Continuing the poetry challenge. This is #2 of 5.
Mules Fight Back
I’ve been taught that the Black woman’s “lazy”
the Black woman’s “mean”
She’s just this crazy “Emasculator” or a “baby machine”
A “hoochie mama” or a gluttonous mess
I’m taught I’m nonsexual, oversexed or “sassy” at best
And I’ve also been called stupid, emotional, unclean
I’ve even been judged by those who call me their “queen”
And I work like a beast but am stuck outside
Just trapped and attacked then labeled as “mean”
But I am still here and I still demand to be seen
I survive all! I victoriously breathe
See you can think me your burden or feign me your daughter
But I’m far from helpless
I. am. impossible to slaughter
I am neither a “hoe” Nor a “bitch” Nor a “foreigner”
And though cops may kill me I’m far more than victim or mourner
Cause I am the point where gendered race meets
the principled argument and the shouts from the streets
Put me down, cover me over
I boil up from beneath. Cause I am a fire with endless heat.
Think You Can Stop Me With This Culture of Hate?
Please. I’m STILL the “problem” you can’t eliminate
I’m assumed to be weak with no escape
But with an unbowed head I decide my own fate
For Angelou’s right. I’m the song of the slave
And from Aba riots to Ferguson. I’m shamelessly brave
I have that Shakur-Hamer spirit. That’s why I’m far from afraid
And once more I’m human. And I won’t be enslaved.
(c)2015 Kristin Richardson Jordan
This is my #2 of 5.
The title of this poem is in reference to Zora Neale Hurston’s novel Their Eyes Were Watching God (Hurston, 14). References to “The White Man’s Burden” by Rudyard Kipling, being a “problem” concept from The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois, “head unbowed” concept from “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley, and “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou are in this text. Name references include “Angelou”(Maya Angelou), “Shakur” (Assata Shakur), and “Hamer” (Fannie Lou Hamer). “Aba riots” refers to the Igbo “Women’s War” of 1929 and “Ferguson” refers to woman-led resistance efforts in response to the murder of Mike Brown in Ferguson, MO 2014.