This poem is exquisite in its beauty, and poignant in its words. I've chosen to share her voice on my platform as our society continues to grapple with what it means to be privileged, what it means to have privileges and how to reconcile that within yourself so as not to feel ashamed for being born in to a society that overtly values or devalues you, nor to be ignorant of this same point. I can especially empathize with Diku's frustration around spellcheck not recognizing the word microagressions, as I have often wanted to punch my computer screen for giving the red squiggly line under the word, "adoptee" -- what a clear example of one way adoptees feel that our very being is less than.
Dear Writers, Listeners, and Writers who do not Listen
This piece was originally published at Soar. Diku Rogers is a junior in college from Brooklyn, New York.
Your privilege will not show up on my pages. It is not my fault that the reality of my reality Is a universe you can never imagine The sh*t that goes down for me Goes right over your head You search through my words Like they are broken mirrors Looking for some resemblance of yourself You will not find yourself here. You will not find yourself in the dropping of my “g’s” Or my metaphors of city streets and Caribbean eats You will not find yourself In my similes of browns and blacks You will not find yourself In my harsh tone I have no atonement For your inability to empathize.
Stop trying to gentrify my stories They do not need more characters YOU can relate to. They do not need more characters that look like you. Go look in your English classes, History textbooks, dining halls and dormitories. I will not twist my words to appease you. My characters are already oppressed by the pages they are confined to. Every narrative does not have your voice. Deal with it.
How quick you are to praise The story of a “typical” college kid But notice how quick you judge The microaggressions faced by a little black girl. As I type this a red line appears under the word “microagression” I mean Microsoft Word doesn’t even know what the f*ck I’m talking about.
Dear Writers, Listeners, Writers who do not listen You wanna kick it with Raymond Carver but can’t take Audre Lorde out on a date. You’re afraid to sit with James Baldwin at lunch but you run to stand in line next to Bukowski.
Writers, Listeners, Writers who do not listen You amaze me Tell me what it’s like To pick up your pen And not have it bleed to death With ink that’s black like me Now before you tell me how hard it’d be To write with a white pen Have you ever heard of invisible ink? It’s written all over your face Signed on all your credit card receipts It’s used in court rooms And classrooms Which are sometimes the same thing Because while you cast judgement I am tired of being trialed I am tired of shining My black light on your invisible writing Trying to make you see the words You don’t have to say
Your privilege will not show up on my pages. And I am trying to get published So realize you will not find yourself in my words. Cause I had to realize- a long time ago- that I wasn’t going to find mine in yours.