A couple of poems from the archive for International Women’s Day – part 1

d’bi young from art on black

love equality freedom and revolushun
(for moon)

the words in the computer screen
blood red
bleeding echoes off the walls
the umbilical chord
our unborn child
they shouted
“when the child asks—‘where is my father’
tell the child—‘your father did not agree with my revolushun’”
my tear-pierced world stopped
by ammunition
deadlier violent than bullets of fresh flesh
shooting their way past a closed cervix
in that first trimester
thought I was/we were having a miscarriage
but not

this ancestor spirit—our child
insists on returning
persists on belonging
baptized by centuries of male dominance
sanctified in arrogance
crucifying in the name of “dignity” and “tradition”
writes—“tell the child your father did not agree with my revolushun?”
hmmm! freedom is a very fine ting
how to poeticize this paralysis?
mama di pickney dem mean to mi today
tease mi call mi monkey again today
seh dat mi ugly again today today
mama I do not belong again today

here we have a negro wench
gentlemen and gentlemen
starting at four hundred dollars
strong hands/strong legs/strong spirit
but not stronger than yours
knows how to cook/knows how to clean
knows her place/keeps her place/won’t pass her place
in and outside the house
open legs/closed legs/whatever
on demand!

low self-esteem/no self-esteem
who cares!
only four hundred dollars
do I hear five hundred! six hundred! seven hundred! eight hundred?!
eight hundred dollars!
going once/going twice/sold to the highest nigger
for eight hundred dollars!

equality is indeed a very fine ting
we niggers? we monkeys?
we whores/we jezebels/we concubines
we underprivileged/we disenfranchised/we poor
we fresh off di boat/we refugees/we immigrants
we homeless/we single parents/we welfare mamas
we fitting the description/we gangsters/we criminals
we queers/we retards/we rejects
we cubans/we jamaicans/we haitians and afrikans
we black skins white masks but still ghetto and fabulous
have we forgotten what it feels like to not belong?
we fighting for the right to devowah powah
when di oppressed becomes oppressah
and this bedroom/this kitchen/this bathroom
a model plantation
I play slave you play massah
a maquette concentration camp
I play jew you play hitlah
a make-believe salem massachusettes
I play witch you play witch huntah…

but I will not be burned at the stake
I would rather burn my bra instead
a privilege
after toiling the soil
feeding black and white babies
raped by massah and my man
while being whipped in my back
I would rather
belong to the herstory of outsider outcast warrior womben
who belonged
to nothing and no-one
but themselves
we were never meant to survive
the child is born and asks
“mama where is my father?”
to which I respond…

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