I have never seen such perfect sentences.
America was built on two monumental crimes: the genocide of the Native American and the enslavement of the African American. The tendency of official America is to memorialize other peoples’ crimes and to forget its own - to seek a high moral ground as a pretext to ignore real issues.
Don’t wanna’ be your exotic/Like some dark, fragile, colorful bird imprisoned, caged in a land foreign to the stretch of her wings/Don’t wanna’ be your exotic. Women everywhere look just like me/Some taller, darker, nice than me but like me just the same/Women everywhere carry my nose on their faces/My name on their spirits.
Don’t seduce yourself with my other-ness/My hair wasn’t put on top my head to entice you into some mysterious, black voodoo/The beat of my lashes against each other ain’t some dark, desert beat/It’s just a blink/Get over it.
Don’t build around me your fetish, fantasy, your lustful profanity to cage me in, clip my wings. Don’t wanna’ be your exotic. Your lovin’ of my beauty ain’t more than funky fornication, plain pink perversion. In fact, nasty necrophilia.
Because my beauty is dead to you/I am dead to you.
Not your harem girl, geisha doll, banana picker, pom-pom girl, pum-pum shorts coffee maker, town-whore, belly dancer, private dancer, La Malinche, Venus Hottentot, laundry girl, your immaculate vessel, emasculating princess/Don’t wanna’ be - not your erotic, not your exotic.
Suheir Hammad is a Palestinian-American poet, author and political activist who was born on October 1973 in Amman, Jordan to Palestinian refugee parents and immigrated with her family to Brooklyn, New York City when she was five years old. Her parents later moved to Staten Island. (x)