A poem for 'Black Bois' May 1, 2018

by Imani Sims

 Naomi Ishisaka)

A response to Dani Tirrell: Black Bois (Apr 26–29 at On the Boards) (Photo: Naomi Ishisaka)


We are the gatekeepers,
swallowed key lineage
budding on black top
stages, a wooded breath
covered in midnight shade,
the full moon an omen
of ancestors who mourn
the lost stories.

When thinking of the body, I think of the moments passed with each breath:

You cannot go to the god you love with your two legs:

This reminds me of the upright snake,
Christopher Cat noticed the 7 chakras
Aligned up spine, I wonder
If this was his way of teaching kids
That animals have souls too
And do not judge the snake,
A wise worshipper of moon,
Erect monument to kundalini
Coil in all its brilliance unfurled,

What of a god found in the grass
Or against sand
Or against cement
Or against grafittied tiles
In a New York subway,

What of a god you can see
But cannot touch, every breath
Of that being a prayer to its own
Lungs, a thank you to the wind for
Undulating unseen but wholly present.

If I cannot go to the god I love with my own two legs,
I’ll build a pair out of cedar,
Make forests of cement, shake the ground 
With roots and deposit life on exhale.



Imani Sims is a bourbon-loving, stiletto-wearing, Seattle native who spun her first performance poem at the age of fourteen. Her book (A)live Heart is available on Sibling Rivalry Press


On the Boards Ambassadors are cultural and civic leaders who bring new voices and perspectives and share our programs with new communities. 

The Ambassador Writers Corps is a team of experienced writers and artists who develop responsive and critical content around On the Boards performances or write about specific issues in our creative and civic community.