Friday, May 6, 2011

Audre Lorde (1934-92)




Audre,
when you were blinded by that streaming
flash of white light
interposed between
white pavements and monuments
rolling through Washington,
where you were told you were too Black
to sit at a counter in
an indifferently furnished diner -
did you know that the silence that straddled you
was anger?

When your teachers
lambasted you for drawing your name
in a cursive hand
and not hesitant scrawl;
when they gently warned you
to apply yourself
assiduously to a job,
whilst the white girl beside you
received instruction and impetus for academia and beyond -
for no Black girl could arrogate
such imprudence -
did you know the hurt
gnawing at your dignity
was anger?

When the anemic eye of pale dominion
penetrating the sidewalks of
Harlem negated you,
turning away from the curves
of your dissident,
rounded frame;
when the oppressive weight
of your unspoken vengeance
crumbled under the
ceaseless assault
of the disaffected, denying gaze -
did you know the
doubt that infiltrated your pride
was anger?

When the loud, stentorian
voice of factory machines
interspersed between the
discovery of
desire for another woman
chiseled the knowledge
of a transitory love -
did you know the disappointment that wracked you
was anger?

When,
in the early freedom of the company of
women who liked women
coalesced together
in binding fortitude,
you felt first release and
craving;
when, with time,
you witnessed and understood
the betrayal
of flesh to flesh,
the evermore of desire,
the laceration of
togetherness;
when, finally,
you said you felt the recrudescence of
an old weakness - mistrust -
did you know
that the self-preservation that steeled you
was anger?

When you
stepped off the treadmill
of constant rebellion
to speak in the voice of
experience -
did you know the determination
that moved you
was anger?

Audre,
I hear you now,
far away from Harlem,
not Black, but Brown,
not woman, but man -
I hear you.
I want you to know
that I hear your anger
pulse and thrust against
your words as I read them,
as they move me
to anger;
an anger of emancipation -
of love, freedom, and pride.



3 comments:

oh look, stars! said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
oh look, stars! said...

I am enamored with how fluidly this seems to roll across the page. Would seem someone has spent a good amount of time setting this just right, but I'm sure it just seeped out from your fingertips as easily as it can be read.

I guess I heard it too.(typo error :/)

Arjun Rajkhowa said...

Thank you for saying that. I appreciate it.