Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I Look Like One of Them

Dedicated to Katherine (formerly known as KitKat)

I look like one of them
No hard lines that make my age hard to determine
One of them – my people, their people (in denial)
They cast judgment without any trial.

I look like one of them
Those who pass judgment and condemn
Those who’ve never seen what these women have seen
Or heard their voices even though they scream.

The pain stood so fresh tonight on her face
The kind that will never erase
I have heard this story so many times before
Just another haunting story of war.

Doctors, nurses, cops, and johns
It always depends which side that they’re on
Those who see past the socially-imposed shame
Or those who ridicule, abuse, and lay blame.

I can barely contain this, my anger, my rage
Every war story told, I lock down like a cage
But my outrage keeps building and alas my heart bursts
I don’t know how to carry this burden, this curse.

I don’t walk in their shoes, roof over my head
I don’t have my things stolen when I go to bed
Each night I return to a warm, peaceful home
I can sit at my desk and type up this poem.

I look like one of them
I’m ashamed some are friends
With their “shoulds” and “get off drugs”
With their “pimps” and “hookers” and “thugs”

Talking like they have a clue
When nothing’s farther from the truth
Cause you cannot understand
If you can afford your dairyland.

The welfare agents, the landlords, and neighbours
The power they wield, with their conditional “favours”
The sweeping statements they make about worth
To women who’ve lived through much more than childbirth.

I bow down to the strength of these women at war
Standing strong, taking on the hard path of the whore
Even during the times when the pain’s just too great
How these women withstand, overcome, and create.

I may look like the ones who are blind and full of hate
But when faced with their bullshit, I just don’t relate
And I rage at the horror that is so commonplace
That the women I know accept being disgraced.

I’m one person who does not know how to go on
Because just losing a war like this is so wrong
They’re winning because all our soldiers are wounded
A world that is blind has so woefully doomed it.

There’s no good way to end this ode that I tell
Sometimes as women, we find things to sell
I don’t think that means that we’re not like the rest
Just they haven’t had to put their judgments to test.

And really what matters is only our souls
The parts of ourselves that no one ever stole
They tried but we begged, borrowed, boosted, and lied
And though some sisters were stolen, many still have survived.

Not one passage has passed with no one to mourn
Though we may not know Jane Doe for the day she was born
And we wage this deadly war against unfathomable odds
Offering up our most burdened moments to God.

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