Mockeries of Separation (a poem) – The Feminist Wire

Mockeries of Separation (a poem)

by e nina jay
Audre Lorde copyright: Dagmar Schultz

Audre Lorde
copyright: Dagmar Schultz

“we must not hide behind
the mockeries of separations
that have been imposed
upon us
and which we so often accept
as our own.”
~audre lorde
racism    classism    sexism    homophobia   ableism
any kind of –ism you can think of
‘cause even these words
are a mockery of separation
complex words with complex meaning and complex spelling…
all a word like homophobia or racism
will make a person think
is that this is a word
to be studied
let us take small ideas
thought by small men
make their deceit appear complex
and then use even bigger words to define
what has already become
just a theory, even in this telling
we use riddles to solve riddles
use blood to clean up blood
we fertilize crops with dead bodies
and then are amazed
that another
dead.  thing.
isn’t that funny somehow?
we may as well laugh at that
we laugh at everything else
like people falling and womyn disrespected
and children who curse and people with disabilities
we laugh at people who are more poor than us
or peoples’ hearts breaking
we laugh at violence…
eye have seen people laugh
because a womon
got her clothes torn
off during a fight
have you ever had your clothes torn off?
was it funny?
we enjoy other peoples’ humiliation
when they crumble
our backs get a little stronger
we point
we laugh
we point
we laugh
and we forget that we
only truly recognize
that which we already are
sometimes eye think god
should snatch our laughter back
‘cause its obvious we do not
know how to use it responsibly
must we make everything into a weapon?
we point
we laugh
we keep on laughing
we are such fools
we can never be separate
yet we spend so much time
making the difference
between me and you
my mother audre said:
.. .
“we must not hide behind the
mockeries of separations
that have been imposed upon us
and which we so often accept as our own.”
thank you, audre lorde
because even as you and me
fight about shit that doesn’t matter
a war wages against us that
never breaks
never gets tired
we are too distracted
by the incidentals
of a non-existence
the world is the war
and if we ain’t in it
we are outside of it
and the scale makes it seem
like there are more of them
but there are more of us
there are more
of us
we’re just scattered and diligent
about not crossing lines
that really don’t exist
somebody taught us there are
and always should be
tall hedges between our houses
but those aren’t hedges…
those are churches
those are stereotypes
those are moral impositions
those hedges are the notion
that something outside of our humanity
out-measures the very relevance of that humanity
there is nothing
between you and me
we are willing participants
in a war we never asked for
but resistance to the struggle
renders invisible
the resistance inside the struggle
whether you see yourself as part of this or not
some other person is fighting for you
some other person is risking their very life for you
wouldn’t it be arrogant of me to conclude
that eye have arrived here of my own effort
my own accord
that eye earned
the right to be here
eye didn’t build no underground railroad…
eye don’t know what fire hoses feel like…
eye have never marched to washington and demanded anything
eye am in the red here
eye owe
something back
we owe something back
but we are distracted by…
“…the mockeries of separations
that have been imposed
upon us
and which we
so often accept as our own.”
she said that over 20 years ago
and look at us
still styling and profiling
still pointing and laughing
still turning away
from one another
we are still distracted by
the blaze of the fire
even as our own skin
is melting

e nina jay picturee nina jay is a lesbian/womon/activist/writer of african descent. she uses poetry to break silences around all forms of violence against gurls & womyn, with particular focus on the intersection of gender, violence, race and poverty. As a survivor of rape and incest, e nina jay believes womyn & girls can create powerful community to fight against the violence & constant degradation endured everyday and ultimately develop a long term strategy to take back our humanity.