Book Thoughts: Born Palestinian Born Black

Born

I know every time I read a woman’s writing that touches me, I am that much stronger and firmer in believing I could make this world better, not just through my writing but through my activism and just by being me.

This is exactly how I feel about Suheir Hammad’s writing. To date I have read all of her poetry collections, (more than once) and each time it strengthens my motivation to go after what I want. She makes me want to buy copies of her books and hand them out to every one I know.

return to what was forgotten
what hunger has faked
return to the whiteness of black
to the drum the hum the sum of my parts
to god the boiling in my belly
touch it taste name it and
come back here

Suheir Hammad mostly writes about her Palestinian roots. The destruction of war. The hopelessness of being a refugee and longing for things that have been taken from you. In doing so, she speaks for people everywhere that are struggling with being marginalized and abandoned.

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 hottenhot laundry girl
your immaculate vessel emasculating princess
don’t want to be your erotic
not your exotic

I was 19 when I first saw one of her youtube clips. A performance of Exotic and I got goosebumps from it. It isn’t her strongest poem, (go read or watch First Writing Since or Of Woman Torn) but for someone who has been called “exotic” more times then she cares to count, this was such a YES! moment for me. From there I watched every single one of her performances, and I read all of her poetry I could get my hands on. I’m pining for the day I get to see her live. She’s just incredible, and what she has done for me is beyond words.

and i aint no
woman of steel
it feels needed this touch that
kiss there that rhythm
needed and wanted yeah now

Whenever I’m going through a difficult time in my life I read her words. They remind me that no matter how big I think my problems are, I’ll get through them. That other people are suffering and bleeding worse than me. That I have to remember past struggles and do what I can for present struggles. As she says, “We have to carry each other.”

P.S.It took all the self control I had yesterday to act like an adult when this happened.

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Just when I think Twitter is useless.

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4 thoughts on “Book Thoughts: Born Palestinian Born Black

  1. I know how you feel! I remember when Michele Serros first started talking to me online. I couldn’t stop smiling for a week! Hell, I still get excited when she likes my facebook posts or comments on them, haha.

    ps if you ever feel like buying me her book I’d be happy to take it, haha! 😀 I really do like her stuff from what you showed me. So i really do need to go out and buy her book.

    • I remember! It’s like you want to say so much, but you don’t know what. Totally one best moments ever.
      Lol. I’ll keep that in mind, but for now you should watch her youtube clips. She’s amazing.

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