We’d love to share poems with you! For performance and workshop inquiries, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s what past audiences have been thinking after our poems:
I want to read bxk's poem to my mom. I do not know yet know how to eloquently express sorrow, heartbreak and forgiveness without apologizing for who I am.
A joy to see you both perform again. Thinking about being a previously straight girl now dating a girl and how the sexism I used to not notice and mostly enjoyed is now noticeable and hard. Also ironing men's shirts the way your mother taught you. Whoa
I want to write about being bisexual and being in a relationship with a man as a woman, which I've been scared to write about
I'm thinking about how depression and anxiety shape my worldviews and how to overcome the negativity surrounding those views.
Liberated. Anxious. I'm bisexual and my room mates all disagree with it. And I wanted to finally be free in college but I'm not and I'm so broken up inside. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Thank you guys so much for that. Thinking about a lot right now… How home has changed, how art can make change, how maybe I need to think more about Macklemore. You take topics which are so difficult usually and often can make it so easy to want to leave the room, and you want to make me stay in the room. Very grateful to have been able to hear you guys. Yes, more please.
I loved Cassandra’s poem about measuring the distance. Particularly now, when we’ve been coming together on campus to talk about events in Ferguson, this poem made me think about how I’m safe here at my small private liberal arts college.
After hearing bxk talk about their struggle with their parents and identity, I began to think about how awkward I feel with talking about being half Latina. I have never truly felt connected with my Latino roots. Sometimes I wonder whether my attraction to Latin men is a reflection of my desire to feel closer to my Latin roots.
Call out culture
I was really struck by the poem about religion/God. As a Christian, I know that Christian hegemony exists, but the God I believe in and love does not advocate hate/oppression.
I want to make sure my activism doesn’t hurt more than help.
Beautiful performance. Very well thought out. I especially loved the way that you got people to participate and self reflect with the whisper exercises things. Hit some very hard topics
I’m not comfortable about being white but I am comfortable talking about being upper class.
My own comfort with my sexuality. I often lose touch with the struggle and the process.
I really love the poem that bxk made for their mom.
I’m thinking about my white privilege and being a girl coming to terms with her own queerness (the queerness her family has yet to know about).
I love the way you guys are not afraid to say things that you know some people will take offense to, just as others say offensive things everyday pretending that it is okay.
I am confronted with my racial identity and sexuality as a biracial individual who identifies as straight to most people bi to some and secretly indulges in all things not labeled as such.
It makes me feel kind of uncomfortable to confront the idea that my pride over where I am from may be oppressive or offensive to others.
Sexless deep love
How can I be brave enough to learn how to talk about the elephant?
I am thinking about what I’m actually doing as a “social justice activist”. There seems to much hypocrisy everywhere… how do I justify myself as legitimate?
Thinking more about the desire to sometimes fit certain categories to justify your feelings, behaviors - wishing I faced more oppression
I’m thinking about how I define my sexuality. How do I stop pretending that I’m not a lesbian? It’s part of my identity, I’m in love with a girl and its all shaped who I am. But how do I get over the fear of letting it become part of me.
How I get to discover my sexual identity in a safe, accepting environment.
I’m only beginning to live the life I’m meant to be living. I don’t have the words for how much joy I got from the poetry tonight.
I think I feel a bit guilty. I definitely entered this experience having the expectation of being around a bunch of queer people bragging about how fabulous they are. I’m guilty in the sense of having a predisposition of ignorance.
Even though there’s a lot that I feel I can’t talk about because I don’t have the experiences to appropriately talk about those things, I wish I could make it clear how much I want to empathize with oppression I don’t “understand”...
I was really feeling the pidgin English in bxk’s poem! It’s just absolutely wonderful to hear difference spoken so beautifully, so righteously! It was just so dope and now I want to sound just as fly. About That Elephant rocks my darn socks!
Replacement. Reflecting and adjusting.
I am uncomfortable talking about my family’s money
Mother. Language. Queer imperialism. Bougie activism. My white western concept of queerness and political justice. Ironic given my non-western bougie roots.
I think of myself as a person committed to communication...but mostly that is true within relationships where the communication already works
I will always feel guilty about the misgivings of my white privilege
Shivers. So many shivers. I leave both of your presence always in a state of wonder, curiosity, tinged with a little with of confusion and doubt and shame and all my own little elephants. They make a neat little herd. Thank you both.
Thinking a bunch about how I feel some of my identities being threatened because of other identities I have (re: whole person thing). Also that this was sparking tons of thoughts for me and you folks are amazing. And the whole poem where the mom was speaking hit me in the bones
I’ve been thinking about how I have a bad habit of apologizing for everything to avoid conflict. I say I’m sorry even when something wasn’t actually my fault, I say I’m sorry for things that are out of my control, I say sorry even when I’m not sorry at all.
Revolutionaries who are not academics. PhDs being exclusive and taking away space from other smart, important voices.
feel more comfortable being in a queer space than I have ever been. It made me more accepting of myself which hasn’t happened in a very long time. Thank you.
thinking about how the way I speak and sound is a map of how power has used me / how I have used power
Thinking about how people in radical/activist spaces [that I’m a part of] selectively and carelessly pluck parts of other struggles for their own benefit and how that erases histories and oppression within those spaces. Wondering what we must do [beyond always just thinking and being so so conscious!!] to not do damage through our attempts at activism.
Movements coming together
It was very refreshing and beautiful to hear your comments on how we ought to be treating each other with more kindness and gentleness.
Thank you for sharing your inspiration and
words with us.
Moving. Expresses dissatisfaction through a metaphor about hegemony and violence; never heard before; great
I am thinking about WHY we critique other people’s attempts to do something positive. I am thinking about sexuality and about my privilege.
Thinking about being a woman who is maybe queer? Does sleeping with girls automatically change my identity or the way I’m perceived?
Do I care? Why do I feel guilty so walking this line of not queer enough, she’s only gay when she’s drunk, it’s just a phase. Are they right? Does it matter?
I am thinking about how many things I don’t think about! About those elephants that I’m not even brave enough to think about! I know for sure that I have so much work to do within me, before I can become the good person I thought I was…
Fear of men - the way once I hear that someone is a trans man, the energy I perceive changes. I am more afraid (as a woman) even if that person does not seem threatening. I still sense a fear in myself.
It makes me feel uncomfortable when I think about how much pride I take in being a submissive woman. When my boyfriend asks me to do something, I do it. I cleaned his room the other day and it felt amazing to be a fake housewife for an hour. I love being the “perfect woman” the one that feminists complain are too compliant with the patriarchal structures of society.
I want to learn how to talk to my friends as an ally for minorities while recognizing my privilege (that I am only an ally) and not sounding like I am attacking them or their beliefs.
I love how real you guys are! Too many people sugar coat these days
I came out to my parents two weeks ago during my birthday, and I haven’t talked to my dad ever since. My parents’ reactions in regards to my sexuality was not as accepting, so I think my gender identity will remain hidden for awhile. Some of these poems put me on the edge of tears, because I could relate to them, and because I don’t want to remain silent anymore. Fuck, I deserve to be whoever I want without having to explain or give reasons why.
We have a really fucked up system to detangle…
I am thinking about the creativity, but the privilege of being creative shouldn’t be forgotten. Risk-taking has different degrees of danger in different colors and flavors.
Telling stories about privilege is more an organizing tool than an art, perhaps.
Black racism poem, still so few black ppl in the room… Ivory tower
Thinking about radicalism as violent/ bloodsucking/ placating/ isolating, about distance from dead bodies, about Americanism and where that is in myself. I realllllllllly liked your set today.
Incredibly healing and critical. Loved the poem about how to create a just world without violence. How do we hold ourselves accountable without being self righteous? Thank you. Also, poems about assimilation and parents being elephants hit home hard.
Mom as an unsung hero
Asian is easy to speak about
But what is your elephant?
Where is your elephant?
The relationship between religion and power - God = Europe
You’re not better than anyone else by bloodying this space we call social justice.
The strength of a parent’s sorrow on the attempts for our own happiness.
The way that you use words and movements to shine light on those elephants in the context of our personal histories and struggles.
the body after the moment of touch, of intimacy, "first words after sex", comfort and discomfort.
"My" sexuality means...?
elephants are a sacred part of me--thanks for treating them with respect and caution <3
Polyamory confuses the fuck out of me
The concept of not being born into “enough adversity” to have anything worth saying without lying… I struggle with this in my own poetry and it scares me. I don’t know how to play the game
WHY is it that this “elite” liberal arts school, located in a severely economically depressed town throws away all the uneaten food from the dining hall?? WHY is it that nobody has said anything? Our plates are taken away on a conveyor belt to be cleaned. We don’t see the messy work of washing dishes just like we don’t SEE the messy work of trying to feed a family.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the hierarchies in radical spaces. Your poems about “mosquitoes” and the one about appropriation/ jean jackets were so real, and thoughts I wish I could spread throughout the activist community like wildfire. Those sentiments make me want to swallow my brownness and mixedness and leave “radical” spaces because I know all I’ll be seen as is my white mother’s skin, not my brown father’s ideals .
I liked when Cassandra talked about the SF Pride parade… I think a lot about how not all queer people look good topless with nipple stickers (and not all of us care to look good topless with nipple stickers) and I’m not proud I’m queer, it doesn’t make me cool, it’s just who I am.
I am thinking about how I wish I could make a difference
I am a struggling frustrated writer. Some have called me brilliant, but in reality, my work is and has always been inadequate. Your work has given me some hope that I can some day improve it.
I appreciated the stories between the poems. That doesn’t always happen and it made me think about how there are multiple ways of talking and thinking about issues. It also made the poets seem real.
I am from the Bay Area, so the poem about the complications and nuances of the gay pride parade really meant a lot to me.
I’m used to hearing a lot of spoken word poetry from people of color so this was very different for me. I think this was a good way to introduce white people to spoken word but overall it didn’t really resonate with me as a woman of color from a working class family and spoken word poetry has usually had that effect on me.
Something that I am comfortable with talking about and am socially forward with is the fact that I am bicultural/racial, even though I can “pass” as white. Something that I can’t talk about publicly and can still “pass” as the normative, I’m bisexual.
One of the lines that struck me was the part where Cassandra spoke about her bones being built from calcium and her father’s money. It makes me reflect on my own privileges, how I have more access to certain items and experiences but also makes me compare as to what I’m not privileged in as well
It makes me uncomfortable that I am searching for “my” social justice cause. It makes me uncomfortable that I am hoping for a future personal experience will enable me to assume an identity that allows me to associate with a movement.
Sometimes it was unsettling but loved the structure and the insights.
I wish I could find a way to be more actually involved in activism. I sometimes feel that I just do certain things so I appear to be that type of person.
Speechless. Words don’t quite do it justice but it’s a place to start.
Racism is within all of us. Oppression is only in minorities. Voices are louder only when they are educated. Oppression. Racism. Color. Expectation. Standard. Politics. Justice. Because you are queer, you understand oppression, right? Open mind. Elephant in the room. How can words be so ugly yet beautiful?