Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Kate Rushin: "The Bridge Poem"


I’ve had enough
I’m sick of seeing and touching
Both sides of things
Sick of being the damn bridge for everybody

Can talk to anybody
Without me

I explain my mother to my father
my father to my little sister
My little sister to my brother
my brother to the white feminists
The white feminists to the Black church folks
the Black church folks to the ex-hippies
the ex-hippies to the Black separatists
the Black separatists to the artists
the artists to my friends’ parents…

I’ve got to explain myself
To everybody

I do more translating
Than the Gawdamn U.N.

Forget it
I’m sick of it.

I’m sick of filling in your gaps

Sick of being your insurance against
the isolation of your self-imposed limitations

Sick of being the crazy at your holiday dinners

Sick of being the odd one at your Sunday Brunches

Sick of being the sole Black friend to 34 individual white people

Find another connection to the rest of the world
Find something else to make you legitimate
Find some other way to be political and hip

I will not be the bridge to your womanhood
Your manhood
Your humanness

I’m sick of reminding you not to
Close off too tight for too long

I’m sick of mediating with your worst self
On behalf of your better selves

I am sick
Of having to remind you
To breathe
Before you suffocate
Your own fool self

Forget it
Stretch or drown
Evolve or die

The bridge I must be
Is the bridge to my own power
I must translate
My own fears
My own weaknesses

I must be the bridge to nowhere
But my true self
And then
I will be useful

"The Bridge Poem" by Kate Rushin, from This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, edited by CherrĂ­e Moraga and Gloria E. AnzaldĂșa. © Kitchen Table/Women of Color Press, 1984.

Photography credit: Unknown (originally color).


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