Brown Bodies Bending

“My mom coached me on how we have to bend into words, feather enough to spew from their throats.”

I am sure that I was in kindergarten
00:07
when I learned how to bend black body
00:10
and brown seat a country of charcoal
00:13
surrounded by sea of Italian in Irish
00:16
Bruno brown Negro black my mom coached
00:21
me on how we have to bend into words
00:23
feather enough to spew from their
00:25
throats I was seven years old when the
00:27
nun named me heretic for coloring Jesus
00:29
the color of my face instead of pure was
00:32
9 when I learned how to how Bruno bodies
00:34
bent into stretched holes of rope and
00:36
swung from side to side when your nigger
00:38
girl in white world be careful not to
00:40
swing so Swift from side to side lest
00:42
they be reminded of our swag from tree
00:45
limb to limb to lash lest let me remind
00:48
you our prey I was 16 when I noticed the
00:51
white boy cut his eyes across my body so
00:53
thick I could smell the piranhas in his
00:55
tongue how we only wanted to bite him so
00:57
what would be forbidden exotic when you
00:59
are brown body in white world
01:01
you are always exotic you bend in a
01:04
pomegranate and shrapnel all at the same
01:06
time I was 17 walking in white school
01:09
restroom where the blondes and brunettes
01:11
called their hair nappy Barbara can you
01:14
braid our hair like yours so I learned
01:17
to bend my body into the shape of my own
01:19
scars like silence like bodies swinging
01:22
at midnight I was 20 when the white
01:24
kindergartners I told me they couldn’t
01:26
play with brown people germs and all my
01:28
supervisors found at Comic Relief but
01:30
Bruno in me counted the hearts of the
01:32
three black girls in the playground and
01:34
shoved them into my prayers like a
01:35
charred pocket when you are a brown body
01:37
your whole existence is always on fire I
01:40
was 21 when the white boy told me I was
01:43
beautiful then shared
01:45
he understood the black struggle after
01:47
all he’d worked in a prison for years
01:50
after all he lived next to a graveyard
01:52
for years and the white girls are secure
01:56
as long as I’m beneath them silence in
01:59
my place they had no idea of the miles
02:01
of fear I’ve had to plow through just to
02:03
learn the weight of my own voice I hear
02:05
them dance of after parties and
02:06
cocktails vacations and wine gowns they
02:09
tell me of the ghosts they’ve collected
02:10
wondering what they should eat never
02:12
they will who they should vote for never
02:14
if they can which clothes to wear never
02:16
question if they have them or if they’re
02:18
clean or if the stitch too tight to
02:20
their bodies less than cause the scene
02:21
and be deemed inappropriate revealing to
02:24
ethnic urban body to human my hair a
02:28
wild rag of history bring from my crown
02:30
curls clung themselves towards another
02:32
shade of existence they never worried
02:34
about if they’ll be spoken to
02:36
acknowledged as human or if they have to
02:38
fight through a million throats just to
02:40
have their voices heard only to be
02:41
placed on display and discounted they
02:44
never take care of bodies like this body
02:46
we don’t know Nega body you’ll be Ben
02:49
you’ll be bending into bullets bend into
02:51
what you’re good for bend knows what
02:52
you’re made for been in to swallow brown
02:55
bodies always so busy bending they just
02:57
cross their legs and watch her swallow
02:59
ourselves
03:02
[Applause]
03:02
[Music]
03:05
[Applause]

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