“I Am Writing This” by Elaine Shelly

because I stand among too many
dead bodies – black women dead of AIDS, black women
dead
of breast cancer, black women dead of being black women.
I am writing because I see too many of us wounded;
huddled into corners waiting for the next slap, the next
morsel
of love, the next affirmation that we are only the living dead.

I am writing because it is still too easy to call us
crazy bitches – a danger to ourselves and others, mostly
others.
I am writing this because we have learned to laugh at
ourselves too easily.
We laugh while cameras, for the sake of entertainment,
show us being dumped
into trash bins and highlight our butts and breasts
instead of our faces.
I am writing this because this is the third day and with it
has come the resurrection
of the skinny black model who slinks around in a leopard
skin.

I am writing this because I will not be conveniently
dismissed
as a cripple who must suffer because of my sins.
I am writing this because I do not hate my body.
I am writing this because I love myself and other black
women too damn much.

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