Torie DiMartile is a spoken word poet and a graduate student at Indiana University.
She has performed at the Bloomington Poetry Slam, runs an Instagram page where she educates others about race, identity and adoption and is a hoarder of poetry anthologies, old postcards and corny jokes.
Welcome to the Poets Weave. I'm Romayne Rubinas Dorsey. Torie, what poems have you brought for us today?
"I have an ongoing fear, a belief, that white guys just aren't attracted to black girls."
grass as sky and boyhood a whirling planet
coming for me through gravity
him, sprawled out, tows and fingers
my hands his hands
a constellation I can't help
but weave myself into
I return to sixth-grade
I am tilting off orbit
in his Coriolis force
he asks what I am thinking
(there are too many galaxies I hold)
but his face is as clear as an Ohio field sky
he becomes a canyon around me,
the pale white of his arms
my solar rings
I revolve in opposition
skin hair body
this cosmic mass
feel the weight of him
which cannot possibly
know the weight of me
An I'm Sick of Race Poem
I lumber into bed, ten pages of analysis
fattening me up, plump and gorged.
I am sick of profound weighted things.
I want to write a scant poem
laughably gnawed to the bone,
marrow long dried.
I want to write a cheese puff poem,
a taffy poem that snaps back sweet
unassuming and fake.
I want to write an instant mashed potato poem -
2/3rds water, one cup dehydrated
industrial processed starch flakes.
Milk and honey and bottomless,
smooth to the tongue
and leaving you hungry.
I want to write a guilt-free,
skim-milk, dressing on the side poem.
No more heavy poems,
long bechamel sauce poems, twice baked,
three-course, French delicacy poems
leaving me burdened with the breadth
of the world, full of unanswered
questions and reflection
that lodge in my throat,
shoot down the wrong
Inspired by Sonya Renee Taylor's poem The Body is Not an Apology. All italicized lines are from Taylor's poem.
her name is Sonya, mahogany poet woman
gold feathers hanging from ears
dress clinging to form
words tattooed to esophagus tongue and throat
each syllable a drum
tiny fists beating air
how lovely in that skin that dress that body
she calls deity
poet woman sings these words:
the body is not an apology
let it not be common as oil dust or toilet
let it not be small as gravel stain or teeth
how does she love her body not repenting?
let it not be mountain when it is sand
let it not be ocean when it is grass
when the world wants white and not brown
does she still love her body?
the body is not an apology
apologies are in my pores
sorry for not living on the black side of town
going to the white school
momma tried to find the color in the cracks
the books with African words
(the jungle cat turtle bird and snake traveling to Tondo)
all the hazelnut children on bookshelves
the Ruby Bridges movie, framed brown angels
Black Santa figurine
the "can we move to another neighborhood, please
I want her to grow up knowing kids who look like her"
Kids who look like her
I didn't have a friend that looked like me until I was 15
I can't stop saying sorry
racking brain for elementary school dust bunnies
can't remember the date Martin Luther King was shot
who was the first Black woman pilot? Betty? Was her name Betty?
momma tried to find the color in the cracks, but I still had cracks
she couldn't give me a life in color
sorry sorry sorry
no more apologies
my skin is neither hate nor emptiness nor waste
it is neither forgotten nor definitive
let it not be bottle caps or plastic bags or hang nails
let it not be soot or rocks or ash
my skin is neither a betrayal nor an allegiance
let it not be knife to divide let it not be membrane to peel
let it not be target nor vice
my skin is not an apology
You've been listening to the poetry of Torie DiMartile on the Poets Weave. I'm Romayne Rubinas Dorsey.