Poetry Performance: When They See You

On this International Women’s Day 2021, my younger sisters in poetry and myself have #choosetochallenge confidence gap, labels, biases, and limitations through spoken word poetry.

The collaboration with these young women I don’t know in person but through social media is an example of how we can address the gender confidence gap. This poetry idea was time-sensitive, yet whatever the hurdles each one of us was facing, we wanted to do this. We chose to celebrate and elevate each other instead of competing and comparing. They might know this, but I wouldn’t say I like public performances. Doing this together made me choose to challenge my doubts and limitations of performing poetry.


When they see you
they will build castles
without doors or windows;
to entrap you – she or her or hers,
as queen of doubts and inadequacies.
Let them see you.

When they bind your mind
in the cages of low wages;
recall the scream of your birth
announcing greatness has come
that no gold or other treasure
shall stand between you
and magnitudes of your skills
whether bathed in confidence or not.

When they shush you
in the hush of the privileged
and brush off your progress
because it was never done
by someone like you;
walk away, and then return
to speak eloquently and crush
the expertise of their petty words.

When they cuff your abilities
with the bluff of familiarities
using rules and ideas
or timid questionnaires;
walk in like a hurricane
aim for what you deserve
spin it into a deserved taking
and deposit their biases as trash.

When they preach as the wisest
quoting the dead or holy books
limiting you to old eras;
stand tall, sin if you must
and glorify your truth
that no prophet or idol
shall leave untouched
by adventures of your spirit.

When they see you
they will not dare again
to not see you.

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