The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Soul Sister Revue: A Poetry Compilation by Cynthia Manick

Keisha-Gaye Anderson

Be fabulous
I mean,
stand up and say
I am
without words
know that
you are moonlight
pushing aside the night
a hearth warming
chests into a wave of motion
when grief slowly siphons breath
No need to scream about
what is not
or lament
the crazy
of they —
the oldest tale of
hungry chasing its tail
We are older,
before all that
buying and selling
Reluctant or not,
we are
creators of culture
purveyors of cool
distilled diamonds
ditching the dirt
of a thousand long marches
through manacles
cane and cotton
assembly lines
back doors only
first-name nannies
wet nurses whose own kids
rocked with rickets
medical guinea pigs
men who are always boys
who are made the blame
for a leaky economy
built like a sieve
in seismic ground
We been around long enough
to know
that no man
put salt in the ocean
that Nat Turner
was speaking to God himself
as himself
and then made those two selves
agree to proceed
with an overdue lesson
We are to lead
even reluctantly
time breathes in
and out
on a scale the mind
can’t measure
but which the soul sees
and plots a journey
of light
a path up and out for those
trapped inside the smallness
of things
a gracious door of salvation
out of ignorance
Don’t spend time
trying to convince me
or her or them
you’re fabulous
just BE
what you already

This selection comes from the book, Soul Sister Revue: A Poetry Compilation, available from Jamii Publishing.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Nilsa Rivera.

Cynthia Manick is the author of Blue Hallelujahs (Black Lawrence Press) and editor of Soul Sister Revue: A Poetry Compilation (Jamii Publishing, 2019). She has received fellowships from Cave Canem, Hedgebrook, MacDowell Colony, and Château de la Napoule among others. Winner of the Lascaux Prize in Collected Poetry, Manick was awarded Honorable Mention for the 2019 Furious Flower Poetry Prize. She is Founder of the reading series Soul Sister Revue; and her poem “Things I Carry Into the World” was made into a film by Motionpoems, an organization dedicated to video poetry, and has debuted on Tidal for National Poetry Month. A performer at literary festivals, libraries, universities, and most recently the Brooklyn Museum, Manick’s work has appeared in the Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day Series, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere. She currently serves on the Editorial Board of Alice James Books. Jamii Publishing can be reached via Twitter at

Keisha-Gaye Anderson is a Jamaican-born poet, author, and visual artist. She is the author of Gathering the Waters (Jamii, 2014) and Everything Is Necessary (Willow, 2019). Keisha’s poetry, fiction, and essays have been widely published in national literary journals, magazines, and
anthologies that include Small Axe Salon, Kweli Literary Journal, Renaissance Noire, The
Killens Review of Arts and Letters, Mosaic Literary Magazine, African Voices Magazine, The
Mom Egg Review, and others. Keisha received the Editors’ Choice recognition for the
Numinous Orisons, Luminous Origin Literary Award for Poetry (Agape Editions)
for her poetry collection A Spell for Living. Keisha is a past participant of the VONA
Voices and Callaloo writing workshops, and was short-listed for the Small Axe Literary
Competition. She holds an MFA in creative writing from The City College, CUNY.

Nilsa Rivera writes about gender and diversity issues. She’s also the Managing Editor of The Wardrobe for Sundress Publications. Nilsa’s work appeared in the Huffington Post, 50 GS Magazine, Six Hens Literary Journal, Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies, and Selkie Literary Magazine. She lives in Riverview, Florida with her husband, son, and other multi-species family members.


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