Victoria Davis

Let the Music Play

Southeast · Larchmere · Poetry

Deep breath in, deep breath out
This is what we do
We respond to life by returning to our nature
The authentic parts of us that must live
Quite literally I could walk down the street and see yogis in the grass
Reminding travelers to be kind
Festivals and parades
Farmers markets
Street sales
Art shows
It’s all needed
Summer breaks and student life
Intricately beaded
Many of us recycle because we believe in protecting the divine earth
Some of us walk
But most of us run because we see when we are needed
Social justice lives here
In a place that has seen a divide
Shaker or Cleveland
Which part are you from?
And why do we ask?
We all know better but better isn’t always accessible
History says we must remember our battles
Because many of them have not yet been won
So we continue to let the music play
Drummers, you hear them.
The African beats send waves of chills every time they come alive
If the instruments could talk
They might say, listen before you speak
They might say, don’t act before knowing the truth
Dog walkers take a look at what’s near
Families out for a stroll
And sometimes those who are hurting too
I’m glad that even when people are different
They can walk and talk and just be
That’s how it should be right?
They too get to let their music play
I can only imagine the way life was
Before integration allowed for more space
Though we have far to go, we still know how to live in the present
Because presently we need one another
Nature shows us this everyday
We walk down the street into troubled waters
We turn around to get relief through the hill of the upbeat
Equity says we all need a fair hill
Traveling through and through to the shaker square
A place of wonder yet simplicity
It feels warm and it feels cold depending on the day
When the Sunday bells ring
We are reminded to pray
Let’s all heal here
It’s what we deserve
Black lives matter
You’ll see on the windows of homes reflecting the hearts of people who want change
So although things are familiar
We know familiar is not always enough
So we keep creating
Even when the going gets tough
We let the music play
When others say stop
Because we know we need hope
And that’s all we’ve got.

Victoria Davis

Victoria Davis is a writer advocating for literacy, wellness and education for all.


Neighborhood Voices is a city-wide creative writing project designed by Literary Cleveland and the Cleveland Public Library to engage writers across Cleveland, allowing residents to connect with neighbors, share stories of their community, and draft new writing about what makes their neighborhood unique.


Cleveland Public Library
325 Superior Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44114

Project Created By Literary Cleveland

Literary Cleveland is a nonprofit organization and creative writing center that empowers people to explore other voices and discover their own. Through an expanding roster of multi-level classes, workshops and events, Literary Cleveland assists writers and readers at all stages of development, promotes new and existing literature of the highest quality, and advances Northeast Ohio as a vital center of diverse voices and visions.

Project Presented with Support By the Cleveland Public Library

Founded in 1869, Cleveland Public Library serves the residents of Cleveland through its network of 27 neighborhood branches, the Main Library downtown, Public Administration Library at City Hall, homebound delivery services, and mobile services to daycare and senior centers. From a collection of 10.5 million items, the Library lends over 5 million items a year to its 330,000 registered borrowers and to 43 other CLEVNET-member libraries in 12 counties across Northeast Ohio. Cleveland Public Library is home to the Ohio Center for the Book and the Ohio Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled, serving all 88 counties in the state of Ohio. For more information, visit