what i mean

“The moment the insider steps out from the inside, she is no longer a mere insider (and vice versa). She necessarily looks in from the outside while also looking out from the inside. Like the outsider, she steps back and records what never occurs to her the insider as being worth or in need of recording. But unlike the outsider, she also resorts to non-explicative, non-totalizing strategies that suspend meaning and resist closure. (This is often viewed by the outsiders as strategies of partial concealment and disclosure aimed at preserving secrets that should only be imparted to initiates.) She refuses to reduce herself to an Other, and her reflections to a mere outsider’s objective reasoning or insider’s subjective feeling. She knows, probably like Zora Neale Hurston the insider anthropologist knew, that she is not an outsider like the foreign outsider. She knows she is different while at the same time being Him. Not quite the Same, not quite the Other, she stands in that undetermined threshold place where she constantly drifts in and out. Undercutting the inside/outside opposition, her intervention is necessarily that of both a deceptive insider and a deceptive outsider. She is this Inappropriate Other/Same who moves about with always at least two/four gestures: that of affirming “I am like you” while persisting in her difference; and that of reminding “I am different” while unsettling every definition of otherness arrived at.”  –trinh t. minh-ha, “when the moon waxes red”



no judgment came upon them
when they didn’t have mercy
your womb a holding cell

go to sleep, little one

sleep for a while
your mother isn’t here
she went to the market to buy bread

they have no time
no space for your call
no room for your life,

edges meet edges meet
knives you should’ve never

no judgment came upon them
when they marched over your back
humming scripted lies
my chains a mere
to your text.

i’m not asking you to rescue my history
the words

your holy is my inhumanity

you ask me to bear your generations
when you’ve never cared about my
you asked me to bear your
then you changed
my name

you changed my name
but in the end I’ll name
your God –

I will name our God
“the one who sees.”


we are born like this,
into this

kids walking shells
holding rage
anticipating nothing

embracing suffering
to make sense of living
this is hopeful
is that naive?

stuttering over
syllables and nonsense
phrases — who is saying

and where
can we all listen together.

we are born like this,
into this

trembling at contact
shifty eyed at connection
isolated in darkness
our mind
our worst enemy

afraid to make a phone call
or reach beyond the glass

we are born like this,
into this

ashamed of the way he walks
holds his arms by 10
because that’s not what men

descending into chaos
or inherited ghosts
we sit here in silence
who will
say the first

“maybe i’m home”

i traced the sky in
tree branches
obsessed with tree
branches reaching to the blue,
blue sky.

i ran along the
dirt path, not
knowing where i was headed
only knowing I was covered
and grounded
in a past, future
and creation i could hardly fathom.

here i am! chasing nothing i’m claiming
to see, only knowing i am held
and i’m free.

you carried me in darkness
whispered instructions
lit my way
i only waited and
clutched a blanket
for warmth,
a reminder that
I’m human and still

you lit the skyline
in orange and blue this morning,
the city is more beautiful when you hold it.

i could even follow the thin outline of a distant
its fire escape
each step felt full.
even on dusty carpet
even in this cumbersome

you set my table
stirred me in sleep
you led me this far
“maybe i’m home”