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If I Have a Daughter, What I Will Tell Her of Men

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"Some PhD toten/Poetry writing/Portrait painting/"I'll see you in court"/World traveling/
Stand back, I'm creating/Type of queens/I was raised by women.”
- From the Poem Raised by Women by Kelly Norman Ellis

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.

Growing up as one of two adopted brown children and living in an Italian-American home in a small white Kentucky town, she formed a deep love for food, the outdoors and the liminal.  Living life in between Black and White, her work honors the middle ground and the loneliness and resilience that can be found there.

Welcome to the Poets Weave. I'm Romayne Rubinas Dorsey. Torie, what poems have you brought for us today?

 

if i have a daughter, what I will tell her of men

 

when baby girl comes

(just like her mama)

slinging salt,

rip-tide of a mouth,

nimble and slender bones,

all mermaid at the hips.

 

i will tell her supernatural

is her middle name.

she bows to moonlight

and nothing else.

 

when she comes,

i will warn her that men are divers,

going deep enough to crown your beauty

treasure

but not deep enough

to be scared of dying

 

your sacred will call to them

they will loot your floors of pearls

sell your precious

as if they were never awed to boyhood

by your

body

your body, that taught the ocean

to be Wild

 

i will teach her floating is self-defense

shallow ribs, head skyward

sun pulling the string of your chest

to its heat

 

when men roar in on waves

there is nothing weak about

levitation

there is nothing wrong with

the numbing slow of out and in

to remind you

your siren song

was never meant for them.

 

no, that heart chorus

is your resurrection hymn.

a hallelujah after hibernation.

your baptism into self-love.

 

and you open those lungs up

visceral and longing and ricocheting

off the mirrors of the earth

for no one but

you

  

 

Walking Heart

 

You are thirteen, my shadow.

 

You are thirteen,

not yet awaked to

a body in full bloom

its intrusive surprises

and unassuming curves.

 

You are thirteen,

perched at the stone wall,

dumping back

the orange wrap Auntie

gave you for Christmas

barrettes, golden cuffs, beads

and the silk scarf

I kept in the wood box on

Poppy’s shoe shelf

until your tenth birthday.

 

You are thirteen and straight hair

is your ritual, clouded bathroom mirrors

smoke lingering in the hallway

making you look older,

a mystic twenties dancer,

swaying her lean hips

to Maroon 5 and the sizzle, pop, hiss

or the iron.

 

You are thirteen,

and have already learned the art

of losing yourself –

 

and I have taught you.

 

 

Who Says

 

Mama said I drove around the block looking for Black people.

 

Mama said, child, your hair ain’t never gonna swoosh.

 

Mama said you have to work twice as hard to get half as much.

 

Mama said you better marry a brother.

 

Mama said what matters is you’re here, you’re whole, not made of parts.

 

Mama said I bet you the police was white.

 

Mama said you need to learn to cook, to cook for yourself.

 

Mama said not everybody in this world is gonna treat you the way you should be treated.

 

 

 

You've been listening to poems by Torie DiMartile on the Poets Weave. I'm Romayne Rubinas Dorsey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Girls jumping at the seashore

"... your body, that taught the ocean / to be Wild / i will teach her floating is self-defense..." (IUHERE)

"Some PhD toten/Poetry writing/Portrait painting/"I'll see you in court"/World traveling/
Stand back, I'm creating/Type of queens/I was raised by women.”
- From the poem Raised by Women by Kelly Norman Ellis

Torie DiMartile is a spoken word poet and a graduate student in Anthropology at Indiana University.

She has performed at the Bloomington Poetry Slam and self-published a chapbook called Slip and Score in 2014. She is a hoarder of poetry anthologies, old postcards and corny jokes.

Growing up as one of two adopted brown children and living in an Italian-American home in a small white Kentucky town, she formed a deep love for food, the outdoors and the liminal. Living life in between Black and White, her work honors the middle ground and the loneliness and resilience that can be found there.

She runs an Instagram page and a small business called Wreckage and Wonder where she educates white adoptive parents of Black and Brown children on how to cultivate and validate their children’s racial identity.

On this edition of The Poets Weave, Torie reads "if i have a daughter, what I will tell her of men," "Walking Heart," and "Who Says."

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