The Canadian Literature Centre Student Poetry Prize Winner is Céline Caruso Dixon
As a contest partner, the Edmonton Poetry Festival is thrilled to announce Céline Caruso Dixon as the winner of the Canadian Literature Centre Student Poetry Prize.
Céline Caruso Dixon recently completed her third year as a Political Science student at the University of Alberta. Her passion for social justice movements has brought her to participate in many associations and groups, including serving as a previous President for the Black Students Association at the U of A. She is also the founder of ZION, an open mic series in Edmonton that is a healing space for all, specializing in poetry, performance art, and music.
Read Céline Caruso Dixon’s winning poem below.
When Honey Drips
Let the melanin drip like honey down my body
Broad noses, Thick lips, Curly hair
Trust me when I tell you that Black beauty
That this melanin, is power
They told us you need to straighten your hair without ever recognizing that our curls
Told the paths of freedom braided into our scalps
The blood of our ancestors run through us
The melanin drips from us like honey
Let me explain to you what privilege looks like because black bodies know the word
As it rolls off our tongue and caresses our thoughts
We have never felt warmth in its presence
I foolishly screamed “SAY IT LOUDER FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE BACK”
My mistake, you see we have always been told to get to the back they have taken over the front seat
I do not need to say it to the people who already understand what it means.
And our melanin drips a little darker, now mingled with red
You see our beauty is defined with in our pain I’m sure you see the trends
The box brains, the long nails, The hoops, The use of vernacular
I’m sure you see the similarities between us and these trends
Our beauty wasn’t meant to be commodified, our beauty, our culture, our presence
Let me tell you the joys of being Black
One: Our food is made through loving hands, coloured with spices of distant lands some turned into our home
Two: Our hair. A symbol of beauty. My Afro puff, bantu knots, cornrows, wraps, weaves, wigs and more my hair is not a symbol for you to touch. I don’t know where your hands have been anyways
Three: Vernacular. We speak in a way that symbolizes our history. Our ability to code switch has nothing to do with us and everything to do with you.
Four: Thick lips came naturally for us we speak with power and love even harder, we were conditioned to look at them as a Nuisance as we watch lip fillers become popular
Five: Our culture. Broad and wide we have adapted to create culture where ever we are. We are from the world. African, Caribbean, African American, Afro Latin our culture although diverse showcases the beauty we have.
And our melanin drips as if it was glowing
Trust me when I tell you that black beauty that our melanin is powerful
Black hymns run through us and formulate jazz blues rock and roll rap rhythm and blues
Our voices despite being pushed down have thrived and only become louder
And our melanin drips for longer
When I tell you our beauty has come from pain
Take a look at our history
You don’t need to go that far
Last summer was another showcasing of our blackness becoming pain
We stand with them
George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmed Aubrey
And the thousands of others
If cameras weren’t around would you believe us
And our melanin drips tingling off our finger tips
Like honey it is sweet to the taste
It has history, it has culture, it is beauty
When I tell you our Blackness is beautiful
I don’t say it to reassure myself because of our history
I say it because Blackness is the embodiment of beauty
And we will forever let our melanin drip like dark honey from our fingertips.