Thursday, July 2, 2015

It is an Incredibly Brave Act to Speak Up

It is an incredibly brave act to speak up. One way to make our voices heard is through the liberatory power of poetry. My own experience has shown me that a poem often starts with a lump in the throat and the determination to say the unsayable, not divine inspiration or lofty ideas.

A poem that shakes me to the core every time I hear it is Calayah Heron’s, “CornerStoreCandy.” In this poem, Heron – who first experienced street harassment at the tender age eight – details in haunting, evocative language the terror of being sexually objectified and preyed upon. Heron’s voice cracks with pain beneath a beautifully measured eloquence. Her words illuminate the deep, unnamed feelings that are routinely suppressed when we bottle up our rage, grief and disbelief.

By putting pen to paper, poets like Heron remind us that even if we can’t speak up in the moment, we can later. It’s never too late to reject the ritual humiliations of living in a world where men have been taught to feel entitled to our time, our bodies, and our lives.

Read the rest at Stop Street Harassment.