on mothers and daughters, sisters and lovers – The Feminist Wire

on mothers and daughters, sisters and lovers

By Sasanka Jinadasa 

see, #solidarity is a word more easily
tagged than practiced
and I don’t know how I feel about using
a #hashtag in a poem
but I build bridges in soundbites now

they’re a little less heavy on my back

a Carriacou word for women who are
lovers and friends
my girl is Black just like Audre
Caribbean just like Audre
Dangerous just like Audre
and she tells me that lesbians straddle that
fine line between lovers and sisters
and then when I straddle her we speak
about our brown #solidarity and I
eat her
stories about South Brunswick
like vegetable roti and fish

island sisters
island lovers
the South Asian sisters in her hood
have skin like me, curry-colored
and we speak of a radical food revolution
dropping spices in the salt between us
sweat like oceans
we remember our mother’s cooking
too spicy for tongues, thick with accents
rich with history
we remember how her love
carried our conception across so much water

and we sweat until our oceans
bleed together
we were birthed  in those oceans
home has the sediment of
colonizers and the colonized

so we fish and we salt
the Antilles and Sri Lanka
finding love like #zami
#solidarity let’s trend that
and build our voices in those oceans
echolocation bounce back to me
click your tongue
and I will pull your echoes into my mouth

let’s trend that
when Snoop Dogg reps my hood
does he rep my sisters
parts of the LBC sit below sea level
submerged women give birth to
baby girls, the signs around the city
tell you in Khmer and Spanish and English
they whisper inside those painted lines
they say, we’re here
and our language is a revolution
we are black on white signs
we are rust on your barbed wire
and we are water taking back our earth
no more gang wars in front of
white people

give us more and give us free
women are more than wombs
women are more than bodies
women are the spirit stolen
from la Malinche
from Eve
from Kali

my love they cannot drown our sorrows
we are bridges
we are water
we are oceans
and we are always home


JinadasaSansaka Jinadasa is joint concentrating in African-American Studies and Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality with a secondary in Ethnic Studies (essentially studying intersectional oppression). Next year, she will be the president of the Radcliffe Union of Students, Harvard’s premier feminist advocacy organization, and the op-eds editor of Harvard’s only current feminist magazine, Manifesta. Last summer, she worked for Congressman Mike Honda as the Victory Congressional Intern, part of a program that selects outstanding LGBT leaders to intern on Capitol Hill. This summer, she is working in the LGBT Progress department at the Center for American Progress. I attempt to follow the mantra of spoken word artists Darkmatter–decolonize, queer, repeat.