by AD Hope
A.U.C. 334: about this date,
For a sexual misdemeanour which she denied,
The vestal virgin Postumia was tried;
Livy records it among affairs of state.
They let her off: it seems she was perfectly pure;
The charge arose because some thought her talk
Too witty for a young girl, her eyes, her walk
Too lively, her clothes too smart to be demure.
The Pontifex Maximus, summing up the case,
Warned her in future to abstain from jokes,
To wear less modish and more pious frocks.
She left the court reprieved, but in disgrace.
What then? With her the annalist is less
Concerned than what the men achieved that year:
Plots, quarrels, crimes, with oratory to spare-
I see Postumia with her dowdy dress,
Stiff mouth and listless step; I see her strive
To give dull answers. She had to knuckle down.
A vestal virgin who scandalized that town
Had fair trial, then they buried her alive;
Alive, bricked up in suffocating dark;
A ration of bread, a pitcher if she was dry,
Preserved the body they did not wish to die
Until her mind was quenched to the last spark.
How many the black maw has swallowed in its time!
Spirited girls who would not know their place,
Talented girls who found that the disgrace
Of being a woman made genius a crime.
How many others, who would not kiss the rod,
Domestic bullying broke or public shame?
Pagan or Christian, it was much the same:
Husbands, St. Paul declared, rank next to God.
Livy and Paul, it may be, never knew
That Rome was doomed; each spoke of her with pride.
Tacitus, writing after both had died,
Showed that whole fabric rotten, through and through.
Historians spend their lives and lavish ink
Explaining how great commonwealths collapse
From great defects of policy – perhaps
The cause is sometimes simpler than they think.
It may not seem so grave an act to break
Postumia’s spirit as Galileo’s, to gag
Hypatia as crush Socrates, or drag
Joan as Giordano Bruno to the stake.
Can we be sure? Have more states perished, then,
For having shackled the enquiring mind,
Than those who, in their folly not less blind,
Trusted the servile womb to breed free men?
Black people do not need to die anymore. Black people do not need to march anymore. Black people do not need to leave our homes to take to the streets to scream, chant and be gassed and beaten into oblivion.
White people have this disease. Racism came from White people. You created it. You support it. You thrive off of it. You build your confidence off of White supremacy. You build your sense of self worth off of White supremacy. You build your wealth and industries off of White supremacy. You eat it. You drink it. It sustains you.
White people never shut up about how it’s #NotAllWhitePeople and #NotMyAmerica , etc. So fucking prove it. You march. You die. You stand up. You check your racist friends. You check your racist family. You check your racist coworkers. You check the racist people you fuck. Walk the walk and change this world that your culture has infected with your hatred, arrogance and insecurity. But you won’t. You keep quiet and you don’t do shit. Maybe you #hashtag. Maybe you reblog. Maybe you retweet. You think that makes you different than them? You’re not. At least they are honest with who they are. They don’t mask their evil like you do.
It’s not my fight. I’ll fight for me. I won’t die for you. I won’t die to change your mind. I won’t die to go to school with you. I won’t die to live next door to you. I won’t die for you to hire me. I will die for my beliefs. I won’t die because of yours.
This is America. Before Nov. 8, 2016, this was America. Tomorrow, it will be America. This is your disease and I will not be infected. You fight this. It’s got nothing to do with me. All I am concerned with is protecting myself from you. Integration was a joke. America is a joke. And I refuse to laugh. I refuse to laugh with smiling White people, pretending we’re not standing on a hill of corpses slain by your hand. Corpses who look like me. Corpses who could be me. But I should laugh with you, knowing you still use that word when I’m not around. I should laugh with you, knowing you won’t leave your purse open around me. I should laugh with you, knowing that if I spoke with a different accent and wore my jeans a couple sizes bigger, you’d be calling me a thug and making up excuses on Facebook about how the police were in the right and I deserved to die.
This country was built by White supremacists for White supremacists. America is a racist, misogynist, dumpster fire of a country and always has been. So if you’re such a “Good White Person™” , then YOU change it. YOU take to the streets and fight Nazis and Klan members. YOU field the tasers and the tear gas and the bullets. I’m going the fuck home.
So much of life spent running
As though it were a bad thing?
You recline in your wheelchair as you curse the walking
You think I don’t see the curl at the corners of your lips?
It’s quite perverse, to be honest
Two peas in a pod
I’m selfish because I walk alone
And you’re selfish so you slash my tires
“Welp, guess you’ll have to stay here another night.”
That’s where true evil lies
You clip wings, I only cut ties
But how much of your life was inevitable?
How much of this
Could I actually avoid?
I think of running and the skies open up
You have to be a certain type to know what that feels like
You have to be a certain type
Legs burning, lungs screaming
And through cries, you feel the need
To tear the very fabric of this world apart
Your pretty fingers curled ‘round darkness
Kneeling, it licks your hand
You feel alive
Life isn’t in a room
Life isn’t on a page
Life isn’t in your arms
Life is desire
I will run toward it – break my legs and I will crawl
You could never understand this
You have to be a certain type
I’m really infuriated. I know people have zero respect for African women and most people hate the fact that I am as talented and intelligent as I am, but if you like my songs but are shitty enough to not even pay 99 cents for it, you are truly evil. For the past 11 years I have been going through nothing but shit for this band. But you like my songs enough, so you steal it? I have had people even brag to me about it. Like, “I ripped your song from youtube! I listen to it every day!” Why would you do that? What kind of sick piece of shit are you? It’s like they want you to know that they don’t value what you do. What reaction do you want? Should I curse you out? Yell and scream? Sue you? No, I’ll just make a note that you are an asshole with no respect for my work and never talk to you again. I’ve had to think of other ways to promote myself because I can’t just rely on “If they like the song, they’ll buy it.” This is just so infuriating. I even remember when I put together a show in Berlin. It was in a store-front so there were windows and a door that led right on to the street. It was 3 euros to enter. Do you know that these German assholes blocked the ENTIRE SIDEWALK to watch me play in the FREEZING BERLIN WINTER rather than paying 3 euros to sit inside in the warmth and watch me play? They were that adamant that I didn’t get paid for my work. Only White people deserve to get paid. Everybody is entitled to all my hard work, effort and talent for free. I wanted to murder them. How disrespectful can you be? I still get assholes trying to get me to write songs for them and produce for free. Who the fuck do you think I am? Do you go up to exceptionally talented White guys and ask them to work for free? You don’t even go up to completely inept White guys and demand that shit.
I am really tired of this. I sacrificed my life for this band. My music is mine. If you like it, pay for it. If you don’t want to pay, don’t listen. Move on. I don’t care. This disrespect for me and my work has got to end. To steal from a band like mine… you’re literally evil. You love my songs, but don’t want me to benefit. Because you are so fucked up and hateful. Like, I don’t even know what kind of bizarro shit I have to deal with as an African woman. Like, people would come to my shows and then be rude to me or insult me at my own goddamn show. Or buy my cd but then be rude to me WHILE THEY ARE BUYING IT. I send out a booking email and the person responds…with insults to my music. Like, “I want her to play, but I have to let her know I don’t respect her and what she does, first.” FUCK THIS. It’s just wrong. If you don’t respect me or my work, or you’re jealous or resentful or racist or sexist or anti-African, YOU DON’T NEED TO BE LISTENING TO MY SHIT. I just hate all the inane shit I am forced to go through. There is NO WAY anyone White with my level of talent would be going through this shit. Just leave me alone. FUCK your games. FUCK your “tests”: (Oh, let me just be completely disingenuous and do this fucked up thing that there really is no reason to do, just to see how she “reacts” because I am a racist, sexist, coward piece of shit who likes to waste Black women’s time and I hate every Black woman that I do not feel superior to so I play passive-aggressive, manipulative mind-games in order to feel in control and dominant. Because I suck.) I am DONE. DON’T RIP MY SHIT. DON’T DOWNLOAD MY SHIT WITHOUT PAYING FOR IT. I am fucking tired of being disrespected. If you don’t pay for my music/videos, I don’t care if you like it. I’d rather you not listen. JUST IGNORE ME. Like I don’t deserve to get paid? My whole career I’ve been dealing with assholes who think that Black women don’t deserve to get paid, but will pay some useless White guy for completely subpar garbage. No, I am not “grateful” for the opportunity. You’re a fucking rapist. Fuck you.
“The world will ask you who you are, and if you don’t know, the world will tell you.”
The Black Girl Version:
“The world will tell you who you are, and if you don’t know, you’ll believe them.”
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