let me remind you:
know that i am the scream
i am the protest
i am the revolution
i am the awakening
of every black leader
that has breathed and lived and paved paths
and immortalized and cut scathing with their art
that has cut swaths through rivers
that have tunneled through caves
that have smeared wet earth on their faces
that have picked through the foliage on mountains
know that i am every woman who has bled for her child
know that i am every foreign tongue that has unbound us
know that i am every unshackled and raised fist
know that i am a woman
know that i am a black woman
i am every black queen
i am not a display
i am not an object
i am not something to be coveted
you have no right to salivate over me
you have no right to stitch lust into my skin
you have no right
let me remind you:
i am a black woman
soft, wild, and free
I changed this a bit from what it was before. I ended up revising the capitalized "I" and making them all lowercase for the sake of cohesion. This is meant to be an empowering piece. It's old. At the time I wrote it I was reading Warsan Shire. Like me and so many other 1st-generation children from immigrants who are also artists or self-proclaimed or "budding," her work at some point deals with the topic of immigration, having immigrant parents, and also it deals with being a woman who is black. It deals with womanhood too.
A lot of my work is very romantic, dark, I would say cutting in some spaces. It has some macabre imagery, a lot of it is intentionally repetitious. A vast majority of it is also deeply personal. They are individual poetic narratives and I think poetry should first and foremost be about that poet's personal experience. Maybe I will write a poem that can be collectively about my race's experience, until then, what ever comes out, will come out.
This is, like Warsan's work, applicable to any other black woman. We quietly feel the need to assert and remind others of our worth, we quietly remind ourselves of our worth, we have to take part in a bodily, mental, spiritual, and emotional evolution to love ourselves in a society that does not and has not historically loved us. It still doesn't.
This poem comes from that part inside of me that has felt this way. I've had partners most of whom were not of my race, most of them Caucasian, and some were fascinated with my being 1st-generation "somethingsomething" or "Caribbean."
I'm proud of my heritage and I always maintained and will maintain that. However, despite having been with accepting partners, accepting men and friends, there were some men that I felt liked me just because of my blackness or demeaned it (one did or attempted to). But this isn't just for me, it's for any woman who has felt or feels this way.
It's a reminder: you matter, you are black, you are fucking beautiful, but you are more than that outer beauty. No man can just be allowed to claim you ONLY for that.
This is my gift to every little black girl and woman
A gift from one black woman to another.
Also, here's a link to info about Warsan Shire. I would highly recommend checking out some of her work. She's simply put, amazing.