The Voice Within

i am Black
my stigma is in my skin
it’s visible to everyone
no matter how i look within
i live with it every day
and concealment is not a choice
i have available to help me
when i choose to raise my voice

Black is beautiful
that’s how i feel about my skin
a beauty seen by everyone
no matter how i feel within
i think about it every day
and it appears i have no choice
but to have others react to it
when with pride i raise my voice

Black is dangerous
that’s how others feel about my skin
a menacing threat to everyone
because of my rage within
i fret about it every day
for it appears i have no choice
but to generate a fear response
when i loudly raise my voice

i was born Black
my identity in my skin
unchangeable to everyone
from without and from within
defines my treatment every day
and leaves me with no choice
except to defend my rights with vigour
and that’s why i raise my voice

i have been depressed
the stigma breaks my heart
invisible to all but me –
the stress this truth imparts
i live with it every day
conceal this truth by choice
this poem my first admission out loud
when i’ve chosen to raise my voice

i am beautiful
that’s how i feel about my heart
even if it’s not the first thing you see
when my inner anxieties start
i think about it every day
but only sometimes have a choice
of when my truth will be expressed
when i choose to raise my voice

the mentally ill are dangerous
so others say about mind and heart
a menacing threat to everyone
just wait for the rage to start
we fret about this every day
others believe there is no choice
but to focus on their own fear response
when i loudly raise my voice

we are born as we are
our identities in our hearts
unchangeable to everyone
even as psychosis starts
defines my treatment every day
and leaves me little choice
except to defend all rights with vigour
and that’s why i raise my voice

both stigmas are real
in the skin, mind, soul and heart
we dispel these dangerous assumptions
when understanding compassion starts
they live among us every day
i am one – so i have no choice
but to ask you to speak our truths with me
with a single, deafening voice.

© A. Gregory Frankson, 2011. All rights reserved.

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About Cytopoetics

Cytopoetics was founded in 2007 to provide event planning, artist management and creative services rooted in the literary arts in general and spoken word in particular. Our motto is "Creativity in Every Cell" and our mission is "to present the vision that inspires others to positively change the world."

Posted on March 15, 2011, in Poetry. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Raw and beautiful. Thank you. These are words that need to be spoken and shared over and over.

  2. Namaste, WORD, truth in beauty

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