Cincinnati Poetry Month Daily: Freedom by Desirae Hosley

I look forward to reading with Desirae “The Silent Poet” Hosley on tomorrow, April 5, at noon at Cincinnati State’s first Poetry Month reading. She is many things—poet, activist, mentor, WordPlay Cincy teaching artist, my friend—but silent, she is not!  Desirae lives in Mt Healthy.



Lift every voice and sing
How can one honor a land who captured my ancestors before knowing they could be free?
Yet tears shed for those chosen to fight for freedom
Because they are told they are brave
Blood shed on the very land represented by each line/strip
Paraded by stars that slaves wish upon to be freed
Yet I’m suppose to be free
Laughed upon because I barely know my history
Which was pushed/ held back
And the only representation you have of me
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
But I’m free
So black history month can pride upon those who came before us
Malcolm X
Those who found our freedom
Harriet Tubman
Those who showed us we could be anything we want to be
President Barack Obama
So yes I’m free
With voice of not only hope and faith
But doing the work that needs to be done
Well by being the minority
Yet I can do anything
Because those who went through the trials and tribulations to prove
Planting this seed of possibility can come true
So yes I’m free
I don’t need to be handled by negro spirituals, or whippings, or work that paved the way for me to stand here FREE
Enlightenment of freedom
This soil, this cotton, the breeding of your animals, land
Which in hindsight is mine
My ancestors did the work
So I could find pride in this land
So yes I’m free
There is no need to explain a pain that reflects your humanity
African American
Yet my heritage is unknown
Black being the shade that reflects my representation
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us;
Sing a song full of the hope that present has brought us
Facing the raising of our new day begun
Reflectively stated, see I’m that generation
Not afraid to hold back my tongue
Knowing that our ancestors wanted more than RIP shirts and us mourning the deaths of those with their hands up
Turning in their grave due to the marches they hear
Knowing we should be One
And not divided
Yet the Revolution is being Televised
And shared, going viral
So we are the demise of taking two steps forward just to go backwards
Trumping a civilization
With anger and hate
Yet I was taught love
Being told I am not from here
But I was born here
Being told that I am ignorant
Yet my education proceeds your
But I was taught love
Nothing can break me
Because we were built strong
Nothing can break me
Because I was taught faith
Nothing can break me
Because I stand on the land of the free
Nothing can break me
I will not be broken by one man
Because I know we are equal
So as I stand
Over the land of the free
I will be brave.

Desirae “The Silent Poet” Hosley with lyrics from Lift Every Voice & Sing and Star Spangled Banner


Author: Pauletta Hansel

Pauletta Hansel is a poet, memorist, teacher and editor. On April 15, 2016 she was named Cincinnati's first Poet Laureate. Pauletta is author of five poetry collections, Tangle (Dos Madres Press, 2015), The Lives We Live in Houses (Wind Publications, 2011), What I Did There (Dos Madres Press, 2011), First Person (Dos Madres Press, 2007) and Divining (WovenWord Press, 2002). Her poetry has been featured recently in journals including Talisman, Now & Then: The Appalachian Magazine, Appalachian Journal, Atlanta Review, Postcards Poems and Prose and Still: The Journal, and anthologized in Listen Here: Women Writing in Appalachia; Motif: Come What May; and Motif: All the Livelong Day. Pauletta leads community poetry workshops and retreats in the Greater Cincinnati area and beyond, and has served as Writer-in Residence at Thomas More College in her native Kentucky. She is a co-editor of Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, the literary publication of Southern Appalachian Writers Cooperative. Pauletta received her MFA from Queens University of Charlotte.

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