our tragedy begins humid.
in a humid classroom.
with a humid text book. breaking into us.
stealing us from ourselves.
one poem. at a time.
it begins with shakespeare.
the hot wash.
the cool acid. of
dead white men and women. people.
each one a storm.
crashing. into our young houses.
making us islands. easy isolations.
until we are so beleaguered and
with a definition of poetry that is white skin and
that we tuck our scalding. our soreness.
behind ourselves and
as trauma. as violence. as erasure.
another place we do not exist.
another form of exile
where we should praise. honor. our own starvation.
the little bits of langston. phyllis wheatley.
angelou during black history month. are the crumbs. are the minor boats.
that give us slight rest.
to be waterdrugged into rejecting the nuances of
my own bursting
and to have
to take my name out of my name.
out of where my native poetry lives. in me.
replace it with keats. browning. dickson. wolf. joyce. wilde. wolfe. plath. bronte. hemingway. hughes. byron. frost. cummings. kipling. poe. austen. whitman. blake. longfellow. wordsworth. duffy. twain. emerson. yeats. tennyson. auden. thoreau. chaucer. thomas. raliegh. marlowe. burns. shelley. carroll. elliot…
(what is the necessity of a black child being this high off of whiteness.)
and so. we are here. brown babies. worshipping. feeding. the glutton that is white literature. even after it dies.
(years later. the conclusion:
shakespeare is relative.
white literature is relative.
that we are force fed the meat of
that our bodies will not recognize. as inherent nutrition.
is not relative.
the hot wash, nayyirah waheed | from ‘nejma’
I’ve never been female. But I have been black my whole life. I can perhaps offer some insight from that perspective. There are many similar social issues related to access to equal opportunity that we find in the black community, as well as the community of women in a white male dominate society…
When I look at — throughout my life — I’ve known that I wanted to do astrophysics since I was 9 years old…I got to see how the world around me reacted to my expressions of these ambitions. All I can say is, the fact that I wanted to be a scientist, an astrophysicist was hands down the path of most resistance through the forces of society.
Anytime I expressed this interest, teachers would say, ‘Oh, don’t you wanna be an athlete?’ I want to become someone that was outside of the paradigm of expectations of the people in power. Fortunately, my depth of interest of the universe was so deep and so fuel enriched that everyone of these curve balls that I was thrown, and fences built in front of me, and hills that I had to climb, I just reach for more fuel, and I just kept going.
Now, here I am, one of the most visible scientists in the land, and I wanna look behind me and say, ‘Where are the others who might have been this,’ and they’re not there! …I happened to survive and others did not simply because of forces of society that prevented it at every turn. At every turn.
…My life experience tells me that when you don’t find blacks, when you don’t find women in the sciences, I know that these forces are real, and I had to survive them in order to get where I am today.
So before we start talking about genetic differences, you gotta come up with a system where there’s equal opportunity, then we can have that conversation."
"What’s up with chicks and science?"
Are there genetic differences between men and women, explain why more men are in science.