Poet’s Corner: Kamilah Aisha Moon

By Judith Clerjeune

Poets have the amazing gift of curating words in ways that render our most precious, ephemeral, painful and joyful moments to life once again. On the fourth Thursday of every month, Scarritt Bennett Center hosts Poet’s Corner, where a local poet reads their work. For the month of December, Kamilah Aisha Moon graciously shared her work with us. Kamilah Aisha Moon is a native of Nashville, TN. Her work has been featured in the Harvard Review, Oxford American and several other journals and anthologies. She has taught English and creative writing classes at several universities and has also led many arts-in-education workshops.

In her reading, Kamilah shared several poems from her collection of works, ranging from poems about Autism to recent political happening across the United States. Kamilah is a poet storyteller. In the start of her book titled She Has a Name, she states that her book is a “bimothography”. A term coined by Audre Lorde referring to poems and stories that are based on the combination of personal and communal stories. Kamilah’s poems are not just her poems; they are “our” poems. They are wonderful narratives that bring us back to memories long forgotten within our spirits. They are stories that pushed to places that our spirits have yet to imagine. As an audience member, I was truly blessed to be in the presence of a poet whose words had the power to bring forth emotions and memories that my spirit had long been evading. For me, poetry is way more than pretty words; it is a spiritual experience that enables me to fully step into my spirit and travel across the landscape of my memories and my emotions.

“The Vulnerable Leading the Vulnerable” by Kamilah Aisha Moon (pg. 69)

We worry over their safe passage through tomorrow, that dusky hole.

We pray in cars at stoplights,
on the couch, during holiday dinners and visit group homes.
We whisper over the caskets
of parents, as we close bedrooms doors at night
to keep them
from the ugliness
we face.

We send guardian angels—

please—sweep down in case our love isn’t enough.

This poem is for us. It carries us to that familiar space that we have all found ourselves at one time or another, that space that we often cannot name. For me, as a daughter who with each passing year seems to be taking on the worries of my parents, this poem name those emotions that I have often hid myself from. This is the work of poets; they are our guides into the inner realms of our spirits that we often refuse to approach.

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Poet’s Corner at Scarritt Bennet is a small and intimate affair once a month, but it is also a space where I believe, we have the opportunity to engage in the very intentional, hard and deeply rewarding work of traveling across the landscape of our selves. I hope that you will join me next time!