top of page

Watch Me Rise by Shirley Jones Luke

Watch Me Rise

after Maya Angelou

I do not know what

history will write about me,

I am already bitter, lies

twisting around my body

like vines, dirt stains

on my back from those

who disregard my person

Upset by my sassiness,

society labels me a threat,

my profession an embarrassment,

angry that I do not surround

myself with their gloomy aura,

I surround myself with Black gold,

men & women of the diaspora,

wearing crowns glowing

like moons & suns, certain

in their Blackness just

like the tides

I am often broken,

but not bowed, lowering

my head to only one

God not man, who cry

for my obedience

Let me be haughty,

I will continue to offend,

as I dance in my backyard,

listening to my soul sing

I don't fear your hate

I will dodge your bullet words

I look into your eyes

& watch them grow in surprise

The temple of my thighs

closed to all intruders

my sexiness is not a prize

to be placed on a shelf

Watch me rise

a Black woman dreaming

Watch me rise

a daughter of the continent

Watch me rise

a rip current in the ocean

controlling the tides

Watch me rise

Watch me rise

Watch me


Shirley Jones Luke

Shirley Jones Luke is a poet and writer, Ms. Luke resides in Boston, Massachusetts. Shirley has an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College. Her work focuses on culture, family, and society.  She has attended writing workshops all around the world, including in Paris. Shirley is working on her poetry manuscript.


bottom of page