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Noon Edition

White Girls

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“Positive affirmations of whiteness are so widespread that the average white person doesn’t even notice them” —Renni Eddo-Lodge, from the book “Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race.”

 

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.

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

 

White girls

 

I

 

White girls on the church walls

sitting in the lap of Jesus in the library entrance mural.

Their only blemishes the dimples in the concrete.

I think of the book momma reads before bed

“Children come in all the colors of the earth

in the roaring browns of bears

and soaring eagles

and crackling russets of fallen leaves

the whispering golds of late summer grasses

the tinkling pinks of tiny seashells by the rumbling sea.”

 

But there are no roaring browns, crackling russets or whispering golds

Maybe those are only for home, for bedtime stories wrapped in darkness

Maybe those aren’t for public, aren’t for murals, aren’t for churches

Maybe brown and black girls aren’t meant to be seen.

 

II

 

For four weeks I’ve had my hand up.

For four weeks Iris – who sits next to me has been called on instead.

For four weeks I have said something intelligent and captivating in class.

For four weeks someone says “who said that?”

For four weeks what comes out of my brown mouth

is attributed to

Allison, Annie or Lexi.

For four weeks I watch everyone applaud

and ohh and ahh at

my words

coming out of a white girl’s mouth.

 

III

 

A line of pretty white girls four ponytails wide

sweep the sidewalk of any lesser thing.

I just happen to be in the wake with other debris.

They strutting down this single file concrete

Like God outdid himself.

I have to be mutiny, jump ship

and avoid a yield sign to get out of their way.

I wonder if they know that this ship is tired, and yes,

People are just people

and ear buds in and phones out don’t

necessarily mean they got some kind of beef with me.

But I wonder if they know this has become like

a thoughtless bedtime routine

where I don’t take up space,

every day on a sidewalk on the way home.

I wonder if they know this ship is tired

and the memory of brown girls four bodies deep,

stacked like patty cakes to save space

is still on my skin like an aura of seasick

and I’m tired of jumping ship.

You, white girl - the ocean I have to swim across

just to take up space in public.

Today, I decide instead

to spill my wonderful across the concrete lines

and be brown and beautiful in public.

Imma put my anchor here for a while,

stake my territory with body,

claim what is just as much mine as yours.

 

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

Torie DiMartile

Torie DiMartile. (Courtesy of the poet.)

“Positive affirmations of whiteness are so widespread that the average
white person doesn’t even notice them” 
Renni Eddo-Lodge, from the book Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race

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 "White Girls."

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