Andrea Gibson’s Poem: “Privilege is Not Having to Think About It.”

Standard

Here is one of my favorite feminist poets Andrea Gibson. In “Privilege is Not Having to Think About It” she addresses the harsh reality of the continual while male privilege through recounting her experience of working with a black poet.

Privilege is Never Having to Think About it
Touring with a Black Poet-for Sonya Renee

She steps out of the hotel bathroom dressed to the nines, stilettos sharp in her glossy glossy
elegant tailored boom glittering a bold burgundy neckline
Locks her shining eyes in the worn Tshirt I haven’t changed in days and says “are you going to wear that on stage?”
I smile, gloating in the cool of my gritty apathy, the oh so thrift store of my dirty grunge
She says ‘honey, do you have any idea how much privilege it takes to think it is cool to dress poor? You wear that dirty shirt; you are a radical saving the world. I wear that dirty shirt and I am a broke junkie thief getting followed around every store

That conversation happened years ago
On the same tour where Sonya watched me pay 75 bucks to have my haircut in a way that would make me look like quote “I couldn’t afford a haircut”

The same tour that began the day after I was the feature performer at a university’s women of color symposium
No. I did not ask whether or not they should feature a woman of color instead.
Yes. I got paid.
I’m pretty sure it was a good paycheck.

Just like I’m pretty sure someone licked the paycheck when Trayvon Martin’s gun range targets got sold out in two days
I know those things are not exactly the same

I know I wanted to burn every noose white seam of our cotton flag when Trayvon Martin’s mother was on the witness stand trying to convince a jury of mostly white mothers that she could actually recognize the sound of her own son’s scream

I know I wanted to split the fucking sky when I heard the whip of the verdict and Sonya had posted online
“How many different ways can this country tell me I am worthless”

I know it was right then that I walked upstairs and started counting the hoodies in my closet
I have fourteen
hoodies that tell me I will never be forced to dress a wound as deep as my mothers heart
She will never be woken in her sleep to peel my body off gated grass
To beg God to sow the hole in my chest

I know my family will never have to hear justice say it wasn’t until I was lying in my casket that I was wearing the right clothes

I know a woman who once knew a woman who collected the metal collars they used to lock around the necks of black children to chain them to the auction block
I was told she hung them on the walls of her home for decoration
I remember when I used to believe that was the entire definition of racism

Believed there was no one hanging in my wardrobe
Believed my style had nothing in common with king Leopold’s
Thought I am not outfitting the Congo in spilled blood
I am just buttoning up my shirt here
I am just rolling up my sleeves
I am not unstitching the face of Emmett Till
I am not unzippering the wail of his mothers grief
The laces of my shoes are just the laces of my shoes
They could not tie a body to a tree.
I am not fashioning a noose here.
Sonya, do you hear me?
My compassion is not a costume
My passivity is not hate
My privilege is not genocide
This is just how I cut my hair
That was just how they cut the cheque
This is just how I dress
Your wound
I don’t even think about
what I wear

— Andrea Gibson “Privilege is Never Having to Think About it: Touring with a Black Poet for Sonya Renee”

Advertisements

“What Guys Look For In Girls”

Standard

Savannah Brown, a 17-year-old poet, published this incredible video of her reading of her work entitled “What Guys Look For In Girls”.

I love the way that she encompasses the many struggles women have with their appearance and self worth no matter that their size, shape or age. She also shares her journey of how she came to love not only her body, but also herself as a person,

“I Think She Was a She”

Standard

Leyla Josephine, a performing artist, shared her poem at Merchant City festival on Brunswick Stage. Her unapologetic account of a teenage abortion she had is making waves across the country. She came out and said something phenomenally brave about why she made the very personal decision to have an abortion. Watch the video and check out the lyrics bellow.


I think she was a she.

No.

I know she was a she and I think that she would have looked just like me.

full cheeks, hazel eyes and thick brown hair that I could have plated into dreams at night.

I would have stuck glow up stars on her ceiling and told her they were fireflies to protect her from the dark.

I would have told her stories about her grandfather

we could have fed the swans at the park.

She would have been like you too, long limbs

with a sarcastic smile and the newest pair of kicks.

She would have been tough, tougher than I ever was

and I would have taught her all that my mother taught me

and I would have taken her to all the museums and there she could see the bone dinosaurs

and look to them and wonder about all the things that came before she was born.

She could have been born.

I would have made sure that we had a space on the wall to measure her height as she grew.

I would have made sure I was a good mother to look up to.

But I would have supported her right to choose.

To choose a life for herself, a path for herself.

I would have died for that right, just like she died for mine.

I’m sorry but you came at the wrong time.

I am not ashamed. I am not ashamed. I am not ashamed.

I am so sick of keeping these words contained.

I am not ashamed.

I was a teenage girl with a boy she loved between her thighs that felt very far away.

Duvet days and dole don’t do family planning well.

I am one in three. I am one in three. I am one in three.

I had to carve down that little cherry tree

that had rooted itself in my blood and blossomed in my brain.

A responsibility I didn’t have the energy or age to maintain.

The branches casting shadows over the rest of the garden.

The bark causing my thoughts, my heart to harden.

I am not ashamed. I am not ashamed. I am not ashamed.

It’s a hollowness, that feels full, a numbness that feels heavy.

stop trying to fit how this feels on an NHS bereavement brochure already.

I am allowed to feel it all, I am allowed to feel.

I am woman now, I am made of steel,

and she wasn’t a girl and she wasn’t a boy.

That’s just the bullshit you receive to keep you out of parliament and stuck on maternity leave.

Don’t you mutter murder on me.

70,000 per year. 70,000 per year. 70,000 per year.

Dead.

Thats’s 192 per day.

from coat hangers, painkillers, the back alley way way.

Don’t you mutter murder on me.

Worldwide performing abortion like homework,

looking for the answer in the groves in our palms, the bulges on our bellies, the whispers in our ears,

only to be confronted with question marks.

Women have been hidden away in the history books.

After all it’s history.

His story.

Well this is herstory, ourstory, god damn it,

this is my story

and it wont be written in pencil and erased with guilt.

It will be written in pen and spoken with courage.

You will hear it on the radio on your way to work, you will study it in English,

you will read it on the coffee shops bulletin boards next to the flyer about yoga for babies.

Because I am not ashamed, I am not ashamed, I am not ashamed.

I am woman now.

I will not be tamed.

I have determination that this termination will still have a form of creation.

It will not be wasted.

this is my body. this is my body. this is my body.

I don’t care about your ignorant views

when I become a mother, it will be when i choose.