We Say That We're Above It

I'm no Maya Angelou, Mark Twain, or Emerson.
I don't yet know my dearest complaints, intents, or direction.
I've never been hurt so bad that I've been deeply pained,
I have, however, seen enough to know that we need change.

Maya Angelou is a woman, and yes, she still did rise.
Her sassiness upset some, and the bird's feet still remained tied,
Her presence didn't come from a life full of success and ease.
It came from the struggle of being abused, and a family structure with shaky knees.
Five years of silence coaxed out the pen, and she began to speak
a song of her own, about the men, the races, and the weak.

Maya's story ended happily, a name we know and love.
But what about the other girl, that cannot rise above?
She too has been abused, by her mother's angry friend,
but she can not write it down like Maya,
She's hardly used a pen.

This girl lives in Harlem, her parents are not around.
She can not go to school, or else she may be found.
It is a familiar man in a Cadillac, from whom since 13 she has been running,
So instead she lives in ignorance, but her future could be sunny.

Twain is a man of satire, though much more thoughtful than perceived,
His writing has been banned from states, where these words were once said with ease.
Some call him a racist, an atheist, so his writings they suspend,
But no white writer of the time would dare make a slave a boy's best friend.

We think those days are over, but we could not be more wrong,
for just last month in my California class, my teacher was forced to be strong.
She escaped civil war in Sierra Leone; she came here for the sake of her family.
after 8 months in a free country, teaching, while her husband stayed behind,
A boy demands a pencil brought to him, because service is natural for her "kind."

Ralph Waldo Emerson used nature to find himself.
He said that the things that we create ourselves, can make us someone else.
He brings up a good point, really, why exactly do we conform?
Things like clothing, music, and love should be anything but a norm.

These things all began as expressions of ourselves, but now they are anything but;
society is placed into organized shelves, combine two shelves and you're a mutt.
No one in history made a difference by following rules.
These rules we all worship cause hate crimes and suicides in schools.

I'll tell you about Sam, a girl with whom I was once acquainted.
When at fifteen she said she loved a girl, some people thought she'd been tainted.
She was not allowed to see her love, suppressed her feelings day after day.
Until two a.m., an April night, she stepped onto the freeway.

Its 2013, we say, we're above misogyny, racism, and judgment.
America is so well off, that we help other countries confront it.
But on our very own land, there are adults who can not spell "unfair,"
People brutally branded with their orientation on a chest that's bare.
These same people have not killed, their background check is golden,
So why do they deserve to have the basic right to love stolen?

There are people who want to end their lives, some who had it ended for them.
Girls called sluts because they couldn't keep
a man a hundred pounds heavier off them.

America is the land of the free, but most of us feel trapped.
We blame each other, but we can free ourselves,
Step one: to acknowledge just that.

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