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What I've Witnessed


My experience with Community-Word Project's Teaching Artist Training & Internship Program (TATIP), thus far, has been invigorating and enlightening. Through the constant intermixing of poetry, movement, song, and reflection I am grateful to have been accepted into TATIP.

There are trainings that have the reputation of being dull, lecture-style, and time consuming. On the contrary, TATIP keeps me attentive, inquisitive, and moving! I really appreciate all of the physical activities that are incorporated into the lessons. Specifically, with these movement-based activities, I noticed that it demands everyone's minds and bodies to be present. In addition to this, the constant modeling of concepts by the facilitators have allowed me to leave each training with an array of new skills and perspectives to implement into my curriculum writing and facilitation style.

Of all the trainings, the most memorable took place in the home of Langston Hughes. What a privilege it was to be in the home of a leader that has impacted, inspired, and cultivated poets, such as myself, who write as a medium to liberation. During the opening ritual, Heidi Miller facilitated an activity that encompassed free writing, poetry, and symbolic movement. As a way to establish the sacredness of the space, we looked around the entire room and developed a question for the house. My question was, "What was the most significant work you have witnessed?”. Followed by this question was a spectrum of thoughts: I wondered if he wrote on paper and then typed his poems on his typewriter. I wondered if he threw away the scraps or crumbled them beforehand. I thought about if he played his piano when he would experience writer's block.

All of these thoughts led me to write a poem titled "Langston." This piece was inspired by his poem we covered in this training, titled "I, too, am America."

"Langston" by Rabih Ahmed Thank you for your mark on this world Your magic transcends the windows of this home What a blessing it is to be in your presence To be under your light

I looked at homes differently that day I wondered of the masterpieces the walls have held The couplets the lights have shined under The metaphors the stairs have touched How the floors felt the vibrations and melodies of the piano Pulled all-nighters with that typewriter Thank you for you contribution Your bravery To stand up against the background of the world’s whiteness The same whiteness that is infiltrating your beloved Harlem Unapologetically come down Call to center The eminent power of words The divinity resting in ink I have no idea of the impact I will make with my poetry But through you I see The possibilities resting within the impossible Your legacy shines on The sun shined to left of your living room The huge mirrors We’re constant reminders Of my sufficiency That I, too, am America I, too, am Poet Without formal training Not a creative writing class under my belt Not a poem published But my words, too, are infinite And are words of your generation and beyond I, too, seek to send those vibrations Similar to those from your piano With metaphors, in-line rhymes, slang That steeps just as deep as the keys in your typewriter I, too, am a product of my ancestors I pay homage through this work Poetry is my muse My medium to liberation My road to imagination I imagined how you crafted away Built a nation within your stanzas And established a legacy Right here in this home Langston Hughes I thank you

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