Aja Monet: “privilege is knowing there are parts of this earth occupied for your leisure”

I love how raw, strong, and to-the-point activist poetry usually is. There’s no time to beat about the bush, no space to weave pleasantries into the systemic abuse. Aja Monet’s poetry is like that. Her book, My Mother Was a Freedom Fighter was published last year. Below, a few snippets from it, followed by her spoken word poem Word Warriors.

“i saw a young boy die once
like an ant, he disappeared
beneath my finger
behind the window
on the 17th floor

i watched his circulating tissue
soak the pavement…

i hope the boy knew
this wasn’t heaven…

in heaven there is no need for blood”

“privilege is a mask no one wants to take off…
privilege is knowing
there are parts of this earth occupied for your leisure
your convenience, your entitlement, your tourism…
becoming a gaze…
privilege is writing a poem
a bulldozer of bodies crowds through
empty streets in Ramallah, a mother holds a weeping
mutilated daughter”

“how we see ourselves
is determined by five western countries
five of which determine
value by how well they kill
and we out here screaming
black lives
i am starting to believe
that this is all we value
is each other’s death
more than life”

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