Sunday, February 27, 2011

I am

I don't know why, but I'm feeling so incredibly nostalgic today.  As I was poring over old pictures from a couple of years ago when I was pregnant and starting Berkeley, I instantly felt compelled to post one of the poems I wrote around that time for this next blog posting.  I took the Poetry for the People class (a popular spoken word poetry class founded by the one and only June Jordan) at Berkeley in Fall 2008. Suffice to say, the class was phenomenal!  I am still not able to completely let go and perform in front of a real live audience, but I'd like to work toward that.  Hopefully, this blog can nudge me in the right direction. This was the first poem I wrote in this class. It is an "I am" poem. It's still a work in progress 2.5 years later. It would really help my editing process, if any of you out there were to please leave a comment or critique. 

I performed this poem in my class for my final and there aren't enough words to describe how empowering it felt. I was lucky to have Aya De Leon as my professor and she was not only inspiring but she trail blazed a path for us students that allowed us to truly let go and be free with our words.  Anyways here it is. Enjoy!

I am

I am the sweet basil of my Dadi’s breath.
The luscious orange mango of Pakistan and 
the rhythmic beat of a Trinidadian steel drum 
fervently fuse inside my hungry soul.
I am wining down so, 
to my mother’s incredible island lullaby 
and to the soothing sermon of Pak, Saar, Zameen.

I am an American born Camel Jockey.
a hyphenated American with terrorist blood 
pumping through my black heart.
I am standing up to salute Tupac’s Anthem,
the darker the flesh the deeper the roots.

I am at your service,
Pat your grubby charcoal hands against my fearless body,
spread my feet and arms like a silent starfish statue,
your warm dank breath barricades my fiery outrage
held captive in my sweaty throat.
Bludgeon me with shame as your
evil sights are set upon on my daughter.
I am your random security check.
My Muslim name tattooed in blood across my forehead,
a whirling dervish that expels your poison.

I am still the broken girl who allowed you 
to plough through me.
Stolen sweet innocence.
Burning flesh with crimson scar-less wounds.
Words did not escape my cowardly mouth;
your sweat-filled fingers asserted fierce forceful submission.
I am the teenager that hid the dark bruised eyes, 
the swollen scarlet lips and the midnight madness bloated cheeks.
I am the young girl who watched her life
dissolve into a pool of silence.

I am writing to defend myself
no longer naïve.
not gonna lay down without a fight.
a militant mother,
vigilant woman of color,
Obama supporter,
a poetry lover.
Free to spread my white wings,
I am home.

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