Words, words, words are so important, and words are my tool Words are how I express myself Don’t be mistaken by angry words, for anger is a result of oppression Don’t take my words as words of protest, just take them, listen to them, work with them I have a right to use my words, for I live here, grew up here, since the age of 4 No one can understand my pain unless you’ve grown up in my shoes All too often I’ve been hurt by words of ignorance “The N Word”—ignorance You’re not Black you don’t act Black—ignorance I’m not prejudice I have a black friend—ignorance Ignorance all ignorance If there is to be a solution to the problem we must work together, we must use words We can no longer remain oblivious to what surrounds us; racism, the system I work with children and it hurts me when I ask them questions about their identity and they know nothing It hurts me when I say to a child—What does it mean to be Black? Response—to be Black is to be “The N Word” Words, words, words, the wrong words coming from our youth We must take away this negativity and replace it with positivity and the truth We must teach children to use words like Afro Canadian I attend Dalhousie University, I went through the Transition Year Program and I’m proud of it I love myself and my people and it’s evident Every day I look for myself in hospitals, on campus, in books, in the plays we read in class I don’t see myself Every day I hear my white friends talk in a Black lingo and I think that’s not how I talk Don’t they realize they are hurting me? My hurt runs deep, my hurt is my history Words, I will use my words Someday I will direct and write plays and use my words about my people Words, words words are so important and words are my tool Words are how I express myself Don’t mistake my words of anger for anger is a sign of oppression Don’t take my words as words of protest, just take them, listen to them work with them.
I wrote this poem when I was 22 years-old for the Dalhousie Student Newspaper.
Sitting here I’m feeling low I cannot tell you why For all I ever wanted was to meet the right guy I’ve met him now and though I’m happy it’s just as I had feared He loves me and I love him too, but I’m feeling very scared I hope one day I’ll find myself and come to terms with how I feel Right now my fear of losing him is really quite unreal He’s not like the guys I met before so why do I feel this way That’s a question I constantly ask myself and in response I always say . . . I’m scared
This poem was written when I was 17 years old.
Going back and reading these poems has me smiling, I have another poem I wrote in high school called “My Heart is Like a Football Waiting to be Kicked!” I apparently had a flair for the romantically tragic and dramatic poem. The other thing that is evident looking back is that my culture has always been important to me. It’s who I am really, how I was raised and the things that I have been through that have shaped me as a writer and an artist. I have a lot of children’s plays here including my very first full script I wrote for Active Youth called “Cindy’s Shoe” a modern take on Cinderella, and “An Adventure Under the Sea.” I am in the process now of re-writing all of these scripts into word documents (they were written in the 80s) and submitting them to the Playwrights Guild play catalogue.