Kate Rushin: “The Bridge Poem”

I’ve had enough

I’m suck of seeing and touching

Both sides of things

Sick of being the damn bridge for everybody

 

Nobody

Can talk to anybody

Without me

Right?

 

I explain my mother to my father my father to my little sister

My little sister to my brother to the white feminists

The white feminists to the Black church folks the Black church folks

To the ex-hippies the ex-hippies to the Black separatists the Black separatists to the artists the artists to my friends’ parents…

 

Then

I’ve got to explain myself

To everybody

 

I do more translating

Than the Gawdamn UN

 

Forget it

I’m sick of it

 

I’m sick of filling in your gaps

 

Sick of being your insurance against

The isolation of your self-imposed limitations

Sick of being the crazy at your holiday dinners

Sick of being the odd one at your Sunday Brunches

Sick of being the sole Black friend to 34 individual white people

 

Fine another connection to the rest of the world

Find something else to make your legitimate

Find some other way to be political and hip

 

I will not be the bridge to your womanhood

Your manhood

Your human-ness

 

I’m sick of reminding you not to

Close off too tight for too long

 

I’m sick of mediating with your worst self

Oh behalf of your better selves

 

I am sick

Of having to remind you

To breathe

Before you suffocate

Your own fool self

 

Forget it

Stretch or drown

Evolve or die

 

The bridge I must be

Is the bridge to my own power

I must translate

My own fears

Mediate

My own weaknesses

 

I must be the bridge to nowhere

But my true self

And then

I will be useful

 

Written by Kate Rushin, in “This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color” (1981), eds. Cherríe L. Moraga and Gloria E. Anzaldúa

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