Sunday, March 6, 2016

Different but the Same...

This evening I came across a poem at The Poetry Foundation.  I was having my coffee, savoring the delicacy of some chocolate pastry and looking for something to read.  Something to read that would really probe me to think.  I need not have looked far, for on the right-hand column was a poem by June Jordan titled Poem About my Rights.

I know that the essence of the poem is one woman's reflection of inequality.  The inequality of being a woman.  The unfair mis-perception of being of color.  How someone feels to have their basic humanity, their freedom, their sense of worth stripped from them by the judgement of some mere difference in characteristic of appearance.

And this poem got me.  Or, maybe, I got it.  Or we understood each other.  The poem and I.  June Jordan and I.  We had something in common there.  That feeling of judgement and exclusion.  Of somehow being wrong without fault.  Wrong without having ever tried to be wrong or not to be wrong.  Yet, judged harshly so.

For what does it matter if you're socially raped because of your color, or because of your gender, or because of your sexual orientation?  It says a lot about society when trans-gender people are throwing themselves in front of on-coming traffic for fear that they will never belong.  It makes me sad for the state of humanity when people are misplaced, disowned, left in the city gutters of civilization because they identify with LGBTQ.  Or because they believe in Buddha instead of Jesus.  Or maybe neither.

Has the world forgotten that we are, indeed, all human?  That is the basic, most core thing we have in common.  The fact that we are all flesh and blood.  We all cry when we're sad.  Our brows furrow when we're angry.  We all bleed when cut.  That, alone, should make people see how much we do, indeed, have in common and that everything else...color, sex, orientation, merely the graffiti that colors each of our individual worlds.

But obviously, even as each generation advances in technology and science, it seems the true meaning of what it means to be alive, to be human, still evades people.  There's a lot of people out there who'd rather gouge your eyes out than allow you to see them in different colored skin than yourself, or living a different lifestyle, worshiping a different God.  And it's probably one of the saddest things I've observed thus far in my lifetime.

Below is an excerpt of Jordan's poem.  And, like her, I'd like to just be able to feel safe walking alone into the night with my own body, my own mind:

"Even tonight and I need to take a walk and clear   
my head about this poem about why I can’t   
go out without changing my clothes my shoes   
my body posture my gender identity my age
my status as a woman alone in the evening/   
alone on the streets/alone not being the point/
the point being that I can’t do what I want   
to do with my own body because I am the wrong   
sex the wrong age the wrong skin and   
suppose it was not here in the city but down on the beach/   
or far into the woods and I wanted to go   
there by myself thinking about God/or thinking   
about children or thinking about the world/all of it   
disclosed by the stars and the silence:   
I could not go and I could not think and I could not   
stay there   
as I need to be   
alone because I can’t do what I want to do with my own   
body and   
who in the hell set things up   
like this..."


  1. this sits heavy in my heart and my being. i touch on this in the piece i recently submitted entitled 'unrequited life'.

    gracias for sharing

    1. i read many of your writings today. i'm still not caught up though. :)

      so thankful for your words and our little friendship via blogger.


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