Tag Archives: poetry

My Summer in Cape Town: Or I’m Sorry for Using You

by Alok Vaid-Menon, ’13

They will ask you
Whether your project can inflict ‘harm’
And you will respond: “minor discomfort” to expedite the review process

Her name is Cym,
And the arc of her smile mirrors her painted eyebrows,
On Mondays she asks you what you did over the weekend.
You do not tell her.
You are guilty of the conversion rate, how you can afford a club, a skin, a language that she never will.
She wants to know what it feels like to live in America
If you have a handsome boyfriend there who will buy you dinner sometimes

In your field research class they will teach you about the importance of obtaining consent.

Cym cannot sign your form
So she communicates with the earnesty of hazel eyes Continue reading

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Collective Healing

by Aracely Mondragon, ’13

“Chicana Birth” by Irene Jor, ’13

My name is Aracely Mondragon and I am…

I am stories
Of arduous walks
Across a cruel and thieving desert
Of being smuggled in a stereobox
Holding your breath
Praying to the virgencita

I am fetters
On my parent’s wrists and necks
That keep them immobile
Their humanity defined
In terms of legality Continue reading

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Revolutionary Art: “Call Me Human”

by Lyla Johnston, ’12

Listen to her poem here:

“Call Me Human”

from birth we etch these lines
engrave them in your mind
by the rockets red glare
the bombs bursting mid air
the war it begins
to make the imaginary country
as real as your skin.

America does not exist
It’s an idea men have obsessed over since 1776.

an excuse we use to manifest a reality that
destroyed the destiny of Native civilization. Continue reading

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Queer Rage

by Janani Balasubramanian, ’12, Alok Vaid-Menon, ’13,
and Cam Awkward-Rich, graduate student in Modern Thought & Literature

This poem, “Marriage”, also known as “Queer Rage”, is a critique of gay marriage politics as a strategy of liberation.  Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage (or anyone else’s) is not where the struggle ends, or even begins, really.  In the piece we call for a consideration of race, class, and other systems of control that complicate and intersect with queerness.  We also point to the increasing corporatization and overwhelming whiteness of gay marriage politics.  Overall, we point to a more critical consideration of violence and material oppression that is linked to queerness, and how insufficient marriage equality is in this regard. This piece was performed by the Stanford Slam Poetry team at the 2012 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational.   Video and transcript below.

Continue reading

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On the Violence We Do to Ourselves

by Aracely Mondragon, ’13

It is often easy to paint violence and oppression as something external to ourselves, say the aggressors is the white able bodied male because yes over history and institutionally there is a system with hierarchies set in place that is extremely violent… this is a vital conversation but so is that of our interpersonal relationships. What about the violence that goes on within our closest relationships and within ourselves? By violence I don’t necessarily mean physical abuse, but harm that can happen at both an emotional and psychological level. When you are bombarded with messages from society that try to tell you you’re not good enough, that you don’t belong, or that who you are is someone to be despised …. you have to think how much of that do you internalize? How much do you start believing and then disseminating? The more I think about all the small expressions of hostility I thought I had just let slide off, I realize how much of it I swallowed and let fester inside. I can’t help but think of what harm I have done to myself and others…. Continue reading

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Un Janitor Sueña

by Doroteo García, Stanford janitor



Alguien camina por las noches
Hasta muy tarde, en la Universidad
De Stanford
No es un estudiante
No es un profesor.
Aveces lo encuentras, dentro
De un salón de clases,
Dentro de un auditorio,
no es investigador.
Otras veces lo puedes ver
Dentro de un taller o
Dentro de un laboratorio
Pero no es Doctor
También lo podras ver
Adentro de algunas oficinas
Pero no es administrador Continue reading

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Revolutionary Art: “Wake Up Time”

by Lyla Johnston, ’12

This is a poetic translation of the Dine (Navajo) word, “Hozho.” There is no direct translation into English, but perhaps a close one would be: ‘attaining harmony with the exquisite song of the earth.’ My tribe, the Dine (Navajo) Nation, holds within its language certain conceptual keys and solutions for the activist’s dilemma. Through Bikeh Hozho (The Beauty Way) the Dine people lived and thrived for thousands of years without jails, judges, or social hierarchies. It is through the appreciation of the divine design of creation that we found peace within our communities. As an anthropology major I have found that, through the study of indigenous culture, we can uncover social tools and cultural mechanisms that have already been invented and perfected over thousands of years of evolution that foster the exchange of unconditional love. With the translation of a single word from Dine Bizaad (The Navajo Language) I hope to show how the Dine people can offer us ways of being healthy and happy activists. Continue reading

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Memories Of My Brown Skin

by Aracely Mondragon, ’13

I’m starting to break all the silences that confine me. And I’ve never hidden my skin, but now I place it inches from yours and let you see the pain they hold.

According to a report published by the Human Rights Watch in 2009, the majority of people deported are deported for non-violent crimes. A little over one million families members are separated by these deportations. I am one of those million.

Some moments in your life you remember with painful precision. These moments can define you… they seep into your skin, engrave themselves in your heart and if you look closely you can see them in my eyes and hear them in my voice… Continue reading

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Progressive Poetry

by Aracely Mondragon, ’13

Just an Anchor (When My Eyes Meet Yours)

I found myself a rising Sophomore at Stanford University hearing talks of a Birthright Citizenship Act that would eliminate birthright to children born of undocumented immigrants. Here I was, being called an anchor baby… my friends… anchor babies, my cousins… anchor babies… but were we? After years of struggling to reconcile my parent’s notion of the American Dream and the harsh reality of a broken immigration system… I decided not to be defeated, I decided to move forward and here I stand like many others at an elite institution trying to give back to this place I call home.

As I lay in a crowded bed, next to my brothers and sisters
Looking out at the sky with wishful, hopeful eyes
You look down on me, a pest
You say I am just an anchor
And that you do not want me here
As I sit in a wooden desk, thinking how I could be so lucky
Looking toward the front of the lecture hall through eager, determined eyes
You look down on me, a nuisance
And tell me I am just an anchor
And that you do not want me here
Continue reading

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