Wednesday, April 25, 2018

NPM 4-25: Poem About My Rights

Today I'm sharing a poem by June Jordan, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants born in Harlem in 1936. I have just learned about her and her writing and am humbled by it. You can read more about her at the Poetry Foundation.

Poem about My Rights

Even tonight and I need to take a walk and clear
my head about this poem about why I can’t
go out without changing my clothes my shoes
my body posture my gender identity my age
my status as a woman alone in the evening/
alone on the streets/alone not being the point/
the point being that I can’t do what I want
to do with my own body because I am the wrong
sex the wrong age the wrong skin and
suppose it was not here in the city but down on the beach/
or far into the woods and I wanted to go
there by myself thinking about God/or thinking
about children or thinking about the world/all of it
disclosed by the stars and the silence:
I could not go and I could not think and I could not
stay there
as I need to be
alone because I can’t do what I want to do with my own
body and
who in the hell set things up
like this

Read the poem in its entirety.

Happy Wednesday all.


  1. The rage - the well of it within that poem - is terrifying. I am deeply afraid of it. If one taps into that rage, one may go down and never... come ... up ... again.

    Who the hell set things up like this???

    1. This one was hard to read and made it hard to breathe. The fact that this is the lived experience of even one person is frightening.