A watercolor illustration of a Black woman, with tendrils of her hair drifting across and away from her face toward the right of the frame

POETRY | Tell Me Again

by Noni Ervin


(Inspired by Mr. Delbert Richardson’s “1619: Resistance/Resilience/Remembrance/Liberation” exhibit, November 2021 to January 2022, for the City of Seattle Arts & Culture, ARTS at King Street Station.)

Tell me again
About my melanin skin
And how my story began
On the soil, rich with minerals and precious stones
Hot dirt, clay, and sand.

Tell me again
About my intricate hair
Markings and symbols that speak of my kin
Shells, gold and silver, red-yellow and orange.

Tell me again
About my amazing skill
Mapping the stars and ocean currents
Drawing and documenting the times
Preserved on walls and held by our griots.

Tell me again
About architecture and Kemetstry
Healing practices and metallurgy
Exquisite tapestries and geometric precision
Monuments that nearly touch the sky.

Tell me again
About my glorious imagination
Inventing traffic lights and the ice cream scoop
Patents upon patents and engineering sketches
Problems noted and solved with my creative genius.

Tell me again
About my melanin skin
Never starting with ships or chains or shackles
Go back to the Continent, in the garden
Mother Africa, where we all begin.


Noni Ervin is a Pacific Northwest native. She serves on the Leadership Council of Seattle’s African-American Writers’ Alliance and has contributed to Mother.ly Magazine. She is a published author of poetry, as well as the eight-book Kinara Park Kids ® miniseries. Noni also has more than 30 years of experience in business management and strategic development, specializing in helping businesses and organizations grow in capacity rapidly. She met her husband of 20 years at Seattles Seward Park and the rest is history. They have two sons and have taken up cycling in recent years. Noni is currently working on her next two books.

📸 Featured image by Anna Ismagilova/Shutterstock.com.

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