When I witness Spoken Word poets, Slam poets, artists, it is literally the best thing ever. For so many reasons. As a poet for a long time, since I was 10 years old, I know it takes so much practice, editing, and effort to get something ready to share on stage. Here is one such effort!
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The way the words work
whisks a rhythm like an egg yolk
a dancer, bathed in gold
leaf, slimy covered moss
since we’re talking about ancient:
which came first, the chicken or the egg?
It’s an egg this morning,
you don’t know, but I dropped one
as I wrote this it flowed out of me with iron-red skirts surrounded
drowned in fertility and
mis-matching the rhythm of sex
Always just out of step
Like the day it happened for the first time
and my childhood rhymes faltered and fell out of tune
I’d never written a poem about bleeding.
And I had written a lot of poems.
On and on came the other things, unexpected as a pair of wings that don’t fly
bigger boobs, hips, imbalanced body, lips
that stung with dreams and desires
that terrified me
me, once a ballerina
then a body betrayed in plain sight
Too many eyes alight on my frame
on too many soft places on top of too many rigid heart beats
countermeasures and leaps
I gave up on dancing
when I was fifteen when a little boy in the audience yelled out in the theater,
“Look at her boobs bouncing! Her boobs!”
And he laughed and laughed while the music died inside me
But the measures and the mood persisted
They twisted me up through language, syllables,
songs arrested my imagination
throngs of people living under my skin
people I had never been or had yet to be
who shook the pages of poems bleeding out of me
I did not give up the pen.
Ink forms a chain
link after link
Words form the geography and contain
what is purely uncontainable
on my body.
Then how is it that white supremacists are entering my poetry?
Crawling in through my skin
and my cavities?
They live on flesh, like zombies,
but their spirits are dead.
So they alive-haunt me, in all the hiding places in history
the ones that hide in plain sight.
There’s a white girl out there in a body like mine
she raises her arm
and salutes white power
salutes the disease of dehumanization and subjugation
that come along with that stance.
At a glance, she puts me on her team.
Counts her blessings and bottles her fear like snake oil.
Here, it’s good for you.
a body coded, labeled, counted for causes of cruelty
a body that is a dancer
a body of poems
a body of unrestrained sexual energy
and a white woman’s body
some body who benefits from the privileges that white nationalists would kill to maintain
except they don’t have to
because when they look around
they assume we are on the same team
and while we say nothing, our bones asleep and our tongues dull
they march from the margins
they demand a violence that is unfathomable
in its brutality
unfathomable if it doesn’t cost you and your loved ones everything
because it takes everything
As a woman, a dancer, a writer, a human
I want to make you uncomfortable
The words I spin with now are aggressive, historical,
they are not only my own, but they are undeniable
that ancient being calls for justice and will not be silenced
as she dances
dressed in vines and calling for us to get in line
and loving us but screaming at our humanness
to stop taking its fucking time
The claims on my body are over, it’s done.
I say to those white terrorists,
Your hatred is a cautionary tale
and your time is up.
Humanity flows in me like my moon blood,
empathy and grief and my capacity to grow life inside me
to heal and to celebrate the broken
the dancers and the rhythms that we dance to
for our utopia
the one where my liberation is bound together with yours
the one I will fight for even when I am nothing but a gleeful ghost pirouetting on their segregated graves
a dancer bathed in gold leaf, slimy covered moss, smothered stone.
But I am alive to help whisk the words like an egg yolk
about to be born.