*Trigger Warning: Poem About Sexual Assault *
So if you do not know, I went to a conference this past weekend for Feminism, SEWSA, and I got to learn how poetry is a form of activism. I mean I will admit that I had these thoughts about poetry, but it is always nice to have fellow feminists reaffirm your thoughts. One of the coolest things I heard at this conference is that poetry allows you to do something different with the issues that you feel strongly about. One of the questions raised, is do we really need another person with a picket sign, or do we need people out there reaching out to the community in creative ways?
I really like this insight, I always feel that people don’t take poetry seriously or they don’t think it makes a difference, but it really does. I have been able to use poetry to talk about my issues that can relate to many other women who have shared these experiences. I believe that poetry makes you think and the first part of advocacy, in my opinion, is really taking the time to think about these issues. This conference gave me the confidence to continue poetry and maybe even make a career out of spoken word. When I was younger, my aunt always called me her little protester, because I would always take a stand against things that I viewed as wrong. I can still be that protester and have that same fire, today, with my poetry. That’s why I want to take the rest of my space with this post to present a poem that I will be reading for Take Back the Night which is tomorrow at 6:00 pm in Grafton.
A Poem Not For You
The white line that separates the cars on the highway does not stop her from constantly switching from lane to lane; she rushes wanting to hug her lover at home.
I’m reminded that when I get to Apartment J, there’s no one there I can call baby.
I bring the sweet taste of fudge to my someday sweetheart, but this Kilwan’s box does not fix the distaste that still lingers on my tongue of a broken promise, or more like an assumption of an agreed upon thought that compassion was free.
So I don’t want to say broken, because you won’t rip the strength out of me, but rather you tricked me, you thought you were clever, while I thought you were better.
I wish your morality was as full as your wallet or at least it was full of change.
But you leave sweat, shame and coercion on you bed sheets and we know college kids aren’t fond of doing laundry.
My momma collects beer bottles like regret, the emptiness reminds of her of all the people who chose to not give a damn about her situation.
I’m starting to realize that we are one in the same.
Behind whatever closed-door, our sense of self is wiped away in a matter of minutes and when we look in the mirror, we don’t recognize our bodies.
In this mirror, I think to myself. If this glass could shatter from mere disappointment, this reflection would be scattered around the floor. Cut my feet with the sharp edges of my existence. I wish that I could be anything else then what I am.
She wishes that her story wasn’t confused with fiction and was critiqued with words of she asked for it, but instead she drowns her sorrows in the bitterness of the liquid that would shake her very being.
My momma didn’t ask for much just someone to hold her hand and take her away from the place of shame, but when no one was there to comfort this complexity she sought guidance on counter store shelves.
The silence of the situation creeps inside my mind and I think of all the times, I blamed my momma for her not being there as she furthered got lost in this addiction.
But who am I to be caught up in this anger when no one was there to listen to my momma, so no wonder she has this collection.
So this isn’t a poem about you and how much you hurt me, this is a poem about my momma. As her body laid there and she thinks to herself what just happened, he goes on about his life. My momma has been behind bars for her lack of judgment with the bitter liquid, but this man who stole her voice is free to walk the streets.
And I just can’t stand all of this fucking insanity.
I will not let you have this much power over me. I will not be silenced, I will go behind many mics and proclaim that what you did was wrong and I won’t have to say your name or even describe the details because you will be in the audience and you will know. And that guilt will eat you up inside and I say let it, maybe then my momma will be alright.
A lot of my advocacy work (poetry) relates to sexual assault and now I want to be the voice for my mother, who never got a chance to be heard. I believe as a Feminist it is my job to give a voice to not only my mother, but all the other women who are victim blamed. So if anyone asks you how your advocating for the issues at hand, give them a piece of paper with your words, because that is your own picket sign.