Because we have the right to create and distribute work that critically considers the world around us and our place in it as young women and as women of color. Because we have the right to let others know what we think, connect with those who feel the same way, and educate those who disagree. Because we have the right to acknowledge that we have been oppressed as women and as women of color and to encourage other women to identify and fight against oppression in their lives. Because we have the right to help cultivate a strong female community at K College, in Kalamazoo, in this country, and in the world. Because we fucking hate patriarchal, hierarchical, bourgeoisie, white supremacist society that tells us we're weak. Because we have the right to not speak, and listen, and shout at the top of our lungs, and be acknowledged and respected. Because we have the right to wear our hair naturally, cut short, legs hairy, short dresses, or low cut shirts without being ogled. Because we have the right to flaunt our sexuality and visions without consequences, threats, or fear. Because we love our fat, bony, curved, muscular, soft, pale, dark, golden, beautiful selves. Because we remember that what we do to the earth and each other, we do to ourselves. Because our anger and sadness and empathy and love is valid, and we won't apologize for it, or let it be burned out or turned against us. Because we believe the change will not be televised, tweeted, posted, tagged, blogged about, painted, sung, scrawled, or published. Because we believe the change starts from within. Because we believe in the inherent dignity of each and every person. Because we believe in a better world with our whole spirits, minds, and bodies, and imagining and working toward one is what we do.
When I Am Wild Woman The invasive species Autumn Olive does not originally grow with thorns. However, if it is cut down and grows back it will produce thorns on its branches. I crack the earth as I ripen. When they cut me back, I return with thorns, like the Autumn Olive. When I drop my leaves it is the dance of a shaken woman. It must be something to be celebrated. Being able to feel the cold. If you crush me under your feet I will be your herbal cure. If I was the dogwood, I would bloom like a tree set on fire.
Kate Belew This poem was written due to funding through Pierce Cedar Creek Institute through The Nature In Words Fellowship. 3
RAPE by A.H. i'm sorry my love bu i'm not buying it it can't be love if i feel raped i am a walking fashion magazine to you full of imperfections i am a fucking hole for you to fuck and fill your own void i am sexable material i am a curvy road for you to speed on i'm sorry my love bu i'm not buying it it can't be love if i feel raped it can't be love if you see me and think i'm every girl on earth we walk around you check us out because we're sexable material we are three fucking holes for you to fuck and fill your own void i'm sorry my love bu i'm not buying it it can't be love if i feel raped
it can't be love if you care more about my looks than i do it can't be love must be it rape
The reaching hand poem Here I am thinking about my own skin for the first time; the difference of a digit, and five fingers, and one of them pointing; one hand extended, to give or to take â€” I don't know which, yet. I lock my door. We realized later when he made a pass that his gift of bananas was no gift. The world pivots on this handshake and your palm; each of us a bright earring dangling from god's ear, and they say she is the infinite listener. When he does a puzzle, he doesn't start with the edges. Fiona Carey
We were in love with the thought of a talisman, something we could visit and touch be fortified by. We knelt beside it in the summers, small feet tapping out secret rhythms and fingernails picking into the damp and mushy bark. When it grew windy we listened to the vibrations and found a way to turn the moment into a something honorable. The roots of the tree snaked up and out, forming valleys of earth. We declared this to be the most holy space of all, the dip at the base where rain gathered. We liked the thought of this being magic water. We scooped it with plastic spoons into a metal jar and kept it in our bedroom in case we needed saving someday. We lived as if we had sensed her soul and made her a friend. That it was because we loved the being, not just because we needed something to rest our small faces against. I know which one it was. I recognize her arms and hips. I wish I could speak to her now, in the way in which only children can. To say thank you, or ask if she minded, ask what she thought of us, stained, raggedy children climbing all over her roots like we belonged to her, and pressing our bodies up against her skin. 7
The Potato Farm By Jamie Patton ―Potatoes are one of the most versatile, gratifying and pleasing vegetables around.‖ – United States Potato Board You wouldn’t know by looking at them - rough, and stained brown from the earth - but potatoes are fragile. A fall of only three feet can prove fatal to this cool crop, accustomed to the soft cradle of late spring soil. Folks from a town like this can get lost if they leave. Wander away from the straight rows of plants stuck in reverse, retracting from the sun, digging stolons into dirt - and tubers, swelling as the ground watches with the wonder of a five year-old seeing the dogs fuck in the backyard. This is the time where the most dangerous thing in life is frost. It breeds the kind of decay you don’t notice straight away, but you wake to find your barn looks like it was hit by the harvester (Maybe the rot was in there all along). It’s safe here – in dark rooms kept at precisely forty one degrees – too warm for starch to turn to sugar (and just cold enough), where country boys could learn a lesson or two: sweetness does no good on this farm (be just cold enough). Potatoes on potatoes, nestled in those cool spaces, developing skins tough enough to be handled. Forming callouses on hands that nurture such tender roots. Hands raised on generations of potatoes, cultivated by generations of fathers and sons. It’s best to stay. Where boys build bonfires behind the fields on Friday nights and become men.
MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan) is an organization whose main purpose is to promote change in the Chicano community. It is an organization that was formed in the hype of the Chicano Movement during the sixties. Essentially, MEChA was meant to be the educational aspect of the Chicano Movement. Its main purpose is to focus on making higher education assessable for the Chicano community in order to increase the power that the Chicano community has over legislation, medicine, and policies.
We, students of Kalamazoo College, representing ourselves as Chican@s, organized as mechistas, and united with the Latin@ community have come here to propose a possible solution to the distraught we face at this elitist institution. We want to take advantage of the attention called by Mr. Gomez-Pena’s presentation, to be able to let our voices be heard. We hereby present y’all with our list of demands: 1)
As current Chican@s present in this institution, we demand that future generation Chican@s coming to this campus are able to open the history books and actually find OUR history in it as well!
2) We demand that Latin@s on this campus be empowered through EDUCATION, not just dialogue. Having a Chican@s Studies department will build confidence within the Latino population which will ultimately empower students to become leaders and give back to their communities. 3) We demand the establishment of a Chican@ Studies Department on campus, as a way for the administration to show us they care about the Latin@ community on campus Having a Chican@ Studies department will demonstrate that we are not just brought here to diversify the campus, but that administration truly cares about us and wants to see us succeed. 4) We demand that the administration expands their approach to social justice by supporting latin@ students on campus: As students of color on campus, often first generation, we want a department that will support us through understanding our experiences and where we come from.
5) We demand that the administration increase diversity outside the student body: We want faculty that looks like us: More students of color, specifically Latin@s will be drawn to this institution knowing that they will come to a campus where they will be able to relate to the professors like Dr. Salinas and Dr. Garriga-Lopez and materials at a personal level. As Chican@s on campus, we want professors and administrators who we can relate to. 6) We demand that Anglo, non-Anglo, and non-Chican@ students to become antiracists allies by educating themselves on issues that affect other communities living in this nation: The Chican@ Studies department will also create stronger solidarity among K students who will empower each other to become allies and advocate an actual community of social Justice. It will encourage everyone to learn EVERYONEâ€™S story. Burst the K bubble! Engage, tie in, with the Kalamazoo Community beyond service learning We are Not intimidating. We are real people with real experiences and a long history in this country. We are not here to harass ANYONE. We would just like every single one of you in this room to listen to us.
If We Are Telling Lies I Am Winning Blindly I die on the side of the road alone. A gasping carcass of earth things. Moving with the earthworm’s ache. You leave my thawed silent snake head. For the hawks to lick their lips to. Closed doe lips, fox body. Something erotic in the way my legs are bent. Scent of death and lavender crushed in your bone. It comes down to everything you’ve ever known. You’re passive in the thinning woods. Eyes on sticks that want to snap your pulsing, searching body. You’re scared to love a wild thing. Capable of death, living. Go away. Leave me. Wide eyed. Willing.
Kate Belew This poem was written due to funding through Pierce Cedar Creek Institute through The Nature In Words Fellowship. 11
Lily Uribe Wildflowers When I was very young my family and I drove to the shore of Lake Michigan. We came to a field by the water, growing out of the sand, tall waxy grass, aged yellow in the sun. I once found a photograph of this moment. The grass rises up to my waist, one hand in the stalks and the other holding a pink, chipped doll who is dancing in the light. I remember discovering tiny white flowers within the waving strings, how I began to gather them one by one, tucking them away inside my sweaty palm like they were diamonds. Small petals wilted slightly in the dampness, but I held on until we had to leave. I try to imagine how I must have looked, all the way down the billowing hill from my parents. Skinny legs and matted hair, immersed in such, splintery plants. The field may as well have been the lake itself, with its swallowing and heaving and immensity in the wind. In the photo, I see how alone I was. How small and spindly and fragile. But I remember the feeling of being swaddled, of being lost inside another beingâ€™s belly, and how easily the moment and I greeted each other.
16 July 2012 I could show you where the raspberries grow. To go barefoot is dangerous there, but worth the slightly bleeding feet for the blood red flesh of a few full berries, thickened juice to stain your lips, wonder at them, wild. I could show you where the sweet peas fade into their pods, twining tendrils, roughened grass- pregnant, year by year. Blackberry bodies ascend the rosehips, mulberries, elderberries plunge, silver roses and clover buds, drinkable water high in the hills, these things set aside for those who can find them. Supplement with dandelion, huckleberries, field radish, garden grown vegetables, acorn flour and cedar, because nothing that hides or licks mud from its toes should have to go hungry in summer. I could lead you to locales less common to me, but it would be me who stands between you. Nature shows herself to man like sunlight splits a crystal, each face distinct, yet still a side of one wholehearted gem. Better, then, to consecrate your slices of the natural world, and know that sometimes, in her ways, Nature hears you there. Simply phrased, I have little use for a strong friendship with nature. Nature is I and I am her, her prophecy, her pension. I am nature’s sentinel, her slack, her boon, her child. Nature takes in air through me, while I’ll breathe her, breathe in her doubts, until some dying breath. Perhaps nature is knowable in minute, sacred forms. Perhaps it takes a wild wood to educate a village. I have seen the crimes of city dust, roots hacked away from children who can’t touch the earth through steel. I’ve seen adults who craze themselves in claustrophobic workspace, not knowing that a run for the hills could grant their sanity. I find myself with a different crowd, comprised of those who sit and feel but do not pluck the grass, who (rooted there) can sense the planet’s heavy pirouette. I, an ever-natural being, in accordance with William Shakespeare, find ―tongues in trees, books in... brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.‖
By Sprite (excerpt from a longer work)
We are calling for submissions! Next month’s theme is:
Race, Identity, and anything else you need to say. Send your submissions to: email@example.com and ―like‖ our Facebook page for more info. We hope to hear from you soon!