EMERGING FEMINISMS, Two Poems: “I Refuse” and “The Wage” – The Feminist Wire

EMERGING FEMINISMS, Two Poems: “I Refuse” and “The Wage”

By Lytasha Marie Blackwell


The following piece was written while I was a junior in high school. This piece reflects my concerns, views, passion, and desire to change the world and my community in a positive way.


I Refuse

Sometimes I wish life could be perfect

Although I know nothing on earth is

But I’m so tired of being confused

My mind continuing to be physically and mentally abused

But you see, I refuse to give up on my dreams

And I will overcome obstacles because in myself I believe

I am the definition of strength and power

Through my words I will mentally devour

All evil within, so that true harmony can begin

With my mind on change and my faith taking me higher

I refuse to miss heave and be cast into the fire

My soul is crying and my flesh is dying

Constantly being torn apart by the sins of this world

But I will rise up, not yet a woman

But no longer am I a girl

This world will not make me, nor break me

I pray to the one above, that you never forsake me

I refuse to be your average girl, being with boys all over the world

And this promise I make to an unborn child

Your father will be around to make you smile

I refuse to be used, toyed with and broken

I cannot be purchased at Toys r Us

Prepackaged awaiting to be broken

Refuse to let you tear me apart with your words

Because I am beautiful and real women have curves

I will make reality of my ancestors’ dreams

Live by the words of Rosa, Harriet, Sojourner, & Dr. King

I represent the next generation of legacies

Following in the footsteps others laid out for me

And until discrimination is a thing completely from the past

These words that I’m writing will not be my last

I refuse to sit back and watch my neighbor regress

While corporate America sits dressed to impress

While yearly school budgets become less and less

I refuse to buy cigarettes to stop the stress

I refuse to be another teen contracting an STD

I refuse to be like an image I saw on TV

I refuse because I have so much potential

And the words that I’m writing were not meant to be confidential

Listen to my words, everybody this is a movement

I’m fighting a war, and I refuse to lose it.


This second piece was written in my adult years and expresses my thoughts on wage inequality and the suppression of creative thoughts, energy, health, etc. as we live our lives working long hours for low pay in pursuit of the “American Dream.”


The Wage

The wage slavery is real
But the wage slaves purchase the things they want
And never fully know how to feel

They will argue with you that they are free

And I will remember what Harriet said,
“I’ve freed hundreds of slaves and could have freed hundreds more had they known they were slaves.”

And I will remember that slaves came in all shapes, colors, and sizes.

They will argue with you that they are not blind

Spend their lives running out of money
Still trying to buy time
And never understand what they can truly possess

They will argue that they have no masters

And we watch as they report to duty
Sometimes mindless, have you checked the data
Maybe they’ll think you’re just a hater

They will argue that their thoughts have not been stolen, that their bodies have not deteriorated from the stress and mental breakdown of a system that will tell you time and time again… that it was not designed for you to fail.

A system that was designed for you to participate in a way that benefits the oppressor. What’s your stressor?

I was told that the master’s tools cannot dismantle the master’s house, but if I master the master… whose house is it really?

Have you dressed up in the oppressor’s clothes and called it equality?

Has the master dressed you…. and does your parking sticker make you feel…worthy?

I remember the first time I decorated my desk….I remember the day I felt suffocated and left…?

They will say they are not slaves

However, what would you do without the wage…?


1c838c_7537cfe108cf42c1b3fc56f30379cc38Lytasha Marie Blackwell is a writer, educator, mother, and activist who started her writing journey in middle school after getting kicked out of class. Since then she has used poetry and writing as a way to express herself in a world that often silences and oppresses the voice of the youth and marginalized communities. Lytasha has a M.A. in Women’s Studies from Southern Connecticut State University.