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Brown Girl Lifted

because life @ the intersection is personal & political

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poetry

For Colored Girls

-Nyesha Brown

I am frequently intimate with myself.
Because I am intimate with myself
I realize that the stumble of words across my tongue do not have to
constantly explain to others the wires of my hair
Or my brown skin
Or the sound of my voice.
I am borrowing a line and I want to be self-serving when I say
I wish myself well on my journey to the sun.
I wish you well on your journey to the sun
To the core of you, of me burning and throbbing and raging
There is a growing mind in here
And it is fertilized
But it used to be simultaneously plagued with a blight
Of whiteness and micro-aggressions
masquerading cradling lilywhite hands for ones that constrict and strangle
And dilute the richness of my blackness into “you talk white, you speak well.”
There is a growing mind in here
And it is not close to tiring
There is no holding it back
Only holding it tender
There is no holding it back
But there will be some who wanna hold it captive
and someone who will render it inactive
Incompetent
In. in. in.
I’m not folding in on myself
I’m throwing by blackness on a white canvas
my skin turning the color of earth’s clay I smile
my minds eye my eye’s mind opens to light
opens to darkness for without the dark who could shine
my eye’s brown and black thank god for that eye
that lets me see how the world operates
you know, the world that holds the sclera above the pupil
and how could you treat the black center of something so cruelly even my burnt kneecaps are fed up
the pigmentation comes to a head on my legs
I used to see them as burdens why aren’t my legs the same color throughout
But then again I’m not the same color throughout
“I’m not white I’m golden” my seven year old tongue spits
Split in half
And once my skin called out to be named (a political statement, self-preservation)
i became fluent in the language of myself
and i pray my syntax seeks to confuse the uncomfortable
who cringe in white cocoons


Samantha Adams is a 19 year old sophomore at UW Madison pursuing a degree in English with an emphasis in creative writing, and a minor in Gender and Women’s Studies. She lives in Madison but her heart resides in her hometown Milwaukee, WI. She believes her words can be just as powerful as her actions. She believes wholeheartedly in the power of black girl magic…and she’s working on new ways to take care of herself in an environment that is not always kind to women of color. She thanks Aarushi from the bottom of her heart for the opportunity to be featured on such an empowering blog!

When everything hurts, write a poem.

the-tempest-1886-1

Too often, people work hard to hide
That they are ever broken
Or unhappy or flawed
Or anything but perfectly happy.
Never anything but perfectly happy.
“Don’t dare be anything but perfectly happy.”
I don’t understand the allure of the placid.
What is a pulse without a tempest?
What is a laugh without a roar?
When I meet people, I want to love them.
I want to know the come and go of their
Happiness and full
I want to know the cracked porcelain
Wrists
The glued-together, burned clay fingertips
The knees that never melted before God.
Everyone is broken in different places
Everyone has parts of them they don’t know exist.
We forget what our bodies are made of until pain tugs at our composition
Don’t know kidney until it hurts
Don’t know bone until it shatters
Don’t know parts of ourselves until they are torn and tested.
We are all torn and tested in different parts.
I want to learn all of me.
And tracing my fingers on spiked wire spines
Teaches me more than caressing my own darkness
So I have learned to love
like peeling back the thin skin of an apricot
Like letting the juice run down alongside my veins
Like seeing the shattered glass
The ebb of the wave
The crash of the tide
Like everything.
All of it.
Beautiful,
In its singular composition.

Continue reading “When everything hurts, write a poem.”

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