspired by the works of Langston Hughes and living poets Dr. Mary E. Weems and Askia M. Toure.

30 years from now, how do you want someone to describe your work?
We all know that the world of poetry can be high brow and elitist. Thirty years from now I want people to say that I rejected this absurd idea and chose instead to write about the cultural experiences of Black, brown and beige people in a language that is accessible, imaginative, relevant and truthful.

Margie Shaheed is a community poet, writer and teaching artist. Her work has been published in Essence Magazine, The Mom Egg Review, Black Magnolias, Femficatio, Split This Rock, Blackberry: A Magazine, Linden Avenue Literary Journal and Spector Magazine. She is the author of two chapbooks, MOSIC (NightBallet Press, 2013) and ONOMONOPOEIA (NightBallet Press, 2015). Her manuscript, The Playground (poems) is the winner of the 2014 Hidden Charm Press Chapbook Contest and will be published in June, 2015.
If you would like to order the chapbooks go to http://www.nightballetpress.com or if you’d like to contact Margie directly for readings or workshops email m_shaheed@yahoo.com


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