"I told my sins, now i’m done confessing
You say you a gangsta, but that don’t impress me none 

You say you a gangsta, ain’t seen a thing you done 
I do it all on myself, I ain’t getting help 
From no one, from no one”

Nobel Lecture by Toni Morrison - Media Player at Nobelprize.org

"The old woman is keenly aware that no intellectual mercenary, nor insatiable dictator, no paid-for politician or demagogue; no counterfeit journalist would be persuaded by her thoughts. There is and will be rousing language to keep citizens armed and arming; slaughtered and slaughtering in the malls, courthouses, post offices, playgrounds, bedrooms and boulevards; stirring, memorializing language to mask the pity and waste of needless death. There will be more diplomatic language to countenance rape, torture, assassination. There is and will be more seductive, mutant language designed to throttle women, to pack their throats like paté-producing geese with their own unsayable, transgressive words; there will be more of the language of surveillance disguised as research; of politics and history calculated to render the suffering of millions mute; language glamorized to thrill the dissatisfied and bereft into assaulting their neighbors; arrogant pseudo-empirical language crafted to lock creative people into cages of inferiority and hopelessness.

"You trivialize us and trivialize the bird that is not in our hands. Is there no context for our lives? No song, no literature, no poem full of vitamins, no history connected to experience that you can pass along to help us start strong? You are an adult. The old one, the wise one. Stop thinking about saving your face. Think of our lives and tell us your particularized world. Make up a story. Narrative is radical, creating us at the very moment it is being created. We will not blame you if your reach exceeds your grasp; if love so ignites your words they go down in flames and nothing is left but their scald. Or if, with the reticence of a surgeon’s hands, your words suture only the places where blood might flow. We know you can never do it properly - once and for all. Passion is never enough; neither is skill. But try. For our sake and yours forget your name in the street; tell us what the world has been to you in the dark places and in the light. Don’t tell us what to believe, what to fear. Show us belief s wide skirt and the stitch that unravels fear’s caul. You, old woman, blessed with blindness, can speak the language that tells us what only language can: how to see without pictures. Language alone protects us from the scariness of things with no names. Language alone is meditation.

"Tell us what it is to be a woman so that we may know what it is to be a man. What moves at the margin. What it is to have no home in this place. To be set adrift from the one you knew. What it is to live at the edge of towns that cannot bear your company."

You would feel better when you have a man.

You need to stop carrying so much passion,
you are a woman. Be a woman.

A little too dark skinned. Not pretty like your friends.

A little too chubby. Not pretty enough.

What kind of a woman doesn’t want to get married?
You are a woman, you need a man.

You are still a virgin at twenty-five?
You are such a good girl.

No one will believe you.

Stop trying to get attention.
Depression is a white man’s disease.

What kind of a girl sleeps with a man on the first day? How can you be a good girl and do such?

You need him.

i am not sorry i did not beg and scream
no human being is worth that sort of
energy from me.

do not dare return
and expect me to welcome you

i have burnt the bridge, darling.

Ijeoma Umebinyuo

somebody/ anybody
sing a black girl’s song
bring her out
to know herself
to know you
but sing her rhythms
carin/ struggle/ hard times
sing her song of life
she’s been dead so long
closed in silence so long
she doesn’t know the sound
of her own voice
her infinite beauty
she’s half-notes scattered
without rhythm/ no tune
sing her sighs
sing the song of her possibilities
sing a righteous gospel
let her be born
let her be born
& handled warmly.

Ntozake Shange, for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf