A Poem of Writing Inspiration

Stacyann Chin is an amazing spoken word poet. If you don’t know her you should. I just read a bit of her work to get my day started and found this wonderful poem about writing.  Enjoy. 

In Response to Danish —- by Stacyann Chin

(the six-year old Pakistani passenger- who asked me why I write)

For myself-I tell her
for fear there might be nothing left
beyond this ritual
this excess of religion
the reason mankind loves condemnation
and images of a white male God

For Jamaica
the island that rejected me
for my fingers writing impossible sonnets
on the inner muscle of a female thigh

For the women I left there
bleeding for the zygote of that lust
aborted for just being

They still live there
far from the hands that pushed me
down the staircase with the broken banister
because we all need to push back at something

For the skeletons I write
only in inked outlines
for the vibrator that crosses state lines with me
for the nights I sleep alone

For the man I left
because he could not understand
why I complained of cramping heavily one month

For my father
who has only ever wrapped his lips around my name
for my grandmother who hums it every morning
in prayer
for the fear of my mother
who might very well be mad
for the way I move my hands like her
when I speak
for the words that threaten insanity
if I do not speak out loud

For the child I hope to nurture from my navel
one day
for the world I will be afraid
to pass on to her
For my version of America
for the drunks who rest their conscience in open gutters before dawn
for Hitler
for South America
for History and Ayatolah
for the women who never loved me
for the ones who always loved me back
for Angela
and Anna-Lisa
for Asha and Andrea and Alexandra
for Arianna who writes happy poems
because she believes in dancing
for this alphabet of needs we swallow without fluid everyday
for Alejandra who lives in Austria
for Brent who went back to Trinidad
for the letter C
I cannot say her name
for fear of her safety
for Deean
for Elisha
for Fernando and Peter
and to move this poem along I write for Quraysh
and his sons
for Racquel who loved me when I chose not to love her back
for lost strangers
speaking in musical foreign tongues
for the violence we ignore
as long as it is not being done to us
for undoing those secrets our mother’s mothers’
told us never to speak of
Malcolm who wrote his name the only way he could not spell slave
for Lorraine Hansberry
who always wrote like she was black
for the young and the gifted
for the lack of causes that reflect us
for the surrender we refuse to write
for the dream
for the dried grapes of wrath
for the reasons so many shadows continue to exist
because the world will not accept
the people who live in fear behind them


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