this is how you lose her – a slam poem

I recently performed my first slam poem at an annual arts show called Verbal Emancipation. It was magnificent. Here is the poem:

this is how you lose her.
as you make love to yourself
through a cellphone screen.
your red-lipped smile is as hard as your hairspray
oh, what a shame
that filters erase pores, but not unhappiness.

this is how you lose her.

as the facebook likes rise
you feel the meter go up on your self-love scale.
you don’t mind the numbers this time
because they’re not telling you
that you take too much space
like that godforsaken bathroom scale.
‘fat’ – a curse word hurled by girls
who try to love what the mirror shows them
but fail. chase after self-esteem
inside a no-cream
skinny latte.

this is how you lose her

when the pop of orange bubbles in the corner of your screen
tells you how you confident you’ll feel today.

flawless. like. stunner. like. slayyy. like like like.

follow.

but let me ask you one thing
as you angle yourself thin
which do you love more?
the girl on the screen
or the girl in your skin?

and this is how you lose her
when your answer to that
becomes your hesitation.

and you lose
when society points its fingers
and you turn them all to point to
yourself.
because you’re female.
you were built up that way.
raised on a plate for catcalling men,
your body a meal for the
wolves in your head.
but take it with a pinch of salt,
the world says. life is a contest,
you’ll always be second best.
this is how you
lose her.

when you listen to that.

today, you noticed your face cream’s called ‘fair and lovely’
but darling, you’re unfair
more caramel than vanilla, you wish
your skin told a different tale than of how it was once oppressed.
see, black girls have lupita, brown girls have mindy kaling
but white girlfriend jane over there has the rest of hollywood
to spare.
isn’t that what’s unfair?
that if you’re dark, you’ve already got a burden to bear.

and you lose her
when you notice the symptoms
of this snow white syndrome
flare. and as you place that filter on your face
do you notice how it makes
your skin get
lighter lighter lighter
and the world gets brighter brighter brighter
as the comments roll in,
a sea of ‘yass girl SLAY’s
never mind that I don’t know your last name
but I’d still double-tap that.’

this is how you lose her
when those words become gospel
leading you to the light
but instead of god, you find Perfection.
and you’re forced to realize
that Perfection is the kind of lover that never stays.
this is how you lose her,
in his too-tight embrace.

and you lose when you pick the guy that only
desires you
because desire is a wolf that rams its
tongue down your throat, brands its touch on your skin
but forgets what your favourite colour is.
yes, he will learn the outlines of your legs
faster than his math assignment. desire
is when he thinks girls become less pure
after they’ve been touched by a man,
well maybe he should take a look
at his hands
this is where and how you lose her.

when you think love is when he looks at you
from between his legs
and desire starts to equal respect, an equation that can never make
sense.
do you raise your skirt’s hem
for him or yourself?

see, a soul can’t be dressed
a soul can’t follow a trend
but if this world was a cup of coffee, then soul
would be the sugar grain
forgotten on the saucer’s edge.
these are the thoughts that pour from your brain –
your tongue calls them ‘feminist’
but the world always thought that
your mouth should be drained.
so angry
so angry it has to be this way.
but anger doesn’t look good
on a woman, they say.

‘a soul can’t be dressed.’
‘a soul can’t follow a trend’
and you cry.
because nothing’s about the soul anymore,
it’s all about the skin.
isn’t it?

and you lost her
when you forgot to ask the girl in the mirror
if she’s happy.
when the lipstick’s gone, the concealer erased,
are you happy with yourself?
when your phone is down, the camera turned away
are you happy with yourself?
‘cause you could drip in gold
or just wear your skin,
you’ve always heard but never
known that what matters is within
‘cause a soul can’t be dressed
and it shouldn’t be a
revolution
to love yourself
but it is.
you always thought being a girl
came with that string attached.

but this is your call to arms
to try to love what you have, what you own,
what you are.
you’re a girl. you’re a woman.
you’ve got your beauty in knots
all you need is to untangle it in your thoughts
because

this

is how

you find her.

***

 

IMG_1729

Geared up for the show – me & my beautiful friend Tsaone. He sings.

 

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