Thank you to everyone who joined for this session!
Our text for this session was the poem “They Don’t Love You Like I Love You” by Natalie Diaz, posted below.
Our prompt for this session was: “Write about wait or weight.”
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They Don't Love You Like I Love You by Natalie Diaz My mother said this to me long before Beyoncé lifted the lyrics from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and what my mother meant by Don’t stray was that she knew all about it—the way it feels to need someone to love you, someone not your kind, someone white, some one some many who live because so many of mine have not, and further, live on top of those of ours who don’t. I’ll say, say, say, I’ll say, say, say, What is the United States if not a clot of clouds? If not spilled milk? Or blood? If not the place we once were in the millions? America is Maps— Maps are ghosts: white and layered with people and places I see through. My mother has always known best, knew that I’d been begging for them, to lay my face against their white laps, to be held in something more than the loud light of their projectors of themselves they flicker—sepia or blue—all over my body. All this time, I thought my mother said, Wait, as in, Give them a little more time to know your worth, when really, she said, Weight, meaning heft, preparing me for the yoke of myself, the beast of my country’s burdens, which is less worse than my country’s plow. Yes, when my mother said, They don’t love you like I love you, she meant, Natalie, that doesn’t mean you aren’t good. *The italicized words, with the exception of the final stanza, come from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs song "Maps." Copyright © 2019 by Natalie Diaz. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 20, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.