Clareified

Where does the good go

I love me for me; you should do the same…

love me for me that is! I’m awesome, gimmee a hug!

I keed, I keed. You should love you for you too! You’re probably awesome. I mean, not me, awesome. But you really shouldn’t put that kind of pressure on yourself. I am AMAZING.

Okay, I’ll cut it out now. But it’s kind of the theme of the poem I picked for today. Appreciating your own good qualities, patting yourself on the back, just plain old loving you! I don’t know about you, but I spend an awful lot of time in my head replaying the scenes of my life. Stuff I shouldn’t have said or shouldn’t have done. Moments where I wish I had stood up for myself more forcefully – planted my left foot firmly up some jerk’s backside. I dwell on the million and one things about myself that I wish/should/need to improve.
Dawn should eat better.
Dawn needs to exercise.
Dawn needs to leave her house. Dawn should be friendlier.
Dawn’s hair needs to get cut.
Dawn needs to stop trying to fix things that are broken.
Dawn needs to stop breaking things.

Unfortunately, that list goes on and on.
But every now and then, we all owe it to ourselves to take a minute: look in the mirror, think on our life and say “not too shabby for Dawn.” (Well, you know, not Dawn. You should probably use your own name. Actually, I should also probably use my own name. But you get the gist.)

I am honestly doing the best that I can. I try. Everyday, I try. And I’ve had some pretty great successes with less and less resources.

So, as we’re closing out Women’s History Month, I’ve picked this poem by my favorite contemporary poet, Bassey Ikpi. It’s a funny, revealing ode to that which has made her…well…her. And as I often think she’s totally just a character I made up in my head to keep me laughing through my dreary workdays or the insomniatic nights, many of the stanzas ring wonderfully familiar: this is a poem for you, girl/midnight genius/sleep battling
head spinning/laughter/You

Me!

There is so much clever wordplay and quotable lines, that I can read it again and again, and have. But the part I really love is where it flips the script on other poems that have been written celebrating the magic/mythical Woman.
this is not a poem praising particular shade of cliche/
brown sugar this/
or jujugoddesssexmagicqueen that

Nah, it’s about the women chilling on their couch, watching their shows on the DVR and cracking wise on the twitter.
Yep.
I’m pretty fly. Ask about me!

Love poem to myself
Bassey Ikpi

This is a poem for the midnight genius
the before sunrise poet
building words on fatigue and hope
you battle sleep and head spin
hold faith that the world
will one day spin back into
an orbit that staccatos your rhythm
you back bend.
stretch simile into mixed metaphor

You

funny
stitch laughter in the belly of broken
you joke and clever phrase twist
find joy in the ridiculous
and sublime
like the world through your eyes
all fun & games and useless trivia
You

pop culture

know it all
take everything and nothing seriously

You

my favorite kinda dork
You

swagger less
absence of cool
the anti-diva

You

beauty queen in brown paper bag

You

Miss Brooklyn
You miss Brooklyn
hope she misses you too
wish DC held you just as closely
but this is not a poem that longs for bridges
or promenade

this is a poem for the mole on
right shoulder
right corner of smile
inside, upper, left thigh
this is not a poem for the men
who connect your dots

or those who neglect to
fuck the men who can’t love you
so you can fuck the men who do

this poem is for you
the first of it’s kind
let it cover you like
first verse written for the
last one who thought broke you

this is a poem for your legs
the heiroglyph of tomboy scars
the motorcycle exhaust burn
the iron that fell and grazed shin
for the calves crafted in track and dance
this is not a poem for the bruised heart
or cracked spirit
this is a poem for the healing
for the small pox scar on you left forearm
for the time you tried to Mary Poppins your ass off the roof of your house
there is a scar on your left knee
this poem is for that

for how fly you be
rocking pink pjs and purple pumps
for the fact that you can work
a stage, a hallway, a city sidewalk,
and park sandbox with the same
attitude

this is your poem
loyal friend poem
will do anything for your girls
for your son poem
for the stranger who looks like she needs a hug
poem
this is your love poem
for the quick wit
and sharp tongue

this is not a poem praising particular shade of cliche
brown sugar this
or jujugoddesssexmagicqueen that
this is not a poem for the way the hips twist
or the mouth full and thick
this is a poem for the heart that
remains beating and loving
the spirit that breaks and mends in record time

this is a poem for
the days when the living is too
much like slow dying,
when a kiss on these lips
is as yesterday as falling in love
when no one has told you in weeks that you
are beautiful
or capable
for you, girl
perched on the edge
of regret and anticipation
laptop hot across aching knees
laughter coaxed from the belly
torn and stitched and torn and stitched
despite what the world expects or needs
this a poem for the all you have to offer
for doing the best you can
creating a world that keeps you
breathing
heart beating

this is a poem for you,
girl
midnight genius
sleep battling
head spinning
laughter

You

post apocalyptic hopeful
something Octavia wrote
if you can survive this
you can survive anything
wear resilience like dust on ambition

6 Responses to “I love me for me; you should do the same…”

  1. Angela Says:

    #awesomeness

    Pretty sure that “Finding joy in the ridiculous” should be our new tag line.

    Thanks for posting this.

  2. Dawn Summers Says:

    Yay! I’m glad you liked it.

  3. Riggs Says:

    I thought I loved you for Jordan. But then I found I was clearly mistaken when I tried to give him a hug. It was obviously love for you all along. No more hugs for Jordan! unless he looks down and in need of one :)

  4. BWoP Says:

    I love you when you are in Vegas or when you are coolering teams that are playing against Syracuse.

    I do not love you when you are wearing Liberace sneakers.

    But I can live with the things that I do not love about you because all the good things make #bffday the awesomest.

  5. Dawn Says:

    Jordan is pretty lovable. Excepting how he thinks all black women who are the same person look alike. Racist.

  6. Alesha Says:

    Mothers are amazing. Mine also never asked me to denfed my choice in becoming a poet. Coming from a working-class family, I often feel out of place. My mother never makes me feel so. Like yours, she just cheers me on at every turn. Thanks for the reminder.

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