3 poems

Bijou David

I refuse
I refuse to cower in your presence
I refuse to let you look down at me
You tell me to speak out against injustice
Unless it conflicts with what you think
You tell me if you say it it’s the truth
But you are not always right
You refuse to admit when you are wrong
You don’t accept that I am not your little girl anymore
I have grown into my beliefs
I speak my truth
And you speak yours
But I do not have to agree with you
I deserve as much respect as you
We are not peers
You are not better than me
Or more worthy
You might be the past
But me
I am the future
My children are the future
Why are you deciding what world I live in
After you are long gone
After you are six feet under
Buried just as deep as our
Opinions where buried
In your minds
Buried along with the insensitive traditions
And stereotypes
Buried with the souls of the natives
Whose land we claimed
Buried in the ocean with my ancestors
Who knew that
Was better than chains
We are no longer bound by chains
But by

I am not here to be unheard .
I am not ladylike .
I will laugh and scream and yell .
I will run and jump and fall .
I am my scars.
I am melanin dipped in sunshine and cocoa butter .
I am not an angry black girl .
I am that girl that is always too loud and laughs at the wrong times .
I am thousands of stories , words , and memories .
I am sour gummy bears and romantic movies .
You do not define me .
You can not control me .
I decide my future .
I decide my life .
You just decide if you’re in it .
What I tell myself
I tell myself that the world is cruel and unforgiving .
Others tell me the same .
I don’t tell myself of the smiles or the random acts of kindness .
They don’t tell me of the innocence it holds in its core .
I tell myself that I will never be good enough .
And eventually I find that I’m not good enough .
I am great enough ,
To be who
And whatever I want to be .

BIJOU DAVID is a budding, artist, writer, and actor. She enjoys baking, reading, and watching rom-coms. Bijou writes mostly declarative pieces on the expectations that the world has on African American women and girls.