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FEATURED POET

for the mothers who did the best they could
by Caribbean-American Poet Aja Monet

she does not know we are sisters
even it be years we don't speak
on my spirit, sacred as a smile that survives
a good cry, i hold her close

just before the sun rests
on a building, across the water
spills a shoulder on the street
and we lean on love for the first time

in a long while, since two open palms ago
praying or holding a framed memory
i am somebody's daughter again,
i speak like i belong in her echo,

i watch chaos control a heart,
a wild repression from a distance
loving everybody
from a distance

ease me from spending too much time
with my likeness
from a distance
the cross-fire carnival of childhood

reappearing images
a pinch in every dream
silent as a paper cut
from a distance

a single mother alone
making do with what may
what madness comes of survival of the fittest
if spirits prove we reach beyond

can we love at a distance?
i am rueful and wicked to wait
so long before touching my mother
this soft like i lay our avenue down

for her feet and we walk toward the bus
a skyline humming in our hug
embracing the drops between us
i have kept each tear

never fully fallen
choosing this dimpled
woman as a portal
what i meant was

i am vulnerable
i am daughter
if i do not hear
my mother's laughter

it could go years
every room is a prison
every love is a lie
every friend is a foe

i cannot tell the difference
between her wailing and mine
my mother does not know
we are sisters


SOURCE: My Mother Was a Freedom Fighter by Aja Monet,
published by Haymarket Books, Chicago, Illinois, USA, 2017.

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Poetry Corner

ARCHIVES
FEATURED POETS

BRAZIL

CARIBBEAN
GUYANA

UNITED STATES
AJA MONET is a Caribbean-
American poet, performer, and
educator. Of Cuban-Jamaican
descent, she was born in 1987
in Brooklyn, New York, where
she grew up.

After earning a Bachelor's of
Arts degree in Liberal Arts, she
received a Master of Fine Arts in
Creative Writing from the
School of the Art Institute of
Chicago in 2011.

Monet has been awarded the
Andrea Klein Willison Prize for
Poetry and the Nuyorican Poets
Café Grand Slam title.

Her first full poetry collection,
My Mother Was a Freedom
Fighter
(2017) was nominated
for a 2018 NAACP Literary
Award for Poetry. In 2019, she
was awarded the Marjory
Stoneman Douglas Award for
Poetry for her work in South
Florida.

Monet is a cofounder of Smoke
Signals Studio, a political safe-
haven for artists and organizers
in Little Haiti, Miami. She
facilitates the workshop,
"Voices: Poetry for the People,"
in collaboration with
Community Justice Project and
Dream Defenders

Monet has emerged as a voice
for justice against police
violence and violence against
women. Her poems also critique
capitalism and men who make
war.

She currently lives in Miami,
Florida, where she is working on
her next poetry collection,
Florida Water.

A poet’s power is in our abilities to tell the truth and use
everything in our poetic arsenal to shift the conditions
of the poor, abused, and oppressed. To balance the
scales of justice. Language and literature liberates. It
transforms imagination and therein reality.
~ AJA MONET IN HER REMARKS "FOR THE PEOPLE" PUBLISHED ON
HER WEBSITE.

Poetry taught me how to listen. I am most free writing a
poem because it’s when I am fearless. I contribute. I
participate. John F. Kennedy once said something rather
beautiful when speaking on Robert Frost, "When power
corrupts, poetry cleanses." There has to be more ways
of fighting back or acquiring power, I feel like poetry is
one of them.
~ AJA MONET IN HER 2018 INTERVIEW WITH OLGA M. SEGURA FOR
THE
SHONDALAND MAGAZINE.
MY MOTHER WAS A
FREEDOM FIGHTER
POETRY
COLLECTION

AJA MONET

HAYMARKET BOOKS
CHICAGO - ILLINOIS - USA
2017