Today in class, ZF and I were challenged to write a poem drawing from themes that Climbing PoeTREE spoke about and those of our two banned books, Slaughterhouse-Five and The Color Purple. In our discussions we started talking about how as wealthy, white girls who live in the suburbs, we feel removed by default from that pain and that we are treated as though we could never understand it. From some frustration and laughter, we came up with #whitegirlproblems the womanifesto.

Here is the text of the poem (audio above):

the womanifesto
zf and ca

watch out for the old man following you
don’t look the black man in the eye
tv says, don’t be a slut,
but if you don’t put out you’re a prude.

confusion overload,
what do you want from me?
Images shot at my head from a rifle of skinny, photoshopped models,
demanding perfection,
but never threaten with your brain,
just smile and let your boobs do the talking.

does the color of my skin
mean that i should feel guilt and not be able to look you in the eye?
does it mean that I don’t understand your pain?

we are all more than a word next to a box
that we check to conform,
to simplify what we come from,
to condense our stories into a word that means nothing.

white on the outside,
a slur of colors on the inside.

white on the outside,
a slur of colors on the inside.

we all know pain,
but because we don’t know each other’s,
we assume that the other knows none.

now is not a time for judgement,
it is a time for ownership,
for an appreciation of diversity and the colors we all are.

The night before I was asked to write a similar type of poem independently, and in the same type of struggle, I ended up with this.

Here is the text of that poem:


I am a seventeen year old girl,
I do not know the suffering of so many,
But find myself struggling to understand the blame that is placed,
the agony of their labor,
while enjoying its’ fruits.

I go to private school,
I don’t have to worry about dinner being on the table,
I never choke on the air I breath because of the dirt that coats it.

My mother told me that people would understand what I don’t know,
that they have been in my shoes before and have grown,
But these are not my shoes,
these are the soles of my feet.

I cannot change who I am,
what I was born into,
what I have done every day of my life;
I don’t outgrow those memories,
I carry them with me.

I don’t want to change what I am,
what I don’t know I can only try to understand,
but as myself,
never forgetting the soles I come from and walk on each day.