From Editor-in-Chief Jan Lisa Huttner: FF2 Media is proud to publish this spoken word poem by Lindsy M. Bissonnette, one response by one member of our team to the 2016 Election. We now look to the future; there is much work to do!
Don’t make eye contact.
Don’t let the friction and electricity in the air make them notice you.
Be small and take up no space.
Don’t be noticed.
Don’t cause trouble.
Because YOU should be pretty,
And YOU should be quiet,
And YOU should smile when a man passes….
No. I will NOT.
I will keep my head up.
I will inhale the electricity and use it as fuel so that I am always strong.
I will not let your crooked smile steal my voice and leave me speechless.
I will not let your greasy, uncalloused hands silence my thoughts or force me into a world that does not respect me: where my cries fall on deaf ears and my pain on blind eyes.
I will be noticed.
I will be heard.
I will take up space and will not accept anyone who complains just because they have become accustomed to the extra room.
I will cause trouble when it is the only form of action that causes change.
So that I can breathe again.
So you can breathe.
I know there is space.
Make room for me and my thoughts.
Make room for me and my voice.
And all that come with me
And all that follow.
Lindsy M. Bissonnette (11/11/16)
After the election, there were a series of events that led to me writing this at midnight on the Manhattan-bound J train. I’ll spare you the long version of this story, but essentially I couldn’t shake this thought: it’s 2016 and I can’t believe that we are all fighting the same fights and making – what feels like – no progress. As a liberal Middle-Eastern women, the past week has been a struggle to comprehend. It’s been so easy to point fingers and place blame and belittle each other, but at the end of the day we have to remember to practice kindness. When I was a freshman at the University of Rhode Island, my Arabic professor ended class by saying a phrase that I will never forget: “To dehumanize a man is to justify every crime against him.” EVERY. CRIME. And with that in mind, I cried by myself on the train and wrote this poem. There is enough room in this world for every voice to be heard. And it’s disgusting to me that I live in a world where, depending on your religion, skin color, sexual identity, political views, culture, gender or for a multitude of other reasons that I will never understand, anyone feels they have the right to silence your voice. Your voice is beautiful. And important. Don’t let anyone steal it. I know writing poetry doesn’t help heal any of the terrible things that have happened; it doesn’t wash graffiti off churches or make children safer going to school. Poetry won’t prevent you from being harassed on the subway for wearing a Hillary pin, and it won’t defend any of your basic human rights. But you can do those things. You can help make this world a better place. Let’s get to work.
© Lindsy M. Bissonnette FF2 Media (11/12/16)
Lindsy M. Bissonnette is a freelance director, and comedy performer/writer in New York City. She has an MFA in
Performing Arts from the Savannah College of Art and Design, where she wrote a thesis on using improvisation in the rehearsal room. Before that, she earned her BFA in Acting and Directing and a BA in Communications from the University of Rhode Island.