Last night, I watched myself cry

Last night I watched myself cry,

Not some self-pitying cry, though there is plenty of space for that.

For the silly little things we want to cry for…weight loss, weight gain, mean people; racist people; sexist people; insensitive people, ignorant people.

It was not a self-pitying cry, though there is plenty space for that.

It was another cry.

A cry for the suffering of the universe.

My cry startled even me.

It started with a single solitary line lining my face.

Slowly streaming down to my cheek and chin.

A striking combination of silly and serious, that I am,

Even in the midst of my cry,

Me, myself, and I unknowingly started a conversation.

Me, curiously asking I: Is you crying?

I indignant: Why you asking? What you think?

Myself, with compassion: Girl, It’s all right. It is time.

It is time because I held a 19 month old angel with her wings in my arms named Grace and I had tears for her.

It is time because my cousin was handcuffed and harassed by the police with her son and 12 year old grandson, just trying to have a little respite, in Portsmouth, Virginia. We always think that police brutality happens to other people, other places.

It is time because my colleagues are suffering loss of lives, of aunts, of 2 month old babies, of fathers.

It is time because why why why can’t we do right by Breonna?

It is time because some allies are good and some are not.

It is time because the burdens are heavy,

The injustice mighty,

The needs insistent and persistent,

The expectations lofty.

It was time for A Good Cry, what Nikki’s book of poems is called.

Nikki writes:  “But crying cleanses

It will not be

All right.

So I must learn

To cry.”

Nikki says, “At times like these




Because it will not be all right.

Not all right, all the time, or any time soon.

And so we must properly cry.

And so, the solitary line became a stream – streaming sentences without words down my face

And then, it came.

I hadn’t heard it in so long,

The cry from the depth of my soul. A sound so startling

A sound soulful with sorrow.

Black women’s suffering has its own cry.

It is rarely a self-pitying cry, though there is always space for that.

It is a cry that reaches back and brings forth centuries of cries

From the Middle Passage,

From the cotton fields,

From the factories

From the beatings

From the dehumanization of womanhood

From the genetic transmission of trauma

It is a cry that combines the past and the present

It is, at its core, a revolutionary cry,

A gut wrenching cry for righteousness and justice to prevail

For burdens to be lifted

For children to talk to each other in the cafeteria of schools and not have to stare straight ahead and silently eat.

For zoom classrooms for students to be a distant memory

For hugs from friends

For handshakes

For seeing smiles no longer covered by masks

For Black Lives to Matter

For no child to really be left behind

For deserts to not be of food

though, we who are women warriors will not wilt,

We can and must,



Last night I watched myself cry- a revolutionary cry. Because we who are women warriors will not wilt, we must, though, as Nikki says "properly cry" every now and then because it is not all right, nor will it be all right, any time soon.

Posted by Menah Pratt-Clarke on Saturday, October 3, 2020

1 thought on “Last night, I watched myself cry”

  1. 😪thank you , Menah.
    Gigi, asked me today who the poet was who wrote this as she was very moved by it.

    “Menah”, I said.

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