You've reached the end of your free preview.
Want to read all 4 pages?
Unformatted text preview: Citizen I. First day of middle school at a new school and a girl walks up to you. Shouldn’t you be at John Muir? That’s where all the Armenians are, she says. I couldn’t go there because my house isn’t in the area to go there, you say. Well I hate Armenians, that’s why this school is so much better, she then says. The next year of your life does not include bullying at all. II. You left your car parked in front of the exwhite supremacist's house and he is mad that it has been in front of his house for so long, because you know, he owns that sidewalk. Ever since your people have moved here everything has just gone to shit, he says. You tell your dad and he comes out and there is a big argument, Fuck you piece of shit white trash, your dad says. We are sorry that we throw family gatherings, we are sorry that we are close with relatives, we are sorry that sometimes we are a bit loud and festive, we are sorry that we speak a different language other than English, we are sorry that we are not from around here, you are sorry that you parked in front of his house, I mean, you obviously should have known better, but. You never park in front of his house again. III. You have this “ugly”, “disgusting” and “gross” “unibrow”, you have one eyebrow. You always receive great compliments about it by your family and relatives, but no one else sees it the same. You spend until your late teens insecure about this eyebrow. You grow your hair to cover it, you wear a hood constantly, you have marks on your arms because of this “unibrow”. You finally remove that connected eyebrow. People like you now, you are normal. Why didn’t people like you before you removed those couple hairs? IV. You generously tell a group of classmates that you wouldn’t mind driving the group to the InnOut down the street, since it is kind of far to walk. Where’s your BMW bro? One asks while chuckling. I can’t afford that man, you say laughing. Cmon’ bro, aren’t you guys good at fraud? Another says as the group laughs. You laugh with them because it’s just a joke, right? They are just joking, they don’t actually believe that, right? Yea bro, we're really good at that, you say, as you turn up the volume on the radio and ignore them there on out. Artist Statement These poems come from real life experiences that I have had throughout my life and that are engraved into my mind. These stick by me every day and have sculpted the person I am now, my personality, how I treat people and what I admire. I created them as a reflection of myself with hope that the reader can picture the image and scenarios in their head. I want them to feel what I felt without giving them every single detail about the events, so that they can fill in the gaps with their own emotions. My work contains words without thought, I wrote what I remember with vocabulary that came to my head. Claudia Rankine’s work in
Citizen really hit me hard in the face. Raw emotion and true feelings from real events that she has experienced within her life. Her form allows you to understand the situation she is trying to display with ease by just laying it flat out in plain English. I took inspiration from the way Rankine wrote her poems by incorporating the same pattern she used. Sometimes she would give us a brief background on the situation before displaying the conversation between her and the person that would perform the micro and macroaggressions. Her content includes a lot cases where she has been the victim of microaggressions, a term defining moments where someone says something racist or degrading, without really thinking that what he or she said was racist. One piece that influenced me was an interaction that she had with employer: At the end of a brief phone conversation, you tell the manager you are speaking with that you will come byhis office to sign the form. When you arrive and announce yourself, he blurts out, I didn’t know you were black! I didn’t mean to say that, he then says. Aloud, you say. What? he asks. You didn’t mean to say that aloud. Your transaction goes swiftly after that. Claudia’s form and content really inspired me to bring out situations that will always be stuck within me, along with the emotions and results that came with them. The sarcastic and sentence by sentence structure that Claudia used to picture the awkward and demoralizing scenes she experienced is what I drew most inspiration from. I am not much of a poet, or even a reader of poems, but Claudia Rankine’s
Citizen really put a new shade of thinking in my mind with her unique depictions of her everyday episodes. ...
View Full Document
- Spring '14
- real life experiences, Claudia Rankine, shit white trash, face. Raw emotion