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June 3, 2020

Now is the Time to Use our Voices. {Poem}

For much
Of my life,
I felt wrong for
Speaking.

Like what I had to say
Didn’t matter anyways.
Not wanting to say
The wrong thing.
Like I didn’t matter.

I feel wrong speaking
Right now,
When the pain
Of others
Is center stage.

I am white,
But I too,
Am woman.
I cannot speak for
The various textures
But I can speak
Up for the undertone
Of experiences.

Hatred,
Violence,
Abuse,
Exclusion,
Judgment,
Profiling,
Image projection
Of our own internal fears.

The illusion
Is just as real feeling.

I have tread lightly
Most of my
Lighter skinned life.

Tried to not
Step on anyone’s toes
But smashing my
Own toes bloody
To a pulp.

This, too,
Is violence.

These too,
Are seeds of violence.

Self-policing,
Self-oppressing,
Self-betraying.

As within,
So without.

I have held my
Tongue most
Of my life,
Until
I let her free.

She was cool wrapped
In salted paper,
Tasting bloody
With each salivation.

Quiet tongues
Are just as deadly,
But deadly
To the one holding on.

I speak now,
Shaky and unsure
Of if what I say
Holds weight
To the larger voices.

I speak for justice,
I speak for peace,
I speak for
These shared things,
Though I can’t
Ever know one’s experience,
But my own.

Can we speak these things now?
Even if we don’t know what
We’ll say?

The mouth has been censored
Over by other forces
Of oppression,
Race,
Class,
Religion,
Gender.

I don’t face oppression
For my skin tone.
I haven’t felt
The violence and hatred from
The outside world
Because of this garment.

But, I do know
Internal oppression,
And what I see and feel
In my heart,
As a witness and speaker
Of this injustice.

I can speak for these things.
These inner pathways
The source
To finding freedom again.

Though, external
May weigh
Heavier on our eyes
And shoulders.

I speak for freedom.
For justice
Freedom from
All oppression.

For the oppressed,
For the oppressed lenses
Of silence.

I am one of the rising voices,
Learning how to speak.
Learning how to
Say these
Things f*cking matter.

Black lives matter.
You f*cking matter.

The things
Said matter
The most.

Your voices matter.
Learning
Still to speak
Instead of staying
Silent
In submission.

I am skinned
In whiteness,
But human
In my heart.

The heart beats
For the freedom
Of the oppressed.

May you never
Stop speaking.
And never go
Silent again.

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Anna Palmer  |  Contribution: 16,470

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