Arts featured Racism

Tired bodies, a poem by Martha Mutale

May 13th 2018

I am trying to remind myself why I am relevant
Reciting daily mantras to keep feeding my soul
Black women need love too
Even though perfection may surface
Self-hate rings a bell
Every. Single. Day

Learning to see myself
Learning to speak to my body
Even when I am alone
Why my inability to feel functional deserves an explanation
Why my journey to normalize blackness
Is burdensome
Black womanhood means survival

It’s exhausting
The way we live
Taking home microaggressions
That we never ask for

Self-care as a Black woman means only being in spaces that make me feel great

I am tired of waking up to bullshit claims that racism doesn’t exist
Reading story after story of black beings getting murdered because our flesh bothers you
Arrested for being Black
Napping why Black
Barbecuing in the park while Black
Graduating from university while Black
Breathing while Black
Making a phone call while Black
Caring for our children while Black
Our stories have become a laughing matter to prevent the truth from being apparent
We are tired of being dead even before we get the chance to be alive
White people as much as we see some of you try
You still fail
You fail miserably
And for the small fraction of White people who are aware of their privilege and work hard to navigate  a world that’s
conditioned to giving them everything, you don’t need to be applauded for your work, just keep unlearning, and
I am tired of this poem being on my mind
But I wrote it as a step to freedom
Soon and very soon
We will be free  

Martha Mutale. Photo Halifax Library

Martha Mutale is a Zambian-born poet, organizer, and advocate. Martha was a 4th Wall participant for the Michaëlle Jean Foundation, where she submitted a poem called No Justice No Peace which talks about the global issues surrounding Black and Brown bodies. She has been performing poetry for several years, she took part in the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in 2016, as well as the Canadian Individual Poetry Slam in Vancouver in 2017. She also co-founded a non-profit called Poets 4 Progress which was active for two years. 

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One Comment

  1. LOVE IT! Just the poem I appreciate seeing here. I will be in touch Martha, would love to have you join me for a reading! Thanks so to Robert for publishing this educational poem!

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