Tuesday, April 19, 2005

a poem about my rights

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a poem about my rights
june jordan

even today and i need to take a walk
and clear my head about this poem about why i can't go
without changing my clothes my shoes my body posture
my gender identity my age my status as a woman alone in the evening/alone on the streets/alone not being the point/the point being that i can't do what i want to do/with my own body because i am wrong sex the wrong age the wrong skin
and suppose it was not here in the city but down on the beach/or far into the woods and i wanted to go there by myself thinking about God/or thinking about children or thinking about the world/all of it disclosed by the stars
and the silence:
i could not go and i could not think and i could not
stay there alone
as i need to be alone because i can't do what i want to do with my own
body and who in the hell set things up like this
and in France they say if the guy penetrates but does not ejaculate then he did not rape me
and if after stabbing him if after screams if after begging the bastard and if even after smashing
a hammer to his head if even after that if he and his buddies fuck me after that then i consented and there was no rape because you understand finally they fucked me over because i was wrong i was wrong again to to be me being me where i was/wrong to be who i am which is exactly like south africa
penetrating into namibia penetrating into
angola and does that mean i mean how do you
know if pretoria ejaculates what will the evidence look
like the proof of the monster jackboot ejaculation on blackland
and if after namibia and if after angola and if after zimbabwe
and if after all of my kinsmen and women resist even to
self-immolation of the villages and if after that
we lose nevertheless what will the big boys say will claim
my consent:
do you follow me: we are the wrong people of the wrong
skin on the wrong continent and what in the hell is everybody being reasonable about and according to the times this week back in 1966 the c.i.a decided
that they had this problem and the problem was a man
named nkrumah so they killed him and before that there
was patrice lumumba and before that it was my father on the campus of my ivy league school and my father afraid to walk into the cafeteria because he said he was wrong
the wrong age the wrong skin the wrong gender identity and he was paying my tuition and before that
it was my father saying i was wrong
saying that i should have been lighter skinned
and that i should have had straighter hair and that
i should not be be so crazy but instead i should be
one/a boy and before that it was my mother pleading plastic
surgery for my nose and braces for my teeth and telling me to let the books loose
to let them loose in other words
i am familiar with the problems of the c.i.a
and the problems of south africa and the problems
of exxon corporation and the problems of white
america in general and the problems of the teachers
and the preachers and the f.b.i. and the social workers
and my particular mom and dad/i am very familiar with the problems because the problems turn out to be me
i am the history of rape
i am the history of the rejection of who i am
i am the history of the terrorized incarceration of my self
i am the history of battery assault and limitless armies
against whatever i want to do with my mind and my body and my soul and
whether it's about walking out at night
or whether it's about the love i feel or whether it's the sanctity of my vagina
or the sanctity of my leaders or the sanctity of each and every desire that i know from my personal and idiosyncraticand indisputable
single and singular hearti have been raped
cause i have been wrong the wrong sex the wrong
age the wrong skin the wrong nose the wrong hair
the wrong need the wrong dream the wrong geographic
the wrong sartorial i
i have been the meaning of rape
i have been the problem everyone seeks to eliminate by forced
penetration with or without the evidence of slime and/
but let this be unmistakable this poem
is not a conset
i do not conset
to my mother to my father to my teachers to the f.b.i to south africa
to bedford-stuy to park avenue to american airlines to the hardon
idlers on the corners to the sneaky creeps in cars

i am not wrong: wrong is not my name

my name is my own my own my own
and i can't tell you who the hell set things up like this
but i can tell you that from now on my resistance
my simple and daily and nightly self determination
may very well cost you your life


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