Saturday, September 18, 2010

You will find 4 poems that are specifically influenced by my careful navigation of being bi-racial (half Middle Eastern & half Black); “Confessions?,” “Beauty Is Fair,” “Statement Of,” and “Caught.” Additionally, you will find one more poem of interest, “I didn’t say what you wanted.”

I have enclosed all poems in the body of the email (see below signature) as well as pdf attachments. If you are able to view the pdfs, that would be best. I understand that some of my poems ideally have unique space requirements, and if any of them are chosen I would be happy to work with the editor in charge of uploading the content to help ease the burden of laying it out properly or coming to a compromise on how it can be laid out more simply.

Short Bio:
S. Mojdeh Stoakley, is a 4x award winning bi-racial American-born writer, performer & interdisciplinary artist. Her work is about the intersections of race, trauma, and social stigma. She has a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her audio and poetic works have been exhibited internationally in Tokyo, Berlin, and New York amongst other places, and is the founder of, The Mojdeh Project, Radiant Devices, and Lethal Poetry Inc.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Mojdeh




CONFESSIONS?
© S. Mojdeh Stoakley


I should
be quite keen on color coordination
Bold footwear should be on my list of important accessories
But diamond studded bling should be most important

My clothing
worn by a white person should be seen as no less hip hop
Should I stray from the hip hop image
it should only be to wear the threads of tribal Africa

I should bend over
laughing every time Chris Rock tells a joke
My number one roll model should be Oprah Winfrey

My survival as an artist
is dependent upon the Afro-American population

Growing up
in a white community
should have no effect on my black character
Despite my heritage, I should hold black power to be most important

I should own up
to the fact that I am only offered opportunities
because I am a light skinned African-American
I should not
seek an education when there are plenty
of custodial and food service jobs offered as a means of honest work

When I write poetry
I should write in hopes of becoming the next big hip hop queen
I should be most fluent in Ebonics
I should be able to offer
the names of the top artists on the BET

You will become blacker by spending time with me
You should worry that my blackness is contagious

I should be aware
that it is my people that takes advantage of the welfare system
It is perfectly acceptable for me to have two, maybe three children out of wedlock

I should accept the word Nigger
as a term of endearment or empowerment

Gospels should have been my first encounter with music

My poetry read by a white person
should be awkward
because they would lack
the profound genetic tendencies towards rhythm

I should not take offense if someone assumes I know drug dealers
Even I
should be cautious of black men roaming the streets past eight o'clock

It should be most important
that people recognize my skin tone
so that they may properly apply their knowledge
of the black experience to everything that I say



Beauty is fair
© S. Mojdeh Stoakley


I’m tan. No
Caramel, brown

She said, I should protect
my skin.

Because it’s the most beautiful
thing that I stand in

She said it
like a double-edged sword. She said,
I should be proud

I’m mulatto. No
Mixed
Light, sometimes

My pride should swell
As my features would glow
amongst a crowd of dark creatures

She said, I should be proud
of my heritage
But what she was really saying
Is that I should be proud of hers

Fair? No
Neither, both

It wasn’t her ignorance
speaking but I finally heard the hurt
in her voice

And part of me
wants to let her be

And let her believe

that my beauty is
because of her

That beauty is fair


Statement Of
© S. Mojdeh Stoakley


i feel hurt
i feel that now
there's nowhere to escape
judgment and norms
expectations
and
my form so I was born

because i make
my choices

and i let other things dissipate
and i will continue to move
my mind
my form
forward
anticipation
to deviate

i will continue to
take the kink
out of the nappy
out of the curls
because no matter
what i do

what i choose

of comfort
it becomes my
statement of


Caught
© S. Mojdeh Stoakley 2007


I walk right in
to these expectations
But I’m always caught
unprepared, unready

bemused, and

you tell me not to read too much into this
but those words speak so much truth

I always walk right in
to these expectations
But I’m always caught
un prepared, unready
bemused
I’m always caught

flatfooted, unwilling
ill predicted, and you

you tell me not to read too much in
to this

But
when all I hear are judgments I’m confused

I always walk right into these expectations, but

I’m always caught, unprepared
unready, bemused

I’m always caught
flatfooted unwilling, ill predicted
I’m always caught
grudging, resistant, and tired
bone-tired
and weak, weak enough to
almost give up this fight and you
you’ll tell me not to read too much into this, but

when you’re already comparing me
without ever
really looking
me over to make comparisons I feel
weakened
and I shouldn’t feel that way, but
I do. and
I’m caught
I’m caught
walking right in



I didn’t say what you wanted
© S. Mojdeh Stoakley



She sings to herself when no ones looking
Full conversations while she walks alone
Some would brand her,
but THIS is her way of telling

Healing comes so painfully
And it chills to the bone
Won't anyone get close to me
I'm damaged, as I'm sure you know

She has conversations with you
of course you’re not there or listening
But this is the closest she gets to telling
She practices with you
with everyone she hopes to feel safe with

It’s only for my soul - To undo this fear and…

She was just another child and he was stronger
And she wants to tell you but instead
she’s sabotages her cover stories
So that hopefully
you will know. hopefully
you will wonder

I'm scared and I'm alone
I'm shamed and I need for you to know
I’m here but I’m fading
I’m here but nothing seems real

She is beckoning you to ask – but you don’t

I didn't say all the things that I wanted to say
And you can't take back what you've taken away
Cause I feel you, I feel you near me

She whispers when no ones looking
She even has quiet conversations – with him – he’s not there
But she hopes his ears are burning

I didn’t say what you wanted, but you’ll take it anyway


[Some text in "I didn't say what you wanted" appropriated from “Damaged” by Plumb]