Journal entry

I’ve been thinking a lot about time and the passage of it. I can’t believe 2010 was 8 years ago. That so much has happened and changed, and that I can sometimes still feel stuck. Even with all that’s different about me and mine today, I feel unmoved and perhaps like my old self in a new body. I feel tinges of regret and guilt about choices I made and ones I had absolutely no say in. Feelings that would not have occurred to me even two years ago, when things were different but not so vastly as five years ago.

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Smaller than myself

I was a hundred and fifty-six pounds
When I met you
Could cross the span of an ocean
In one, two steps
Filling up the space of myself
With all the things I knew
My preference for backwoods
And ice-cold Minute Maid
Prone to spilling myself into open arms
And rebuilding my muscles
So I could cradle my loved ones

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With No Immediate Cause (notes to Ntozake)

In appreciation of the poem by the same name
with no immediate cause
Ntozake Shange

I used dashes (—) to mark line breaks when quoting Ntozake Shange’s poem, so as not to be confused with her artistic use of slash marks. 

The most useful piece of information I took from my intro to women’s and gender studies course was the reality that my lived experiences with harassment and gender-based violence are in no way happenstance. Nor are they the result of my choices in company, attire, whereabouts, or recreation. I am a single body inside a reality that has warped and misshaped itself into a place where “every3 minutes a woman is beaten— every five minutes a— woman is raped/every ten minutes— a lil girl is molested[1].”

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educate the masses

This is a “Poem of the Day” feature piece

To teach tolerance
Requires a level of tolerance I simply do not possess
And compassion for the ignorant
Who deem themselves not so violent
Because they only pay the company that makes the guns
And guns don’t kill people/
People—men with pent up emotions from childhood
Women who believe themselves exempt
Cowards hiding from the truth of themselves—
Kill people

© Ama Akoto (2018

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Reading the Combahee River Statement pt. 1

This is a “Weekly Spotlight” feature piece

  1. The genesis of Contemporary Black Feminism

We would like to affirm that we find our origins in the historical reality of Afro-American women’s continuous life-and-death struggle for survival and liberation … There is undeniably a personal genesis for Black Feminism, that is, the political realization that comes from the seemingly personal experiences of individual Black women’s lives … However, we had no way of conceptualizing what was so apparent to us, what we knew was really happening … Black feminists often talk about their feelings of craziness before becoming conscious of the concepts of sexual politics, patriarchal rule, and most importantly, feminism, the political analysis and practice that we women use to struggle against our oppression.

The Combahee River Collective Statement, April 1977

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The color of me is mine

This is a “Poem of the Day” feature piece

I wear black in a new way
That dips at the hips
And widens near the belly
Exploding near the chest
To make room for a reddened heart
It seems almost inseparable from my frame
Like leather around strong flesh
That when it so chooses
Sags off my limbs
So that I am a cloaked and
Shadowy vacuum of myself
Black looks good on my hands
Pricked by the ends of sewing needles
And even better between my legs
A rock pulled from the middle of a deep river
Wet like I get some time
Growing a mossy cover
To shield all this blackness when I need to turtle
Away and hide behind my shell
Of a Negro woman
I deserve the dark in between my cheeks
And the light on my palms and soles
Earned it when I popped out wailing from my mama’s center
And tore my way through my terrible twos
Then grew up into a little girl harassed between the stacks of
A public library, the mechanical doors of a Metro bus, and
The unfamiliar streets of her hometown
Assaulted on the train platform by a man
Who’d seemingly never heard no
I reaped the sorrow benefits of my slick skin
Every time the letters of my name took on a new shape
In the mouth of some white man or woman who never learned
The ins and outs of that section of the English language
When I became a vernacular dialect
A sub-culture
Coals and coffees took up my body like blood and air
I took the black from my mama and my daddy
Like a badge that bore my name before it was ever divined
I took and kept it

© Ama Akoto (2018)

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