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LEADER RESOURCE 1: The Bridge Poem

"The Bridge Poem" by Donna Kate Rushin from The Black Back-Ups: Poetry by Kate Rushin (Ann Arbor, MI: Firebrand Books, 1993). Permission pending.

I've had enough.

I'm sick of seeing and touching

both side of things.

Sick of being the damn bridge for everybody.

Nobody can talk to anybody without me. Right?

I explain my mother to my father my father to my little sister my littler 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 the parents of 

my

friends.

Then I've got to explain myself

to everybody.

I do more translating than the U.N.

Forget 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.

The odd one at your Sunday Brunches.

I am sick of being the sole Black friend to

thirty-four Individual White folks.

Find another connection to the rest of the world.

Something else to make you legitimate.

Some other way to be political and hip.

I will not be the bridge to your womanhood

Your manhood

Your human-ness

 

I'm sick of reminding you not to

close off too tight for too long

Sick of mediating with your worst self

on behalf of your better selves

Sick of having to remind you

to breathe before you

suffocate your own fool self.

 

Forget it.

Stretch or drown.

Evolve or die.

 

You see

it's like this:

The bridge I must be

is the bridge to my own power.

I must translate

my own fears.

Mediate

my own weaknesses.

I must be the bridge to nowhere

but my own true self.

 

It's only then

I can be

Useful.

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Last updated on Saturday, December 10, 2011.

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