You Say, I Say


You say I am a woman,

I am not fit to rule,

But I have been ruling over this kingdom

As long as I’ve been alive.

I decorate its walls,

And paint it vibrantly.

This life is mine to live,

So I will put ink in my skin

If I want to.

I will change my hair,

Cut or dye it as I please.

I will wear short skirts

And shirts that stop at my ribs

And that is not an invitation.

If my mouth hesitates,

If it does not respond

You’ve no right to place your words within it.

You tell me I am here

To please your eyes

But tell me then

Why is my gift within?

Why is my mind so capable?

Why, then, am I strong?

I am beautiful, yes,

But this is not all I am.

I am things you call ugly

But only when it is my beautiful face

That is the cover.

I am stubborn, and clever, and independent.

But these are the traits of a man, you say.

I say, they are traits of me.

I say that my place is not alongside

And sure as hell not behind a man.

I say that my place is with those

Whose minds

Can push mine,

Strengthen mine

Rather than those who sit back

And place the external upon a pedestal.

Courage and love fortify my kingdom.

Aesthetic may please momentarily

But strength will flourish

Even when encapsulated by darkness.

This poem is about: 
My community
My country
Our world


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