Archive for category Moments Poetic
TweetFood is the miracle
What we do with it -
How we do it -
will determine our revolution
I’m going to try and get over my fear of perfection (because that leads you to a brick writing wall of paralysis) and just WRITE.
So, heeeeerrreee goes…
Lolo and Lolo
I never knew my grandfathers
- grand clocks who stopped before my time -
My Lolo Fernandez rode the train
and loved basil gardens
My Lolo Factora believed soup bones
healed birthing mothers
One Spanish, One Filipino
One engineer, One soldier
Two invisible vines
encircling one garden
When my mother smells the basil in the grocer
Or moves her face into the wind, she says
I’m thinking of my father
In early December, my father grows quiet
And wordlessly heads to a morning mass
He’s thinking of his father
They never speak much of them
But I see their eyes change
when Lolo moves in their presence
And the stopped clocks tick one last tock
through my parents
And I listen to their memory.
A Funny Poem About Breastfeeding
It’s funny how no one talks publicly about breastfeeding.
It’s funny how nearly every man I know is uncomfortable when the topic comes up.
It’s funny how, unless you yourself have breastfed before, people get a pained expression on their face if you talk honestly about how difficult or painful breastfeeding can be.
It’s funny how cleavage and sexy boobs are somehow categorized differently than milky nipples.
*replace “funny” with “maddening”
There is reason why Miley and her
White Disney can imbrue the hearts
of young Asian girls and boys
and still sell their music.
Their eyes are shaped like almonds,
like slivers of the moon
or sideways rockets
or glitters of black diamonds.
Their young eyes are fully open
in Ways yours and mine never
will be again.
And the beat of racism sounds
like it has all the other days.
It drowns out anything else
that could be put to music
TweetIn response to a piece of writing that moved me.
* * *
For $3.70, I bought a bagel and the most luscious hot chocolate you can imagine, and sat down to read the walking series between Jess and BFP.
For $3.70, tax included, I sat in a warm room and read Jess’ thoughts while I allowed the flowers of an Everything bagel to bloom in my mouth and the sticky sweetness of the whip cream and chocolate syrup avalanche everything in my mouth with sugar.
It is the birthday of a friend. Jennifer, 32 today, an amazing mother and activist in the Philippines who fights a fight that would leave me scared shitless, but one that she levels with her eyes every morning in hot Manila. It is the day of her birth, entering the world so helplessly and, after a little over three decades, has exploded into a warrior for art, equality, understanding, and love in Quezon City, Philippines. I’ve known Jennifer for six months. I love and miss her dearly.
To celebrate, I read Jess’ work and envision her walks in Los Angeles. I hear her soft breath climbing the mountains of California and sense the spinning in her mind as she wonders what to write about on BFP’s site. I feel envious of their walks. No, that’s inaccurate. I feel envious of their partnership, the evidence that two people can agree to walk, think, offer… That’s more than what most people in this world will do in a lifetime.
I sneakily decide to walk with them. In my mind, I decide to stay a figurative block or two behind them so they can’t see me or worry I’m eavesdropping on them.
I get a library card from the local public library and rent Yoga videos for beginners. In the midst, I grab “The Namesake,” a movie I had already seen about the torrent of cultural identity and family.
To convince myself that I don’t care and it doesn’t matter if I can do the moves or not, I do the first video with regular clothes on and leave my hair disbanded. Everything’s loose.
I think about my quads. They feel stretched but not sore. Again, I put on un-Yogalike clothes and put a thin headband through my hair to keep it out of my face, but still lets it flow freely. I begin to fall in love with one move, the one where you pretend you’re flying. On one foot, I balance while I kick the other leg back. The upper body is surged forward, the back leg kicked straight out, the arms extended into wings. Hold the position. Breathe. My mind has wings.
I add an aerobic workout before yoga because I feel like sweating and wanting to build that fire again. My body feels differently. Like it’s been contorted, twisted, wrung. My blood feels thin and easy flowing. I try the relaxation pose and impatiently cut get up, hating it. I do not feel at peace.
I have a doctor’s appointment for a hysterosalpingogram. The feel of metal in my vagina brings waves of violent thoughts that do no belong to me. I think of the literal and figurative bayonets stabbed into the bodies of women in a thousand wars.
I shake my head, the thoughts spill away.
The test is horrible, but the results are good. Everything’s clear and functioning. He hands me a towel to clean myself up. I look up and begin to cry.
I put on Yoga clothes and pull my hair into a ponytail. The balance is not there anymore and I waver, uncertain.
I try the flying pose again.
Looking down, I search for my focus spot and my eyes well up. There is no balance, only sadness.
* * *
Out of nowhere a 40 degree wonder sweeps Cleveland. I am loosely bound with one sweatshirt and gloves and take a long walk in the snow.
I pass a house boarded up where three little girls died in a fire one year ago, before I lived in the neighborhood. The surviving parents are pregnant again and want to eventually live in the house again, the home their little girls loved so much. My head shakes from side to side. Everything flows in seasons, even life.
I notice that I have stepped away from the internet because I have had reoccurring thoughts about Andrea Dworkin and how she wrote her life into death by sitting, writing, and barely moving. To be that disconnected from the body scares me.
I walk further.
There is a man my age at the end of his driveway. A hoe is grasped in his hands as he hacks into the thick ice. Our eyes meet and I nod and smile a greeting. The snow of his teeth show brightly as he smiles in return. I need more of this.
I think about Jess’ thoughts of perfectionism, depression, and achievement. Her honesty whispers louder than the crunch of my boots and I wish I had someone to talk to about my writing, my journey and relationship with its power and the purity I’m desperately trying to hold onto.
* * *
I’d wanted to be a writer since I was seven or eight years old. In my attic, I have bins of crushes, confusion, suicide, sex, and drugs preserved in words. Or, at least, I have them preserved in the way I thought they were.
On Saturday, I read the introduction of Audre Lorde’s biography by Alexis De Veaux. De Veaux writes that Audre never felt like she found a home. Never, even in her last days battling cancer, did Audre feel spiritually settled. Looking for what, no one knows for sure, but there was a mystical homelessness about her and I’d like to think that maybe I’m not alone in feeling the same way.
There is something restless about the creative spirit that yearns to be embraced, yet by its very definition cannot be comforted. And so the Spirit creates. It creates to survive because to be still, to stay in one place and consider the enormity of never feeling comfort is too real, too frightening. The possibility of what that eternal wandering could mean is too harsh to accept.
But Audre accepted it, eventually, writes De Veaux.
Thank God and too bad that I’m not Audre.
It is because of writing and this roaring for which there is no volume control, I am homeless.
* * *
I revisit Jess’ thoughts about achievement.
“I had no idea in that moment that not everyone defines human worth by work and work-related accomplishment.“
What does that mean for me? I grew up in either a private institution or a private family that worshiped the credentials that came with academic achievement. Credentials, academic accolades, degrees, awards, intellectual distinction was not about superiority. It was about survival. Education meant survival. As immigrants, education became the means to provide for your family. Licenses to practice, exams to study for mean providing for yourself in the United States and making life a little bit easier for someone back home or for whomever you sent your money. For every degree, ten more people could be fed or another person could go to school. That equation wasn’t exact, but there was a sense of responsibility I felt to do well, to do excellent and one of the ways sacrifice is repaid is through the success of children. There was never room for anything but medicine, law, or, at minimum graduate school.
I wanted to be a writer.
Perfectionism is most certainly not a culture-specific phenomenon. It transcends race and ethnicity and plays out differently according to context and quality of measuring stick. For the Philippines, a country colonized first by the Spaniards and then by the US Americans, education became a golden ticket out of poverty. It was a privilege to even have the opportunity to succeed and if the opportunity rested on your door, who are you to not answer?
Educational achievement became a sweet addiction, how I imagine a post dinner cigarette tastes to smokers. It melted in the form of intellectual stimulus and in watching the widening of pupils when I listed my degrees, schools, and ease of which they came. It came in the small upturn of my parents’ lips. These successes, somehow, meant everything and nothing all at the same time. Addiction is like that.
Admitting how important education is to me and my family means revealing a colonized mind that I was ashamed to admit. Of course my parents thought education was important. “This country is about one thing: credentials. Without your degree, you’re nothing.”
How could I deny something so true to their immigrated experience? Each hostility, each slap, each shove, every cold shoulder they experienced somehow related to the fact that they were foreigners in this land that both needed them and despised them. The only way to stand their ground was to hold onto whatever was stable: education. That saying about your degree – once you attain it, no one can take it from you – wasn’t just about achievement, it was about defense.
What does it mean to admit a part of your very success, the goals you had set for yourself were set forth by a colonized agenda, a strategy to keep a people oppressed, a way to ensure the submission of servants and maids, garbage diggers and farmers, the sick and the dying?
And what made matters worse: I wanted to be perfect in that system.
That elitism, that view from the top from the tower, meant everything. It was never explicity stated as such, but it didn’t need to be. Watching what happened to my mother, without a college degree, a woman who traded in her life in the Philippines for me and my siblings in this country was enough evidence. 29 years of watching the discrimination against her face, her accent, her words, her perspective, her existence in the Midwest was enough lesson for me to want to screw the system by succeeding in it and calling it out on its racist, elitist bullshit. No matter what I felt – in addiction or anger – my plans always included extraordinary measured achievement. I always turned to structured pathways of the academy to prove my worth, “justify my existence.”
Then I found feminism.
“…I was still looking through a really isolated-individual lens in a lot of ways, and so unaware of all the ways privilege would have played out had I continued along that path, breathlessly pursued that book deal in my twenties, etc., etc.“
How empowering to find feminism, I first thought. A human organized rallying for equality. And, look! You don’t have to have degrees, it embraces every individual, it both uses and questions theory and can be as personal as it political and as grand as a march or considering the farmer of your daily apple.
I found BFP’s blog when it was simply a gathering place for women of color. This was before I had any knowledge of the dynamics of internet organizing, media justice, or the trouble that could brew with one singular blog post.
To this day, I don’t know if I’m grateful for discovering the feminist blogosphere, something that I partition away from BFP’s blog, or I wish I had never found it. It was where I have laid many foundations of thoughts, but have witnessed more and more arbitrary and useless destruction – and it is competition among women by the way – for book deals, recognition, and speaking tours. It is cleverly covered with labels, “communities,” and learning curves. It has its good moments, but after so many years, the definition of “success” has morphed into a narrow and stubborn party of a few while the majority of women still suffer from sexism and violence. Blogging has the potential to teach and transform, but we’re not ready to accept that responsibility as organized bloggers and writers. That requires something more profound than vision. It takes listening.
Somewhere I found myself writing more and more but feeling less and less grounded, the opposite of my usual catharsis. I began writing about important issues because that’s what I thought mattered to the world, not realizing the world would be much better off if I write about what matters most to me.
In this ridiculous and unbelievably fast internet world, I have come to disengage with the feminist blogosphere as I dig more into my own feminism. The earth of my life, the soil which needs human hands, not my keyboard fingers, needs kneading. I’ve spent so much time confessing my faults that my line of creativity has bounced from productive to masochistic depression, measuring my worth with white, mainstream feminism which I don’t even like or agree with. And it’s not about blame. It’s just more of the same.
The longer I read blogs and the regurgitation of news that consistently licks the ethnocentric boot of US women, the more I am convinced I am on the right path of disengaging, ceasing my own internal battle to publish, publish, publish, and write a book, write a book, write a book.
I want to offer the world a compiled story of my experiences, of my life, not a reaction to my experience with feminism. All of this I now realize, 24 days before my 30th birthday.
The goals I had etched for my 30th were more about finding audiences, not my writer’s voice and building rails for my walking so that I walked straight, head up.
I walk. I walk in circles, with my head roaming the sky, behind my shoulder to see my boot prints in the snow, and sniffling from the cold, Ohio air.
bell hooks puts the geography of her writing into her writing. She asks and centers what it means to write from Kentucky. What does it mean that BFP writes from Michigan, or that Jess writes from LA? Or that most feminist mainstream bloggers write from New York, Brooklyn, or San Francisco? It matters. Our walks, where they lead us, matters.
What does it mean that I long to write from any place but where I am? How have come to be so ashamed of my Ohio place of writing that I feel un-credentialed, as if I have no authority over my own life? How have I come to deny myself in accordance to a colonized agenda as I read about colonization?
By measuring writing with a published book stick, the epiphanies that used to come to me like dreams and orgasms slowed to a dulling halt. No more reactions, no more opinions. Everything I wrote was first sanctified by my excitement and then nullified by a voice that whispered, “What do you know? You’re just another another.”
Dreamer. Philosopher. Warrior. Poet. Yearning for truth with dripping insecurities.
That’s what made it even worse. I am a woman of color with intensely rare privileges.
How trite. How boring.
I’m tired of writing disclaimers of my privilege. I’m tired of apologizing. Even as I write that, I’m sure it reads RESISTANCE to acknowledging my privilege. But it’s like, no matter what I write about, no matter how much I paint the elephant a traffic cone orange color and acknowledge it, point at it, sit next to it, and then I write my thoughts – someone, somewhere (usually “anonymous”) comes in and reminds me, “don’t forget – you’re a privileged person of color. You don’t have that much experience in oppression.” Here’s the thing: I don’t know how to acknowledge it any more than I already have. And if I stop acknowledging it, I’m sure someone will call me a “leftoid cunt” again. I don’t want to spend my life writing about privilege. That would be a sardonic tragedy all on its own.
* * *
There is storm in its full state
- throbbing red -
birthing another and another
so I have a womb full of wind.
Its carnage bleeds out white women,
my husband, books, and screams,
but I never grow pale.
I have an endless supply of
angry blood, I suppose.
I’m waiting for it to stop.
Waitin’ for the sky to part,
for the rain not to be wet anymore.
I wonder if this is my Call.
To no longer seek the world
and its problems
and Write in observation of war,
to sift through my own debris
with my entire mind
that it is good and I am whole.
And the debris
- the ugly wreckage of life –
* * *
The relationship between health (mental and physical), writing, and practice of both are cyclic in relationship. The only thing that keeps my own destruction – my storm of depression, self-paralysis – in check is movement. That alone may sound unoriginal, but consider the trends of technology and season. The other day, I reached for the door knob before braving the winter, and paused. I could barely sense the skin on my stomach. I didn’t know if I was breathing in or out because it was buried in a bra, camisole, shirt, sweater, scarf, gloves, hat, and enormous parka. The weight and expansive coverage of cloth on my body prohibited movement. And that was just to my car where I would sit again.
My body couldn’t feel itself.
* * *
I waited for the groundhog to say good news.
* * *
Instead of waiting for external sunshine, I wrote this instead.
TweetTales from the bedroom are considered sacred, but tales from the corners of marriage are even more forbidden. Why is that?
As I sit on a tender marriage of almost four years, a love ignited for ten years, I often wonder how isolated and crippling that silence can be. Why are married people so quiet? What’s with the secretive nature of disclosing details about the primary relationship of one’s life? Is it, hold your armrests, it might come to pass that marriage goes through volatile stages of frustration, silence, asexual eras, and betrayal?
Well, we certainly don’t want to let THAT cat out of the bag.
Psst…sometimes marriage tastes champagne and sometimes it tastes like rotten arugula.
Well, now that we have shrugged of those nuclei of fear, we can proceed forward.
One of the biggest misconceptions about marriage is one of the biggest misconceptions about primary and committed relationships: it consistently and unfailingly feeds and meets our personal needs of fulfillment.
We all realize that one person cannot meet our every desire, conscious and subconscious, and yet, when we marry, we often fall into a capricious state of allowing community to slip away once we have transitioned into a partnered identity. As children and young single adults, we flourish in groups and find a sense of belonging and purpose. While we grow and develop our sense of self and our yearning for intimacy and partnership root themselves, the communities we once were once active become things of the past, dust on our floors.
Read: Common Mistake #1
As feminists, it is common that we seek out fellow activists, artists, and writers who possess a cosmic understanding of our drive for justice, our commitment to vision. And yet, when it comes to our personal relationships, they often falter because we assume that a 1:1 relationship, especially marriage, is and should fruitfully build on its own accord, heal on its own gifts, and reap harvest from its own soil. That is, you know, how you define a healthy marriage. You don’t need ANYONE else.
As a married feminist, I find it ironic that I can clearly understand my need for community when it comes to my career. Writers must write alone in their room, but that room must be heated by the same pipe that warms the entire house, other rooms occupied by thinkers and philosophers. However, when it comes to a growth bump in my marriage, I decide to ride the bridle alone, convinced my balance will come with experience, temporary panic attacks, and large amounts of wine.
Before the village helps raise the child, the village needs to rebuild itself to recognize the needs of radical marriage. One that is built safely on the precipice of equality. Marriage will guarantee times of roaring fire and dying amber. You need to know how to tend and control both. The point is not to avoid getting burned, the point is to learn how to build the fire.
And the fire does not represent the love, the fire represents the soul.
In this harsh winter and cold recession, intimacy between partners can be strained for a whole slew of reasons. But a radical manifesta is not a guide for putting together a broken marriage, a radical manifesta is for piecing together a radical love of self and the other that feeds the often neglected part of our deepest hunger: authentic identity. Something that is often lost in the compromising of life partnerships.
And to build that authenticity in the space of marriage, to create a sustainable and passionate bridge, let’s first begin by agreeing to dish the silence. That’s not a call to irreverence or ranting about domestic burdens. It’s a call to speak into the quiet loneliness of a working companionship that the marrieds often fight alone. The manifesta stands to speak into the radical joys and struggles of authentic identity, evolving love, and awareness that grow in marriage.
Break the silence. You can be in love and outraged at the same time.
And to practice what I preach, this is a poem I wrote yesterday about marriage. A day scattered with temper, short answers, and angry blanket hogging.
I love you
as surely as I swiftly walk in the winter
and toss my shirts into a bloated floor heap
I love you
as neatly as the cable wires behind my tellie
as conveniently as city parking
and as comforting as a broken compass
I’m yours so long as you continue to lay there
snoring your peace into my side
and my knee kept warm by your palm
without my porch knowing death’s arrival date
or the bloom of children
Our chances increase every night
We’ll make it
says the meatloaf
and even pillowcases that need changing
We’ll make it
thinks the leaning garage and scrappy drive
I hope so
prays our mantel
You are mine like the songs said you’d be
and you fit right beside my cheek
Like how the dandelions flutter
and the dog pulls right of the leash
With the yellow sun filling the sky
on an art paper saved by my mom
All things are as they should be.
I love you.
TweetHow I have tried to make you feel included
by allowing your comments and words,
but I think it’s time to change that
and now wail a song of dirge.
Your barrage of f*uck you’s and threats
once scared me to the bone,
but now I realize you write these things
behind a screen, faceless, and alone.
Oh Anon, I have no idea who or where you are
Managua, San Antonio, or Madrid -
But, I suggest you at least identify your soul
and claim your own words as I did.
Because there’s an unspoken rule I believe in life:
That your energy fills your space;
and your constant negativity spewed at me
is neutralized by your Anonymous face.
A troll, a hater, a miserable hobbit?
I don’t know why you insist on staying here -
But one thing I know about remaining anon
You don’t change when you live in fear.
And so, no more Anonymous comments are allowed
here at My Ecdysis, my blog.
Go visit someone else, go leave your hate there
or wander in your dark cyber fog.
I appreciate all commenters’ time and thoughts
and render each person smart -
But I have a thick skin and a witty mind, too
And so your f-bombs aren’t taken to heart.
All the best to you, Anon -
I hope you have a happy life that’s kind!
I’m sure you’re more than your hateful crap
that you fruitlessly leave behind.
TweetEverything feels expensive
There is no movement without wind
There is no movement without sails
So much is needed
in this organism, life
a part, irreplaceable parts
Each part -
Who can afford to sail?
Or rather, who of us
I wrote this poem in my least favorite mood: edginess. My creativity stalls why it runs into thorny patches, but I opened up, and this is what came out.
Why is it not enough to simply write as a womyn of color?
Why does it change once I write of color after womyn?
like its merits decrease
or its potential increases
I’m brilliant cuz I’m brilliant
not cuz of the sheen of my hair.
I am why.
Why the echo
when say I womyn
so very fine
and I write from the insides
and I say,
it’s not too much
nor not enough
I am a womyn
owning up to my race
the internalized inferiority
the internalized superiority
Skins me alive everyday
And you ask
“Why you so mad?”
because I can’t say my own damn truth without
“Women of color”
world goes YAWN.
and shirks, What else is new?
I’ll tell you what’s new
We the “Women of Color” you love to ignore then agitate for your leisure
are tilling into deep magenta brown soil you never seen
and our tongues,
pink and blistering,
cool and wide,
are sipping honey from sweeter, higher
than your neck can strain
And the “Women of Color” writers
that you flick off with your shoes
are reading aloud to towns and towns
with cackling and krumping to music
for you to hear
So spit your questions onto each other
and not at me.
I’m busy with other things.
I’m angry, but I’m a lot of other things too.
Do you need to know all of who I am before you believe me?
Do you even want to know who I am at all?
That’s your question, not mine.
Cuz I know you.
I know you from those glossy cover history books my short arms had to carry home.
I know you from the holidays we gotta jump jump up and down for
I know you from the whys and cries and jiggly thighs you write about so much and call Women’s Issues
I know you from the realtor and the delivery boy
I know you
Do you know me?
I think your books are shallow.
I think that you are not capable of deepening work that contributes to anti-racist feminism.
I think your books are flat out flat and, yes,
I have read them
And your tired Who Me? Poor Me? Love ME!
sounds like that ol’ record my Pops used to play
every Sunday morning at 8
after a while, I stopped listening
and slept with peace
Why’s it not enough to say
No Me No Like Your Stuff
without being asked for my resume
and literacy skills score
Instead of quarreling over the responses
why not analyze the question first
and look at the cornering, stereotyping, sabotaging, limiting, narrow scope
of your own questions
Let’s look at the contaminated wood
of the house before you
kick out the guests who are
dying from the air
And before you wonder why your branches
are being cut;
remember that the land your roots settle
From the beginning,
the wrong story was told.
‘Bakit’ is Tagalog for ‘Why?’
TweetI wrote this poem for myself, and for all the transforming women of color I met this weekend in Detroit. Mabuhay.
We Are the Daughters
We are the daughters of the forgotten, the skinned, the given-up in the trenches
by the roadside
We are the daughters once covered in blankets, helpless heaps
We are the beaten with sticks, paddles, belts, and bricks
We are the daughters of violence
And the violated
Our mothers knew the pain of childbirth without anesthesia
contractions throbbing with wariness
We are the daughters of doubters, the relentlessly uncertain
We are the first documented, freshly counted
The ones who know community by faith, street, and fringe living
Not by gathering, similarity, or food
Our mothers and fathers are the immigrants – the forced travelers – thrown
We are the daughters with honor, without legacy
With riches, without inheritance
Our traditions are storytelling, sharing, remembering
Branding it in our minds because it will not be texted, printed, distributed, categorized, considered
We are the daughters of gates
Passing through with filthy, but functioning feet
We are the ones sacrificed, priced, shamed
We are all of these
We are all of these
Our troubles are less jagged than our mothers
Our survival less in question
Our thriving dependant upon more our will, not chance
We are the daughters of the umpteenth strokes of window washers
And poor wages
We are the daughters of cruel legislature, temporary amnesty, refugee camps, and collision
We are the daughters of grain, cotton, las floras, and sugar cane
We are the divergent behaviors, red with depression, pale with negligence
We are the mules of silence, withholding, and secrecy
Our tongues speak our history, hyphens
Bridging the borders of land and sea
We are speakeasies, the back alley ways
We know the gravel and dirt roads
The railroads sound in our dreams and whistles goodbye
We are the daughters of stopped clocks, crossovers, irreverence, heat
We flip paradoxes on the tips of our lashes, especially within ourselves
We look for madness, familiar
We know the smell of grass cut by machetes
We are the daughters of failed government, tastes of sovereignty, uprising
We are the daughters of broken tsinelas, broken hearts, broken bones
We are the daughters of the vanished, the unforgiven, the debted, the disappeared, the murdered
The long funerals, the lonely guitar, the rambling corner, the panic rooms
We are the daughters of slurs and political graffiti
We are the walkers through fresh basil gardens with our fathers
The orphaned sparrow
We are the sought prize of many, those waiting to kidnap us
To lure us with scholarships and jimmies
To convince us we deserve better, we are better
Than our ancestors who couldn’t read a coke bottle
Forget them, they say
They want us
They want us badly
To be human erasure for a war waged against our blood, our families
To slowly abolish the mass graves,
glossing over them with petals and dowry
Our deliverance eradicates the atrocities, the scratched signatures allowing the rapes
their misnomers, their wide eyed pretense
they want us to bow to the ivory tower, the one granting us degrees
they want us to forget the hours, lives, humanity that was stolen from our people
they want to shave us clean from any bandages, scars, proof of their imperialistic sodomy
they want us to forsake our memories and accept their offertory
our privilege circles our feet, hopscotching our destinies, leading us away
they want us to be grateful, but not mirror our mothers
or drink from the same clay cups, or splinter from the same broom
they want us to be fed, but hungry for more, and therefore compliant
they do not know that we are the daughters of hair, Brown, restless, and fight
they want to brainwash, inculcate us
but they do not remember our mother’s blood is not a drying stain, but a free flowing wound from which we still suckle and warm ourselves
we feed ourselves
we are the daughters of vision
and we are the thieves
stealing, taking, claiming, owning the
land, fish, air we righteously and already own
we take and give back to our foremothers, we kneel before our scrolls of imprisonment
We breathe easier
But we live with memorials and pledges
We invoke what we did not live through
We remember our reasons
Our mothers were never bought
And we cannot be sold
We are the daughters of a thousand dreams
we are both the fruition and bearers of completion
We are the daughters of swallowing caves
and mulberry scents
We are the daughters the world hoped would die in the bellies of our mothers
We are the unlost, thrice self-found