I Am Done With Guilt

By Nneka Jackson

is this my birthright
as a black woman
as a black dark skinned woman
as a black dark skinned queer woman
as a black dark skinned queer femme woman
to be tethered to a space of judgment
I’d be rich by now if I collected
all the 2 cents motherfuckers constantly try to fling my way

I wonder if I will ever truly know
what it means to relax my shoulders
what my body is like without tension
I’m fucking over
my stomach tied in knots
anxious about occupying a displeasing space
I don’t need permission but they’ve made it damn near terrifying
to just fucking say NO

EVEN WHEN IT’S THE ONLY THING I WANT TO SAY
EVEN WHEN IT’S THE ONLY THING I FEEL

somehow I am still so anxious
because because because
so many reasons
so many excuses
for why my time shouldn’t be now
lies to justify all of this waiting they’d rather I do
for permission to belong to MYSELF???

I was not born free
every ounce of freedom I reclaimed with bloody
nails
tears
scars
I had to earn each boundary
etch them in my flesh

I am absolutely fed up with this prison of guilt
they only gave me a spoon
rusted bent used
barely a spoon at all

but I’m digging my way the fuck out
I take up all this space on purpose
I need some fucking room to breathe
I need some fucking room

it’s a hard education
learning how to tell people to back the fuck up
Take your foot off my identity
Take your eyes off my SPACE
Take your hands out my pockets!
Take your OPINIONS out my ears

there’s a collective FUCK YOU in my stomach
this is my birthright.

Nneka Jackson

Nneka Jackson

Nneka Jackson is a queer Jamaican legal analyst, creative writer and poet currently living in Los Angeles, CA.