Seattle Histories: Pieces of Promenade

Historic preservation in Seattle begins with community. The Seattle Histories storytelling project highlights the places, people, and events that have shaped the history of Seattle’s communities. These stories, told by community members, emphasize experiences and narratives that may have been overlooked or misrepresented in our city.

Pieces of Promenade

by Leija Farr

I’ll give my children the dreams,

the streaks of maroon.

The glimpses of red apples.

The recollections of light, even if broken.

Gaped.

Hyphenated.

They will only imagine the sand colored brick,

the incessant shimmer of the store sign.

Only now their mother will tell them the religion of oil.

Praise the puckered thighs of the chicken,

the rigid craters and balanced spices.

Praise the wedges of potatoes,

creasing and quaking skin.

All wed with oil.

All loved by the bodies that summered in the parking lot.

Praise the Black mouth.

Praise the longing for blackened grease that made us glisten for days.

Long this ritual.

My children will long the crumbs.

They will long a polished floor that gave us reflections.

They will mourn a place that their mother tells them about.

I believe that this is being Black. I believe we are always longing.

Passing down a lineage of dust,

becoming mothers and fathers who raise the dust.

They will only make up the windows,

dream the ivory bone in the fingers of children who drew borders in it.

When I speak of the Promenade, I just hope they can believe.

That they remember this place intact and full of produce.

That this building will come back to them as a smile,

as love,

as sunshine,

as home.

young Black woman in a red turtleneck sweater. she is wearing red glasses and smiling at camera.
Leija Farr is a literary artist from South Seattle. In 2015, she served as the first Seattle Youth Poet Laureate and since then has shown her outstanding abilities within the arts scene with her passion for social justice. Since she was always interested in writing, it came as no surprise that she would curate poetry workshops and become a published author of the manuscript Outweigh the Gravity. She has been featured as a person to look out for in Essence Magazine and has opened shows for revolutionaries such as Angela Davis and Saul Williams. Leija is currently working on her next book entitled A Home for the Fruits to Bruise.

This piece was commissioned by the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. The opinions expressed and information contained herein do not necessarily reflect the policies, plans, beliefs, conclusions, or ideas of the City of Seattle.

Learn more about the City of Seattle’s Historic Preservation program and how you can get involved at seattle.gov/neighborhoods/historic-preservation.