The Inheritance of Hate
By Nyela Doukouré
A short poem from the thoughts of a Black girl
“If there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do no harm.” If there is no hate within, no hate can escape But how can one rid oneself of hate when one is born with it? Hate passed down through generations Built up over centuries, getting stronger and stronger My anger is not mine. I inherited it from those before me, a fire they constantly add wood to Hatred of those who swim in gold Envy of those who bathe in milk while others are famished Scorn for those who lay in their mansions and scoff at those who beg Loathing for their ignorance, their unawareness and unwillingness to understand Resentment of those who live in the body of my dreams, which I will never achieve. That bitterness runs deep through my blood I cry from pain that is not mine, I scream in agony from the open wounds from centuries ago that should have been closed. From a young age I knew I was not wanted I didn't belong I envy those with smooth silk that runs from their head Their long shiny hair that moves like wind, overshadowing the cotton that is sprung from my head Their eyes come out in rainbow colors that reflect the world and its elements While mine is comparable to manure. There is nothing beautiful about the color brown It is often associated with dirt, worthless and repulsive The color brown is not lovable, it's not beautiful. Is my life worth less than your feelings? Always told to be proud of my color but never taught Use your “black power” but not against your master Why can’t I raise my fist to fight and protest? How can I say I love to be black when that very thing puts me in danger? Everything I was taught was to ensure the comfort and safety of other people Bending over backwards and taking every negative comment God forbid you ever fight back Raising your voice makes you angry and an animal who needs to be muzzled and contained. Like a snake I wish to shed the blood of the past To let go of everything to stop the lingering pain I wish to get rid of the enemy within.
Girls Write Now On the Other Side of Everything: The 2023 Anthology
Do you know what it’s like to communicate with your family across a salty ocean’s divide? Do you want the sun and moon to enter your home with stories written in embers? Do you seek voices that will punctuate the darkness? Welcome to the other side of everything. It’s the other side of silence, the other side of childhood, the other side of hate, the other side of indifference, it’s the other side of sides, where the binary breaks down. It’s a new paradigm, a destination, a different perspective, a mindset, a state of openness, the space between the endless folds in your forehead, hopes for tomorrow, and reflections on the past. This anthology of diverse voices is an everything bagel of literary genres and love songs, secrets whispered in the dark of night, conversations held with ancestors under the sea.
I wrote this poem as a way to express how I felt to a certain person. It started with a mini debate on how race can impact someone’s everyday life. I was trying my best to explain to them how it impacted me and others. Over the course of this argument I saw the large and clear divide between our perspectives. It really made me realize how different my experiences were. I thought to write my experiences in the form of a poem because I always found poems to be easier to read and understand than essays. The first half of the poem came to me easily since I opened with a proverb that inspired me. The proverb helped me understand what I was going to focus on while I was writing. The second half was harder to find a focus for, so I had a lot of trouble writing it. After I took a small break from writing, my thoughts started to take shape.
Nyela Doukoure was born and raised in East Harlem, NYC. Nyela is a freshman in high school. Her favorite subject in school is English; her least favorite is geometry. She enjoys watching scary movies and likes to read long books in Barnes & Nobles till they kick her out. Nyela’s goal in life is to impress her family by being a lawyer. She enjoys annoying her younger brother by going into his room and turning on the lights. One of her favorite books is White Oleander by Janet Fitch.