Poems and Power: Sept 16

A lesson learned the hard way


growing up in the pews

of buildings that spiral to heaven,

you memorize the muted

colors of hymnals and padded

folding chairs. the small hairs

in your ears, back of arms,

knowing by heart every phrase

separating you from anything other.

all the colorful. all the raw. 

the sustenance. the meal.


you stop reacting to the sound

of repetition, pull your soul apart

from the symptoms.

the lump in your throat,

the wet in your eyes, the calm

settling in your chest.

nothing more than god confirming

every word delivered out of

wrinkled white men’s mouths.


then, you’re 19 and still waking up

to an understanding that something

as small goosebumps raising hairs on your arm

at hearing a beautiful phrase

is available to each person roaming earth.

by nature of humanity. the skin that wraps

us up in pulsing veins. electric impulses

and synapse that connect us to each other.


the emotion that tells your chest to open,

from empathy, or beauty, or understanding—

is not supposed to be kept hidden

and secret for only those wearing

god’s garments; stitched at the heart.

for those who’ve taken cryptic vows written

by and for men who will never know you,

secret handshakes shrouded.

it’s not just for women who given

the whole of themselves up,

eyes covered. waiting for their name

to be called through a veil

they’ll never see through.


you were not chosen.

you were simply, born.


god is art and art is a goddess.

and men have no power here.




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