The difference between poetry… – The Feminist Wire

The difference between poetry…

A Collective Love Poem by The Audre Lorde Project

Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde
Image Credit: © Dagmar Schultz











.   difference between poetry
.   rhetoric
.   being
.   to kill
.   of your children
~Audre Lorde, “Power”


Through shades of doubt and self loathing

I heard a song about unity.

cherishing differences between us

You gave me the courage to find my own name

boldness to ask others their names

while we march together on similar but different paths.

with each step I realize, unfolding curves from your words

this is a journey I cannot make alone.

while I could not see the spirals of rhetoric tightening their grip

around us, those who have not yet come, and those before us

I dream that your poetry

and what we create together

pulls “what was” and lets

           “what can be”

liberate us

Our power is our resilience

collective feeling and knowing

strength in community

honors survival as we learn to thrive

We listened to your call

We are ready to be seen,

not obscene,


and brilliant in the light

moving out of shadows

We do not accept borders for our minds/our hearts/our geographies

We do not accept the policing of our bodies, our love, our laughter

We do not accept the imprisonment of our lives

We reach, we live, we fly towards freedom

We are the

summation of our breaths

like the sky only exists because

we sing it into existence

every day when we smile

I dream that your poetry

dreamt us

We are all the power of ocean fists

all the grace of rain

We are the black unicorn

We are all salt and air

I dream that our poetry

and what we create together

pulls “what was”

and lets

“what can be”



Walking the sidewalks

immigrant, warrior, activist, lover

appear in the alleys, emerge from concrete cracks

walking the streets

community, future, strength

appear on our cardboard, emerge from our lips.

We were the closeted and forgotten ones that felt invisible

broken, bashed and spat on by people who don’t even know our names

but, you have given us a space to build our chosen family and community

I am proud to be who I am, I am seen, I am loved, and more

alive then I have ever been in my life.

Your warrior cry to battle brings light to the shadows

that cast and dismissed us by tying our tongues and voice

yet the likes of you, and Marlon Riggs, James Baldwin & Gloria Anzaldua

untied them.

We imagine you holding court with the Pat Parkers, Marsha P. Johnsons

Sylvia Riveras, James Baldwins, June Jordans, & Deja Edwards

Essex Hemphills sweet horn of a voice carries

freedom over a table set for freedom

to feed our bellies when we arrive….

We remember you

your voice and body through cracks and crevices

policed and cast aside

lifted up amidst closeted dives and raids

into a new coming of age

that unfolded our path of light and liberation.

As the Audre Lorde Project we exist because of you

we dream in poetry for what we

will create together

for our existence

our revolution,

our liberation


Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde Project Logo

Lorenzo Van Ness, Alok Vaid-Menon, Cara Page, Chelsea Johnson Long, Irma Bajar, Gina George, Elliott Fukui on behalf of The Audre Lorde Project (ALP).

ALP is a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two Spirit, Trans and Gender Non Conforming (LGBTSTGNC) People of Color (POC) center for community organizing, focusing on the NYC area.  Through mobilization, education and capacity-building, we work for community wellness, and progressive social and economic justice.  Since our founding in 1996, ALP’s social justice work has been situated at the intersection of race, class, sexual orientation and gender identity. ALP has played a leadership role in organizing LGBTSTGNC POC in NYC around critical issues, implemented innovative community programming, won grassroots campaigns to change policy and other demands generated by our communities, as well as built racial and economic justice alliances and coalitions. (