Appalachian Ohio, Athens GA, Atlanta, Berkeley, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Columbia MO, Des Moines, Fredericksburgh VA, Jacksonville NC, Los Angeles, New York City, NYU, Philadelphia, Palo Alto, Portland ME, Richmond VA, Rutgers University, San Francisco
In Part II on Social Justice Through Poetry, I am sharing one of the teens’ work from the Holla WHAT? Hollaback! workshop at Northeastern this past July. This teen was shy at the beginning, but throughout our time together they were quickly engaged in the work and really wanted to write a poem during our activity time. They shared it with the class and that’s all I’m going to say, because it speaks for itself. (I’m so proud of them!)
I am not your lovely scented bar of soap
that you can wash your hurt and beaten body scars away with…
If you didn’t know by now my inner feelings are not stiff.
I call it how I see it.
You may not like my advice but I’m telling you it’s needed…
I do not understand you and I am not intending on demanding you,
but you are bleeding out disrespect
and a whole lot of neglect that I refuse to accept,
and these words I speak you might not expect,
but hold up wait a minute I’m not done yet…
I am a blossom and you should think that’s awesome
and I will not play dead like a possum
cause once again I am a blossom
and I become ill when you speak
but tell me this, what do you hear when I speak
and please don’t tell me that the truth isn’t what you seek.
Poetry, and all creative responses to street harassment, provide the creator and the audience with a glimpse into the emotional and mental scars of being harassed. With writing, one can put words to feelings that otherwise get lost in the cut and dry descriptions of altercations. Writing can also be a source of healing, closure, and empowerment for the creator.
Do you use writing for social change? Leave a comment below telling us your thoughts on the poem or anything else you’d like you share!
Author comments are in a darker gray color for you to easily identify the posts author in the comments