Living in Abundance: A Poem

by Tenaja Jordan

They better not let me get money or I’m gonna act a fool,
get in all Their faces and spit
pure, unrestrained fury.
I would scream the litany of abuses that I inherited
with this skin,
my voice
shrill enough to fracture Their bones
and show Them what it it is to live
with a pain that won’t ever be acknowledged.
They’d say I was ungrateful.
I’d say I was living in abundance:
knowing that I deserve a chance because I exist,
not because I’m special.

I dream about a time when we were wild
and to live was to fight
when we fought with our fists because we were denied
the word 
when we knew and America knew
that the difference between revolution and rebellion
was winning and losing
They knew what we were prepared to do because They did it first
but we could not be allowed to think of ourselves
as humans like Them.
so They branded us 
and hid behind a facade of dignity.

The weariness of generations lives in me,
speaks through me:
“I have tried to be more than the sum of my disadvantages 
without really knowing what that means,
I have defined myself by what I have been denied,
and I am tired.
But, I is.”

Photo: Shutterstock

Tenaja Jordan was born in Staten Island, NY and now resides in Brooklyn, NY. She has spoken and written about her experiences as a queer youth and service provider in such venues as New York magazine and Colorlines magazine.