Basement Poetry Presents: “The Freedom Dream” by kiki nicole

Let me compare myself to my black ass self:
-Thiahera Nurse

“The Freedom Dream”

There is a queerness to my survival—I will live a long, Black life—Let
me water my feet—In that, I grow storms—My hands reach out to meet me
My throat opens in my throat—I wade in the wash of myselves—Compare
that to a summer’s day — The dark lineage of all who I have come from and myself—
All I will birth—Those I am talking for and with and after and to
in all these damn poems—To whom I owe my
Enough-ness—The Black Queer and Trans and Nonbinary and Women folk my Black
yearns to make sanctuaries for—In all these damn poems—One big ass
demonic ground—We irrigate by blood—Sink and just Be—Wade in the wash of our Self.


1 This poem is an example of a Glowing Shovel, an alternative to Terrance Hayes’s Golden Shovel form, in which the last word of each line forms a pre-existing poem or lines, specifically from the work of Gwendolyn Brooks. The Glowing Shovel is a riff on that form I learned from taking a workshop facilitated by poets Simone Person and Rachel Wiley at the Pink Door Writing Retreat in 2019. The last word of each line in this piece forms this line from Thiahera Nurse’s poem, “Some Girls Survive on their Sorcery Alone”: “Let me compare myself to my black ass self…”

2 Demonic Grounds is a book title and term coined by Katherine McKittrick to negotiate Black women’s geographies as meaningful sites of political opposition.

About kiki nicole:

kiki nicole (they/them) is a Black, Queer, and Non-binary multimedia artist and poet. They’ve received invitations to fellowships such as Pink Door Writing Retreat, In Surreal Life, The Watering Hole, and Winter Tangerine. nicole is the co-curator and collaborator of the first and the last, an experimental film and new-media project which seeks to archive and reverse gatekeeping in the film community for the work of Black femmes, women, and Trans and Non-binary artists.

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