All throughout the African Diaspora
the Spirit is manifest
as an exodus of human souls
dispersed the world around
with a common purpose
carrying a certain rhythm
in the souls of the people
A uniquely syncopated African breath that is
individual and collective
African, Caribbean, Afro-American, Latino and Latina
An exodus rhythm of
dislocation, displacement, dispersal, exile
sometimes erasure—not often return—
a syncopated cycle
of breath for the African Diaspora
What happens when the rhythm is disrupted?
Keeping in time with the rhythm
of exodus is essential breath
for an African Diaspora whose
survival depends on
with this rhythm
which dictates the
movement of a people
through a wilderness toward becoming
more divine after
We keep with the rhythm lest the cycle stop!
Wisdom chooses to keep time
with the rhythm of this world order
which was predestined by the colonizers
when they decided
who will be “the first” and
who will be “the last”
For black bodies, for “the last,”
who refuse to be dislocated
the cycle stops at erasure
What does this movement reveal,
what revelation does it conceal?
Could we ever divine its divine purpose?
Perhaps it is the colossal dislocation
of the African Diaspora
that is in due time to create
a sustained, stabilizing
rhythm for all of humanity
But at what cost?
But at what cost?
About the Poem:
Imagine Spirit in the African Diaspora as the manifestation of an exodus journey. Now think of how different society would be if the people of the African continent had not been dispersed around the world. One might wonder if the dislocation of people of color from their native lands holds a deeper meaning. In today’s turbulent, politically polarizing times, people of color in the United States are being asked yet again to take another exodus journey. But this time they are being asked to “go back” to the countries they originally came from. In keeping with the rhythm of the Spirit that indwells—people of color should know they have nothing to fear. We have been here before. And God has never abandoned or forsaken us. As people of color, we are in the process of becoming who we must be to meet the political challenges of this season. We must keep pace with the rhythm of resistance to racism and xenophobia until this exodus cycle stops once and for all.
Sharon Kimberly Williams is an arts and letters doctoral candidate in The Caspersen Graduate School of Drew University where she is pursuing a joint degree with the Drew Theological School in the Studies in Religion and the Fine Arts. Her research interests include Spirituality and Healing in the Arts and Music Therapy in Biblical Antiquity. The themes of pain, love, beauty, and lament that occur in her writing are based on her studies in the fields of music and theology, Africana poetics, and Hebrew poetry. Sharon has performed music and poetry all around the world. Currently, she is working on publishing her first collection of poetry entitled, Breath|Voice|Fire. She serves as a contributor to Harvard Medical School’s Global Health Catalyst, an initiative that advocates for eliminating global health disparities. Sharon resides in Madison, New Jersey.