52164-oFilled with the fervor of first love
with no doctor to check my rapid vitals
I was told there is a same-sex clinic you can go
where moustached men will not begrudge
your lack of desire for their kind
The Audre Lorde Clinic had a woman with
a tattoo on her neck, of a blue bird
she said
all our gynecologists are women like you
putting my feet in stirrups I felt differently from when
men peered between me with their gloved hands
I understood the power of the gaze to
withhold and diminish
who was Audre Lorde? I asked, having not yet
taken poetry, gender studies, minority relations
you don’t know? they raised their unplucked eyebrows
oh girl you need to know Audre
 
that was Audre’s  point all along it seems
she who makes her meaning known
“I am defined as other in every group I’m part of”
nobody can know, nobody can own my voice
The mythical norm of U.S Culture is
white, thin, male, young, heterosexual, Christian, financially secure
I am none
my name is Audre
I am legally blind
seeing more than race and yet some histories are bathed in blood
Audre would not sit down and be a good girl
outside the definition her tongue
like other complicated spirits struck with lightning
as a child, when asked; “how do you feel?”
quoting from a poem Audre said;
I feel like this
because linear thought and prose
doesn’t always cut it for the intersectional
and those
born with a longing for more than conventional norm
or who fit with the intolerant
Audre was asked; “Do you think the black woman of America is invisible?”
she said; “Where you been all your life?”
“I’m a black lesbian I’m every kind of invisible yet my voice subsists”
just as when young Audre tried to get the attention of her mother
who dwelled in the safety of being able to pass
for Anglo
maybe if Audre had not tried so hard
she would not have learned to pen poems so truthful
Audre demanded people know
“there are groups of us branded unacceptable living right next door to you”
her poetry continues in the mouths of  young women who hear her truth
she died as she lived, fighting
it is said all those who die young die too soon, we lose the best ones first
come back in your poems Audre, speak to us
through time, through thunder, you exist beyond yourself
 
“Those of us who stand outside the circle of this society’s definition of acceptable women; those of us who have been forged in the crucibles of difference — those of us who are poor, who are lesbians, who are Black, who are older — know that survival is not an academic skill. It is learning how to take our differences and make them strengths. For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. And this fact is only threatening to those women who still define the master’s house as their only source of support.” AudreLorde
#unsung – this is part of the hash-tag ‘unsung’ (unsung heroes) series that folks on WP are writing to selflessly promote those lives that did not get sufficient notice.

0 Replies to “Odyssey to Audre Lorde (part of the #unsung series)”

    1. There are a lot who have over the last two years – if you tag a post #unsung, that’s how it’s identified although I’ve noticed it doesn’t always come up – it doesn’t really matter it’s read by those who are doing it somehow anyway!

  1. Wow. Thank you for writing about her. I’ve never heard of her and that’s such a shame. I love this quote- “For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” There is so much truth to that statement.

  2. I came across Lorde not too long ago, and the effect of her poems as well as prose has been transformative to say the least. Her deep celebration of difference insists on finding resonance wherever life seeks life. So glad to come across this tribute 🙂

  3. Ah, I love Audre Lorde’s writing. I remember choosing her biomythography, “Zami, a new spelling of my name” to write about in my women’s literature class circa 1989. The professor had never heard of her, but this book changed my life. Thanks for keeping her fire burning!

  4. It is the Audre’s of this world who leave such a profound impact despite the shortness of their lives. Or perhaps because of it. Bless them all!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *