Christine – an honoring

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You don’t know this

But if there is a warrior

That warrior is you

If anyone blazes the way and holds the torch for the light to get through

That woman is you

Because you feel the fear and do it anyway

You set fire to yourself and offer your ashes to the Phoenix

You are unstoppable even as they come at you with everything and more

You’re the wind in the willows, the avalanche, the fucking heartbeat of ten thousand voices

You are Boudicca

Riding your chariot through the Roman siege

You are the woman in ten-year old sweat pants making me laugh until I weeze

Who can smell an idea and rip the world in half with your passion

And when you think you’re just some old bird biding her days

We’re here to remind you of the shine you’ve bequeathed so many

Before you, those things weren’t the same

They were easily passed by, easily put aside

And you said, hell no, and picked them up and gave them value

You galvanized the lost and herded them into something strong

We exist as we do BECAUSE OF YOU

You mock yourself because it’s what you know, but if you could see

The places you touch with your dreams and how they leave us

Better than we were

You’d be finally proud of your legacy thus far

And damn if nothing will ever stop you

Because if it hasn’t by now, then nothing will

Even on your dark days remember, you lit the way girl, it was you

It was you we owe so much to

And you who conjured the dawn.

For Christine E. Ray on her last day at SD and the first day of the rest of her life. We love you woman.

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Odyssey to Audre Lorde (part of the #unsung series)

52164-oFilled with the fervor of first love

with no doctor to check my rapid vitals

I was told there is a same-sex clinic you can go

where moustached men will not begrudge

your lack of desire for their kind

The Audre Lorde Clinic had a woman with

a tattoo on her neck, of a blue bird

she said

all our gynecologists are women like you

putting my feet in stirrups I felt differently from when

men peered between me with their gloved hands

I understood the power of the gaze to

withhold and diminish

who was Audre Lorde? I asked, having not yet

taken poetry, gender studies, minority relations

you don’t know? they raised their unplucked eyebrows

oh girl you need to know Audre

 

that was Audre’s  point all along it seems

she who makes her meaning known

“I am defined as other in every group I’m part of”

nobody can know, nobody can own my voice

The mythical norm of U.S Culture is

white, thin, male, young, heterosexual, Christian, financially secure

I am none

my name is Audre

I am legally blind

seeing more than race and yet some histories are bathed in blood

Audre would not sit down and be a good girl

outside the definition her tongue

like other complicated spirits struck with lightning

as a child, when asked; “how do you feel?”

quoting from a poem Audre said;

I feel like this

because linear thought and prose

doesn’t always cut it for the intersectional

and those

born with a longing for more than conventional norm

or who fit with the intolerant

Audre was asked; “Do you think the black woman of America is invisible?”

she said; “Where you been all your life?”

“I’m a black lesbian I’m every kind of invisible yet my voice subsists”

just as when young Audre tried to get the attention of her mother

who dwelled in the safety of being able to pass

for Anglo

maybe if Audre had not tried so hard

she would not have learned to pen poems so truthful

Audre demanded people know

“there are groups of us branded unacceptable living right next door to you”

her poetry continues in the mouths of  young women who hear her truth

she died as she lived, fighting

it is said all those who die young die too soon, we lose the best ones first

come back in your poems Audre, speak to us

through time, through thunder, you exist beyond yourself

 

“Those of us who stand outside the circle of this society’s definition of acceptable women; those of us who have been forged in the crucibles of difference — those of us who are poor, who are lesbians, who are Black, who are older — know that survival is not an academic skill. It is learning how to take our differences and make them strengths. For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. And this fact is only threatening to those women who still define the master’s house as their only source of support.” AudreLorde

#unsung – this is part of the hash-tag ‘unsung’ (unsung heroes) series that folks on WP are writing to selflessly promote those lives that did not get sufficient notice.