Poem About My Rights

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 cam 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
alone
as I need to be
alone because I can’t do what I want to with my own
body and
who in the hell set things up
like this
and in France they say if a guy penetrates
but does not ejaculate then he did not rape me
and if after stabbing him if after screams if
after begging the bastard and if even after smashing
a hammer to his head if even after that if he
and his buddies fuck me after that
then I consented and there was
no rape because finally you understand finally
they fucked me over because I was wrong I was
wrong again to be me being me where I was
wrong to be who I am
which is exactly like South Africa
penetrating into Namibia penetrating into
Angola and does that mean I mean how do you know if
Pretoria ejaculates what will the evidence look like the
proof of the monster jackboot ejaculation on Blackland
and if
after Namibia and if after Angola and if after Zimbabwe
and if after all of my kinsmen and women resist even to
self-immolation of the villages and if after that
we lose nevertheless what will the big boys say will they lain my consent:
Do You Follow Me: We are the wrong people of
the wrong skin on the wrong continent and what
in the hell is everybody reasonable about…

– excerpt from Poem About My Rights, June Jordan

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