“praise poem” by DJ Sawyer
April 3, 2023
i praise my street smarts.
i praise the ability to tell right from wrong and knowing when to do the wrong things for the right reasons.
i praise my book smarts.
i praise my ability to form eloquent sentences with a metaphor and a simile that has everyone confused.
i praise my knowledge.
i praise my neurological pathways that fight pass my disorders and diagnosis.
i praise my hands.
i praise the hands that hold, create, destroy, and heal.
i praise my feet.
i praise the feet that walked astray of footsteps of my brother and are now running to my nephew can walk after me.
i praise my body.
i praise every lump, curve, hair, all my imperfections.
i praise the sky.
i praise the sky that has cleared on my darkest days to create a new one.
i praise my father.
i praise the father that raised me in a light that taught me how to forgive the people i cannot love.
i praise my mother.
i praise the mother that taught me what toxicity looks like and how to avoid it.
i praise my brother.
i praise the brother that gave me his passions to mold into my own.
i praise my sister.
i praise the sister that taught me that the baddest bitches aren’t always female.
i praise my melanin.
i praise the melanin that gives the blessing of eternal beauty in exchange of oppression.
the melanin that teaches me my desires.
the melanin that makes my imperfections perfect.
the melanin from my mother and father that my siblings and i share.
the melanin on my hands and feet.
i praise my eternal beauty.
i am eternal beauty.
DJ Sawyer wrote this poem while a student at Franklin High School, with WITS Writer-in-Residence Naa Akua. Performed at SAL’s Poetry Series event with Chris Abani at Rainier Arts Center on Monday, April 3, 2023.