By Ashanté Ford
Artist Statement: The poems The Bridge and Insanity both characterize me as a builder. This can be interpreted as a metaphor for the healing process; we set a base, climb some steps and rebuild what was torn down. This me being honest with the process and letting it be known, that it’s possible for the process to tear you down. People love to monetize healing and push it into the category of “love & light” but the reality is that healing can not stop. It lasts a lifetime. It’s as ugly as it is beautiful and self-care cannot just relinquish that anger, fear or sadness you may harbor. I wanted to focus on less attractive emotions and sentiments in my pieces that align with guarding your heart and cursing “God.” Allow these poems to burrow into every wound, every crack and crevice- let them run deep. Let them.
-Ashante J. Ford
I ask myself: “Am I free?”
“Do I bare the chains of my vices and relish in resentment?”
I built a fence.
I seperated my sanity from in-
I let the shackles slip away from me in my private times with God.
The God I know taught me forgiveness.
Although that forgiveness came in the form of taking shit,
Biting my tongue, Holding back. A bunch of long lists.
It told me to digest the hurt-
It told me to free the hurt by separation so
I built a fence.
Separated my sanity from in-
Then I started a revolt.
Climbed out of my body that was run by puppeteers that told me I couldn’t.
Ran away from my thoughts,
Began to shove them out through my ears and fell victim to a
I ask myself: “am I free?”
I cut the backs of my heels, let them bleed wherever I would step,
I gave a name to my abusers, I called them “lovers”
The lovers found their way with me.
We kissed during my “in” period and mingled with lack-luster ideas of romance.
A game of hide-n-seek.
I ran from myself.
Sanity became my vice in my times with God.
“How could you let them hurt me?”
I screamed at the sky.
I broke down the fence.
I kicked it hard, it left a splinter in my foot.
Made sure the garden of sanity was fucked up when I came in.
I gawked at the “perfect” side of myself while holding “in” close to my left side.
I stood a mirror in front of me.
Got down on both knees-
Recited the Holy Trinity.
Lifted myself up by my collar.
Screamed. Shouted. Whined. Cried.
Shameless. I was.
Shameless I was not.
I spat at the ground-
Held my fist up to sky then
I left “in” and “sanity” behind that day.
Never looked back.
But I kept God in the front pocket of my tee-shirt.
I forgave everyone.
The Lovers, The Fence, God, In, Sanity.
Then I looked in the mirror and
– She understands that the hurt is not allowed to lie dormant in her vessel