A Poem Titled #PickingCotton

September 20, 2019


She had never known a life different than her own

And regardless of whether or not she had parents and guardians

Spike Lee taught her to do the right thing

She could lady and the tramp

Understand ODB having food stamps

And she could understand why someone would say “Take me to the King”

I have somethings to bring and I’ll probably throw some Minajesty, Tiffany’s and Gucci Perfume

While I’m out I’ll send scriptures to remind you that I still light up the room

And I understand what it means to have an extensive wardrobe in terms of the reality of a Victorian housewife

There are people who didn’t grow up with linen

And there are some addictions that turn words in behaviors that make people miss the economic bracket they are in

There is only one reason I have to use the laundry mat instead of the machine in the house I dwell in

Chemicals and cooties that are too strong for the environment

Weakened immune systems can become stronger

And strong immune systems can become weak

Because the strand is so strong

It can kill even the mightiest of warriors

I’ve danced in places where women have gotten away with hair extensions perceived as their own follicles providing a life giving force

I’ve lived through situations of women with their tubes tied and carry newborns in their hand and communities fail because in these scenes we are in need of breast milk

And where the tubes are tied there is a man who cries tears because there is no life force, there is no understanding, no embrace

In places where there is no hair growing from follicles and people need protein induced habits to create the sanity requirement

Does my health factor offend you

Is my leadership abnormal because you cannot have your way

Have you overstepped your boundaries and confused that with me--

Have you ever seen someone following the drinking gourd

And file a complaint because they walked by your seat

Are you a sitting guest complaining about a welcomed visitor-- an exciting obtainment

Did you get stuck in your wrong power

Did you not see to make all that noise, sing, do arts and crafts on Thursday's and Sunday's

Did you miss your invite to Balls and free trips to Museums because you made a call that wasn't yours to make

Are you an absentee mom at a sports game aiming to override the referee 

Not for the sake of the sport or the players but for some gain

Some attention that is not notable

You ever see a generation of people not know that people would kill someone for fabric softner

Did you get a house, a car, a kid and a dog-- and kill for a bottle of bleach

Did you mammie where they asked for their mom?  

People call me Sista Souljah and watch voiceless bodies say they have never heard me speak

Because the babble and foreign tongues have been given precedents

And I understand what it means to be a rose that grows from concrete

I know why some of the women speak and what they would do to the men who have eliminated the women who should speak

Have you ever seen the voice of a powerful woman be turned into a little freak

I understand intersections

And I’ve seen people surrender to Jesus and never talk about his jail time

But make that the primary focus of everyone else

Whose little freak—and love notes with sexual innuendos are healthy in the middle of a global economist workday

The souls of many men have died

All cried out

All dried out

I heard where the spirit of the lord is there is liberty  

I choose to quote Tupac and say that it might need some glasses

There is something that someone may need to see

I know a mammie when I see one

I know a housewife who has been carried into the twentieth century

So people can see daily that she brings the fruits of life to everyone who receives it

Pardon me while I speak to those who want to hear the words and the solutions

When they are breeder, mammie, slave, and concubine

She is wife

Have you televised your life into the form of someone else’s

Have you told the person with the oil to ssshhhh and know publicly have ashy feet

Did you miss the memo about how you could be home sleeping and decide to wake up the great one

The one who has seen murder with her eyes

Drugs sales with her heart

Defeated addicts and argued with her soul o officers who taught her to resist drugs

Because they know the life that awaits her

They can see the bodies that would break out of caskets and dig their way through the dirt even after they have died

They have their tubes tied—they tire in different ways

She lives knowing that the doctors and the teachers have put her in position

That the officers have alerted her

She lives knowing that skipping the school day isn’t so bad

But the Queen’s blunt confuses the addict

She is a diamond and it gets rough

She is a healer and it gets tough

She chooses fans made of leaves, bamboo or the golden fabric of our lives

She see's whips and chains-- chooses beauty and brains

Have you ever seen a woman leave her designer purse for deodorant? 

I have been stalked many times, watched people copy my life and ruthlessly attack me 

I walks as fast as a girl who dropped an iron on her leg at 7 and stepped on plugged in curling irons

I live like people who love enough to staple wounds together and I mean with a stapler

I know that living, even when the stitches are available

I laugh at men who don’t count

And have forgot to count when they do

They argue about research on dildos and rape kits

We remove their shoes—go ahead and step on the broken glass

You ever seen a girl get made fun of for being left out

And get told to say everything they would do to or for her

Only to find out that she is left out of slavery and shackles

And that every heckle, every time you would leave her out, beat her and leave her for dead is on file

And every time the person who kept you will remind you that they will heckle, leave you out, beat you and leave you for dead—because that’s what you would do

You ever see a girl realize that someone never paid attention in school

Or missed the day they talked about the Boston Tea Party

The day I got sleepy in class they spoke about guerilla warfare

My head lays on the desk but my education is listening—I never miss a thing

And I read Shakespeare in classes where underlining is the only requirement

And people make sure to point that out

Which is why I dine frequently and they can simply have what’s in the fridge

I make billboards and public service announcements for people who live like a stapler can heal a wound

I send them stitches and Neosporin, peroxide and cotton balls

Because when I pick

I pick with my heart strings

No means no

And my heart strings do buy $18 bottles of oil when it knows you ate at school

And it does go whatever is “overboard” in its very own way

It is my heart

And even if it is decrepit it is better that I choose my heart

Because it has told you that when you slide some oil to me—it is in healing time

Hospitals and televised surgeries do not make people understand spiritual transplants

And no I will not give up my manicure because you failed the part of life that gives you access to what you desire

I pick with my heartstrings

Even if it is picking cotton



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