Lodestar Quarterly

Lodestar Quarterly
Figure reaching for a star Issue 9 • Spring 2004 • Poetry


Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

if a girl screams
in a forest
in an oil field on fire
in a immigration holdin cell motel by the airport
and CNN doesn't tell it
no reporters embedded to witness
does she make a sound?
does her voice
spread over galaxies
neutrons milky ways
mars and jupiter
closer than they've ever been
does she make a sound and
does anyone give a fuck.

if a girl screams on a street corner
hustling her ass
if she wakes up to a man in her bed
who wasn't there when she turned the light off
if girl gets followed home
from her job stripping in front of a digi-cam
does it make a sound?
if the papers say she isn't quite a girl
and may live or have lived
in a house the neighbors
may or may not refer to as "a crack house"
what sound does her scream make?

if a girl is so hungry
has no money
wants all the
peaches and melon that drip off the shelves
of the market in summer
but goes home and eats dandelion greens
from her backyard
is she too hungry to make any noise?
if she is a poet not all up in
in MA and BA
and most of all BS
do her words get picked up on the satellites
that pick up everything?

if they recruit a whole army of girls
girls who look just like us but not quite
tits asses and skin
mouthing their words on the screen for them
where do our voices go?

listen. we are all making noise
even when our sound is too scared too hungry too dead to be picked up
by radar
cup your ear hard.

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is a US-raised, Toronto-based, queer, South Asian / Sri Lankan writer and spoken word poet. She has performed her work throughout the United States and Canada at many conferences, protests, and bars, especially within the South Asian and queer of color art scenes, including the 2003 Asian Pacific Islander Spoken Word Summit and the Color of Violence 2 Conference in Chicago. Her writing has been published in numerous anthologies, including A Girl's Guide To Taking Over the World, Colonize This!, Brazen Femme, and Dangerous Families, as well as in the periodicals Bitch, big boots, Fireweed, Trade, Anything That Moves, and Bamboo Girl. She teaches writing to queer, trans, and Two Spirit youth at Supporting Our Youth Toronto and publishes the queer people-of-color anti-war 'zine Letters from the War Years. Her first book, consensual genocide, is forthcoming in 2004. She is currently spreading cranky brown queergirl poetry love on the Brokeass Browngirl Tour of the northeastern United States.

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