Entrée to Black Paris Blog

day break

Thursday, August 9th, 2018

day break

by Sekai Abeni

Augusta Savage was the daughter of a minister. She showed promise as an artist her whole life, but her God-fearing father believed that art was the devil’s work and forbade her to pursue it. At one point, she said her father almost beat the artist out of her.

However, later in her life she found her way back to creating. She studied in Paris from 1929-1931 and used her success as an artist to inspire other young artists. She is considered one of the leaders of the Harlem Renaissance.

This piece explores the moments of not creating - the conflict between art and religion, faith and spirit.

day break

I wish I could cut my fingertips off
and feed them to you at night
if darkness didn’t cling to me so tightly
i'm sure that you and I could make better lovers
but it does

and even when I long to be with you
my skin crawls away
and curls into a pile
that I wish I could wriggle into

I wish I could cut a lock of my hair
and put it in a ring to propose to you
but instead I shave my head and welded it to your image

I wish that night ended earlier
so I could go to bed at day break
I wish creation stalked happiness
but instead it warms to sadness
creativity is reflected in hollowness

no matter how well I create
Blackness clings to me
and womanhood entangles me
I am nothing without these fingertips

and yet they betray me
pull me back to you
even when I’ve bitten them off
and fried them for dinner

they find their way back to you
and we become once again

and like true love
I am bound to you

you and I will be lovers
until day break
once again

Augusta Savage posing with her sculpture Realization

Augusta Savage posing with her sculpture, Realization ca. 1938
Archives of American Art