Imani Sims

Ghazal for Persist



The lights keep talking about a leaving.

They say there are bones too buried to dig up.


Alone, she never quite remembers her name.

So she tattoos, to index finger, letters she never digs up.


Her mouth rattles empty, soundless echoes become home.

The lock, sharpened ivory, puncture ready spells to dig up.


Head low, limbs limp, she slouches against seat.

Contemplates the shreds, gathers them piece by piece, she digs up.


Sips, long slow drags from wet palette martini glass,

Supple lipped, Amethyst, remember tomorrow always comes to dig up.

Riding in Cars with Black Girls Or
Pantoum for Police



Head nod magic trance

Ocean blue afro magic

Blow smoke signals back

Survival wasn’t optional: past.


Ocean blue Afro magic

Bounces to bass anthem

Survival wasn’t optional past

This moment of succulence.


Bounces to bass anthem

Speakers dictate hip wind

This moment of succulence.

Truth seeping out bone.


Speakers dictate hip wind

Survival wasn’t optional past

This moment of succulence.

Head nod magic trance.


IMANI SIMS is a bourbon-loving Seattle native who spun her first performance poem at the age of fourteen. She believes in the healing power of words and the transformational nuance of the human story.  Imani works to empower youth and adults through various writing courses and interdisciplinary shows all over the nation. She is a 2016 Artist Trust and CityArtist Grant recipient, current Kitchen Sessions Curator: a performance art collaboration with Central District Forum for Arts and Ideas, Writer for On the Boards, 2016/2018 Gay City Arts Fellow and 2017 Center on Contemporary Arts Artist in Residence. Her book (A)live Heart is available on Sibling Rivalry Press.