This is not the first time Dasha Kelly Hamilton brought me to tears with her words. As a fan of hers for decades, I've seen her absolutely bare her soul through heartbursting words numerous times. But her latest effort, this spoken word piece called "414 (New) Day," is not only timely (Happy 414 Day), but perhaps her most powerful performance to date.
The 2 1/2 minute video – created by Samer Ghani from Imagine MKE and in partnership with Milwaukee Downtown – speaks to the reimagining of a new city and a reentry of its people after a long and isolating global pandemic. It reminds us of our resiliency akin to the slow and strong spreading of the Milwaukee Art Museum's "wings." It's reminds us we will emerge.
Among many other titles, Hamilton is currently the Wisconsin Poet Laureate and the Milwaukee Poet Laureate. She is the first African American woman to hold both positions simultaneously. If you want to read more about this self-described "creative change agent," check out this recent interview with her.
But for now, celebrate 414's beauty with this video:
414 (New) DAY
By Dasha Kelly Hamilton
Awakens the skin
Vibrates the air with promise
Like a distant song
arching its encore above the trees, above rooftop patios
Into our playgrounds alleyways and cafes
Where summer festivals, hugs and handshakes
Planted into memories like mustard seeds
While our timelines sprouted memorials, movements, viral
dance videos and pandemic disease
We will emerge from under this shroud
Each of us carrying forward a small corner
A thread of a Life stretched less tightly across muscles and frame
Where we’re going
Isn’t where we’ve been
Unease, foreign and familiar
All over again
And again we bake Maybe into Mission
Stir Elevation with Intuition
Lean into the hiss of electrical
currents coursing Inside our layered possibility
Prickles our excitement
Like the radiant sunrise
pouring its colors across the sky, splattering light against drugstore windows and busses
into our kitchens and morning cups of tea
We shine in natural light
In distilled mantras and memory
In fervent imagination and shared history
We have never been here all over again before
Creating new days
All over again
We are 414
Our new day is coming
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.