why am i here?

what is it that keeps me here?
here, listening patiently, waiting for my turn
while you casually discuss my worth?
why does my heart linger in this place?
i know you will probably hurt me.

this conference isn’t accessible
a few six-inch steps push feminism out of reach
you fix it quickly of course
while your fingers toss loose strands of hair into a neat little bun,
you move the meetings i circle on a paper.

i’ve been here before
in fact, i come from a long lineage [line] of people who have been here
the fact that you moved the meetings for me is a big deal, i get it okay?
still i cannot understand how you did not expect people like me when feminism and organizing is so damn relevant to our lives

disabled women, poor women, and women of color were (and ARE) sterilization and instutionalized
being told we’re unworthy is how, as young girls, we develop our sense of self
when we have children, we’re punished and ostracized [hated].
just like they take away our babies, doctors encourage mothers to abort people like us
while equal gender pay triumphs your discourse, we can’t even GET jobs.

no i’m not saying your issues aren’t important, i know you have to deal too
i just wish you had a concept of what happens to me
my life, my people
but how can you when we’re excluded from your anthologies?
your programs?

our feminism is thriving— we have the best writers and thinkers
but i don’t expect you to know about that: you deny our very existence so you can focus on things that advance people like yourself
cause yeah, that’s really why we have social justice, eh?
to fight for our own rights and screw over whoever we have to get them, right?

i guess it’s those disabled, woc, queer feminist writers that keep me here. my heart is invested in them.

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10 Comments

Filed under writing/poetry

10 responses to “why am i here?

  1. This is beautiful! My heart is invested in them, in us, too!

  2. xoxo

    this especially: “still i cannot understand how you did not expect people like me when feminism and organizing is so damn relevant to our lives”

  3. Lex

    Thank you so much. I love thinking about what it means to invest with our hearts. And I also appreciate your distinction between social justice and “rights”.
    love,
    lex

  4. I know how you feel Sister! I was just at a meeting yesterday, one of those neighborhood association type meetings. Unfortunately, I am the Crip On A Stick of the group. Anyway, we were discussing where we were going to have our summit, and they were naming places, and had agreed upon one, when I said, “is the place wheelchair accessible?” They stared at me and their mouths dropped like, “oh, I’m sorry!” I told them that this is why I was there — none of them would have thought of accessibility for folks in chairs unless someone brought it up. You would think that with me being right there with them in the room that accessibility would have been on their minds, but, no…

    “the fact that you moved the meetings for me is a big deal, i get it okay?
    still i cannot understand how you did not expect people like me when feminism and organizing is so damn relevant to our lives”

    I feel you on that part above. In fact, this whole poem resonates with me. It gets to me that the very folks whom you would think would be allies, act like they’re doing us a favor by allowing us to come to their meetings, gatherings, etc., like it’s great to talk about the theory of inclusiveness, but when inclusiveness stares them right in the face, and they have to step out of their comfort zone and do stuff like have a space be wheelchair accessible, or provide stuff in large print, or have an interpreter for people who are Deaf, then, they treat us as if we are an inconvenience, or a bother. Somehow, we, our thoughts, feelings, aspirations, etc., either doesn’t matter, or isn’t seen as important as their stuff. It makes me sick because its so hypocritical, yet, they don’t get it that how they’re acting is hypocritical.

  5. dread, i totally hear you. i think that’s the most frusterating part— i can maybe get just average joe never-been-around-a-disabled-person not getting things but activists? people who say they are our allies? that’s why little things that are great, like seeing ableism listed next to other oppressions, really stand out to me.

  6. Real feminism needs to work from the bottom up, helping women who have to deal with intersections. Sadly, it’s often just a tool for white, able-bodied, cissexual women to become equal with white men.

    Not that I’m bitter.

  7. Aaminah

    CripChick, I love you. Can’t say anything more than that right now.

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