Do You See Me Now

I was very moved by the poem, Water More Than Flour, by Doinne Brandy and what we talked about in Sister Citizen, even the narratives of the educators in the other readings for this week. The feeling of being misrepresented and invisible in a society that places stereotypes onto women of color was something I was struggling with. I thought about what this type of lens does to an individual, and for me sometimes it takes me to a place of rage. I sometimes try to distance myself when that burden becomes so great. I find I get tired of living in a place that does not recognize my humanity but only their negative portrayals of me.

Loving is hard work God

Especially when hate is strong.

Is it ok to be tired?

Do you think Michelle Obama gets tired?

Do you think my great grandmother, who was a share cropper was tired?

Is it ok if going to a liberal arts college filled with people who don’t see me makes me tired.

I am invisible.

And yet everyone sees me.

Just enough of a glimpse to know to redirect their gaze.

I am dismissed because they think they know me

I am

Loud angry bitch

I am

Only here because of affirmative action

I am

A sexual object

I am

Too difficult to be in a relationship with

But you don’t know me

And I have built this wall to protect me from you

I have made my demeanor my armor

 

There’s water more than flour

And you wouldn’t give me what I needed

So I have had to find ways to become self-reliant

I have learned to be strong when I feel weak

I have been strong for too long I feel weak

I have done all I can do to live in this world

Done all I can do: to be black and die

And soon that’s all I’ll have been

Black and dead

And I cannot stop the dark sky from rolling in

The storm from brewing

The waters from flooding

But I am trying to hold the levees up with my bare hands

 

Do you see me now?

Wait that’s only when you want to use the suffering of my people.

Do you see me now?

Wait that’s only when it’s fun to appropriate my culture.

Do you see me now?

Wait that’s only when you can degrade my humanity.

Do you see me now?

 

And I wish I didn’t have to be so cynical

I wish that I didn’t have to be so mistrusting

Because it has taken its toll on me

But it’s the only way I know how to be safe

 

 

 

 

 

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