Somewhere There Is a Poem by Gina Loring

For the final day of National Poetry Month, we are proud to publish poet, vocalist, activist and professor Gina Loring’s layered, rhythmic works, celebrating multi-ethnic heritage, female empowerment and poetry changing the world.

My Grandmother’s Grandmother Said

I was having one of those days
when the world feels thick
and memories I wish I could forget
are front and center
hanging heavy in the air
like cement on my chest
I was having one of those days
when being alive feels like a chore
when just getting up and out the door
is too much
so I prayed
I got down on my knees
and my grandmother’s grandmother
began to speak to me  
she said,
listen: you are a meteor shower
meant for more
than you could even begin to imagine
you are made of light
limitless like the wind 
regal as the tallest oak that ever stood
she said, hear me good 
you are a shooting star
not for the concrete and traffic, 
smog and city streets 
you are meant for the sky 
not the broken promises
of this world, the sharp tongues
and shameless actions
cold blooded compassionless coercion
on every other corner
no, you are the moon
for only those who survive the darkest night
live to tell the story of the stars 
who live and live and live
to be reborn into their own greatness
again and again
getting wiser with every year
be grateful for time
growing older is a luxury 
ask Anne Frank 
ask Trayvon Martin
you’re alive girl
alive, alive on purpose for a purpose
you are here
through every low moment
you’ve lived through
you are here, breathing
nothing is strong enough
to put out the light you got within
that galaxy living in your chest 
baby girl I’ll say it again
you are a shooting star 
made of magic, never forget
God spoke you into existence
dreamt you into a body 
blessed the planet with your presence 
you ain’t nobody’s to claim 
you belong to the earth  
your breath your heart your spirit 
lives in the music moving  
somewhere behind the sun
singing songs of solidarity with the wind,
for Queens carry only themselves 
no baggage
no heavy hearts
freedom is yours alone
but you got to claim your throne
walk steady in your skin 
you are the answered prayers of your kin
the ancestors rejoice at your very existence
you are the open road we could never travel
the limitless midnight of our dreams 
divinely designed for a destiny
you can not even imagine 
I want you to imagine
somewhere off the coast of West Africa 
seven generations ago
seven generations ago
seven generations ago
they knew a girl-child would be born
many moons in the future 
who would be a gift unto the world 
they knew you were coming
don’t you see?
don’t you see?
you are who we knew you’d be
we’re pulling for you
but we need your help
you believe in God
but you don’t believe in yourself
when all along you are God 
that spirit spark is within you
get up off your knees
get up off your knees
get up off your knees
and be.

Somewhere There Is a Poem

Somewhere there is a poem.
Somewhere coiled around my love
but somber like the breeze on a cloudy day
on the edge of sound, within the crevice
between rational and emotion
huddled beneath the sound of laughter
is a poem.
I want to write this poem.
I want to speak this poem.
I want to feel this poem.
I want to experience this poem.
Cradle it in my arms, feed it a good meal
and send it on its merry way.
I want to sing this poem.
Somewhere there is a poem screaming Get up! Stand up, stand up for your rights!
Human beings human beings beings being
so caught up in the tangible, material, surfacel
that they never actually feel.
Their touch is liquid and grazes right through
but misses the core.
This poem whispers to me and rocks me to sleep
and tells me stories
of indigenous people
diseased and tricked and slaughtered
and made to be extinct.
But this ain’t no pterodactyl
or tyrannosaurus rex blood
flowing through my veins,
I am a Creek American Indian.
I exist.
I am an African.
I am an old Jewish woman
muttering prayers in Yiddish
as my name is replaced with a number on my arm.
I am a little Japanese girl staring in horror
as my village is bombed and burnt to the ground.
I was born in India but not to the right caste, so regardless of what I accomplish,
I will always be a peasant.
I died in Mexico three feet from the border,
gunned down by evil troops who
shoot for a living, who sacrifice their souls
for the man made boundaries of these Americas.
Somewhere there is a poem.
Somewhere dozing in subway stations
and flying high on the 405
and taking the L to Brooklyn
and the 15 to Vegas and
the MARTA through Atlanta and
cruising down a dark street in Oakland is a poem.
This poem comes from somewhere deep.
Somewhere where the angels sleep,
where pixies dance and mermaids weep
where hymns are hummed so God will keep
us all in mind on judgment day.
This poem warns but does not sway,
for what you do is up to you,
where you go and who you know,
if you close up or if you grow.
Somewhere there is a poem about the insanity
the derangement
the audacity
the utter barbarity of war:
Hiroshima Hiroshima Hiro
hero hero war hero hero hero
heroine is, crack cocaine is
the systematic genocide of my people.
Brown skin behind bars
locked up behind bars
trapped behind bars
enslaved behind bars
kept in line behind bars
counted behind bars
bars there are more bars
selling alcohol on a single reservation in Oklahoma
than in all of Ventura county county count me in,
cause I’m down for the revolution,
which may not be televised and may not get radio play,
but it will be told through poetry
because somewhere there is a poem.
This poem speaks to me and draws me in
like an amusement park to a kid.
I want to freak this poem and dream this poem
and share it with ya’ll
hold up shhhhhhh
I just did.

Both poems were performed by Gina Loring at Visionary Women‘s International Woman’s Day Awards, honoring activists, actors and sisters Patricia and Rosanna Arquette, on March 7, 2019. Published with permission of the author.


Of African American, Eastern European Jewish and Muscogee Creek Native American descent, Gina Loring alchemizes sociopolitical issues into art. As guest artist of the American Embassy under the Obama administration, she performed her poetry and music in more than 10 countries. She was featured on two De La Soul albums, two seasons of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, and has been commissioned to write poems honoring Quincy Jones and Prince. With a BA from Spelman College and an MFA from Antioch University Los Angeles, she is a Doctoral student in Educational Leadership and a professor in the Los Angeles Community College district. Additionally, she teaches poetry workshops with incarcerated teens and youth transitioning out of sex trafficking.