I read this poem by Ntozake Shange last week in class. Each time I reread it, it brings forth a different reality for me … a different part of my life … a different time when I’ve let someone run off with my stuff. My dreams, my drive, my heart … Unlike some of my peers, I was introduced to “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuff” as an adult – before the Tyler Perry movie – but still beyond my childhood. As I learn more about me and more about my heritage, I must also remember to actively reclaim my stuff.

somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff
not my poems or a dance i gave up in the street
but somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff
like a kleptomaniac workin hard & forgettin while stealin
this is mine!
this aint yr stuff
now why don’t you put me back 
& let me hang out in my own 
self
somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff!
& didn’t care enuf to send a note home sayin
i was late for my solo conversation
or two sizes too small for my own tacky shirts
what can anybody do wid somethin of no value on
a open market?
did you getta dime for my things?
hey man 
where are you goin wid alla my stuff?!
this is a woman’s trip & i need my stuff
to ohh & ahh abt
daddy I gotta mainline number
from my own shit
now wontchu put me back& let me play this duet
wit this silver ring in my nose
honest to god!
somebody almost run off wid alla my stuff!
& i didnt bring anythin but the kick & sway of it
the perfect ass for my man & none of it is theirs
this is mine
Ntozake things
that’s my name
now give me my stuff
i see ya hidin my laugh
& how I sit wif my legs open sometimes
to give my crotch some sunlight
& there goes my love my toes my chewed up finger nails
niggah
wif the curls in yr hair
mr. louisiana hot link
i want my stuff back
my rhytums & my voice
open my mouth
& let me talk ya outta
throwin my shit in the sewar
this is some delicate leg & whimsical kiss
i gotta have to give to my choice
without you runnin off wit alla my shit
now you cant have me less i give me away
& i waz doin all that
til ya run off on a good thing
who is this you left me wit?
some simple bitch
widda bad attitude!
i wants my things
i want my arm wit the birth mark
& my leg wit the bike burns
i want my calloused feet & quik language back in my mouth
fried plantains
pineapple pear juice
sun-ra & joseph & jules
i want my own things
how i lived them
& give me my memories
how i waz when i waz there
you cant have them or do nothin wit them
stealin my shit from me
dont make it yrs
makes it STO…LEN
somebody almost run off wid alla my stuff!!
& i waz standin there
lookin at myself
the whole time & it waznt a spirit took my stuff
waz a man whose ego walked round like Rodan’s shadow
waz a man faster than my innocence
waz a lover
i made too much room for
almost run off wit alla my stuff
& i didnt know i’d give it up so quik
& the one runnin wit it
don’t know he got it
& i’m shoutin this is mine
& he dont know he got it/ 
my stuff is the anonymous ripped off treasure of the year
did you know somebody almost got away wit me?
me in a plastic bag under their arm
me
danglin on a string of personal carelessness
i’m spattered wit mud & city rain
& no i didnt get a chance to take a douche
hey man!
this is not your prerogative
i gotta have me in my pocket
to get round like a good woman shd
& make the poem in the pot or the chicken in the dance
what i got to do
i gotta get my stuff to do it too
why dont ya find yr own things
& leave this package of me for my destiny
what ya got to get from me?
i’ll give it to ya
yeh i’ll give it to ya
round 5:00 in the winter
when the sky is blue-red
& Dew City is gettin pressed
if it’s really my stuff
ya gotta give it to me
if ya really want it
i’m the only one
can HANDLE it

 

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