Jun 09
hawa's picture

Balance Beam

Gym class 2009
A young girl steps in to face her biggest fear yet
She thinks to herself
Nothing can hold her back from this kind of success
Can tell her she can’t do it
Can scare her away
Nothing, but the balance beam 
She hops on to it hoping that it would be just as easy for her
as it was for the other kids
She wishes for one single chance to prove to the rest that she could maintain balance
She crosses her fingers that no one would laugh...
Little does she know that with one foot comes the stumbling of another
That we are not all as nimble as jack
That this beam was not made for victory on her part
There never seems to be victory on her part
only obstacles
But she dodges these obstacles
NO, bullets, its matrix
Puts on costumes to make everyone comfortable
it’s white chicks
Doesn’t know how to choose one thing over the other
Twilight, eclipse
I’m sorry I didn’t mean to critique my life as a movie
but now a days I can’t separate fantasy from reality
All my energy is concentrated on what I can’t have
And what I do have is something most can't handle,
I can’t handle
I’m black,
I’m proud to be black,
scared to be black,
I’m black.
They tell me I’m beautiful in my skin,
but how far does beauty roll off your tongue.
They tell me that diversity is what completes their community,
accepting is different from tolerating.
They tell me I will never again be considered below them
but our bodies have sunk before.
You engulf us whole still assuming we’ll make it in time for a breath of air.
And It takes no time for you to swivel your head around
and look at me whenever slavery is mentioned.
Is black blood the only blood that is visible
look at me.
I’m not only black, I’m muslim.
I brush those terrorist jokes off my back.
But all the body is connected
In front of the back is the heart.
Though you may not see it
my heart just died a little.
And yes these are the jokes that you and your friends whisper
as if I am blind, deaf, mute.
Honey I would respond If I could.
But I have been taught that silence is sometimes better.
But I can’t stay silent
when Islam is our new unit in school, *cough*
did you need help pronouncing the words Koran, Hajj, and Allah
by the way its Quran, Hajj, and Allah
My point is when I’m not running away from sirens
warning me “get away you don’t belong because you're black”
I’m running away from the voices telling me
“you clearly don't belong, you're muslim”
I’m convinced that there are two tv screens in my house
and when one is off, the other automatically goes on.
You see white folks never hesitate to tell black, muslim people
who they are and what they do.
Sometimes I shift my weight
to one side of the scale
because I appreciate one part of me over the other.
Will I ever appreciate both simultaneously,
It's hard enough being one color,
one person,
one identity,
imagine being two
and no this is not a cry for help
because you had your chance
And I’m not some child screaming for stupid attention,
because you didn’t dare look
This is not just a poem informing you of what you do,
because you already know
This is me telling you that my life isn’t Hannah Montana,
it's not the best of both worlds,
This is me telling you
that my voice,
is the only thing that matters anymore *slow*
And I’m gonna use my voice
to tell you that I’m both
in a world where it’s hard,
NO, exhausting
to find balance on a balance beam


Audio download:
Balance Beam.mp3
hawa's picture
About the Author: hawa
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