News Poetry: “Eve”

News Poetry: “Eve”

 

EVE

By Assetou Xango (formerly known as Dominique Sample)

 

They call me Eve 

I was never given a last name

This was only the first case of identity theft

 

I know what you’ve heard about me,

That I was carved out of the ribcage of a man 

onlyas an afterthought. 

And they told you I’d look differently 

 

Make no mistake, 

they have burned down my libraries and tried their best to scorch my memory 

but I remember well. 

The sweetness of God’s breath on my neck when She whispered me into existence 

She told me I’d be the first of this

new species she was experimenting with

 

There was no talk of dominion, 

but he did teach me a certain harmony with Lady Gaia and told me to embody her beauty 

so I walked tall 

 

Wide hips and extra weight to nourish the children I would carry. 

And as they grew, I taught them. 

 

Taught the young, small, weak 

taught them plenty. 

They came to my crown  

and askedme how to run their nations Aristotle, Plato, Socrates  

sucked from the supple breast of my knowledge.

 

Little did I know when I turned my back they’d whip slave ships into it 

and create this Bible 

that blames me for the expulsion from the Garden of Eden.

 

There was a snake that tempted me to leave the promise land 

I’m pretty sure those was your chains, guns and aggression. 

So was it fruit, 

or the middle passage that closed Eden’s gates. 

 

This Bible  

that tells me childbirth is a curse 

and that I am the cause. 

Well I am sorry, 

Sorry that I broke my back to carry your children 

but if you ever dared to ask me, 

I’d call you the curse 

I’ve been called temptress, 

but it was you who stripped me naked. 

Called me slut and made me hit my knees until I knew what forbidden fruit really tasted like.

 

The abuse didn’t stop after Lincoln  

it was just heavily disguised  

as the media, 

tossing me a pair of booty shorts and tell me to sway my hips to the rhythm of lynched ancestors because it reminds racists of a better time. 

 

They never look me in the eyes  

because they want me to forget I have them. 

 

I know why they do it. 

They see Her image in me and fear my power. 

They sold me as commodity  

so I would forget what I was worth, 

 

But you should have smashed my mirrors first. 

Did you think I couldn’t see? 

I am the beauty of gold embodied. 

 

Black skin as beautiful as the galaxies they stole from my libraries but NOT from my eyes. 

You can keep your idealistic paintings of me  

But you will never bleach my skin or straighten my hair. 

 

Forbid the drums of my native tongue 

But you will never quiet the lavish language of my dance 

I will never lose my kinks, 

myfight, 

my fire. 

Save your cat calls for those deserving  

Because I do not play with rats. 

You will call me Goddess 

or will not address me 

at all

 

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About the Author

Assetou Xango

Assetou Xango is a poet, community activist, documentary filmmaker, teacher, and mentor born and raised in Denver. She founded poetry venues in Denver and San Francisco, and, as a member of Deadly Pens and SpeakOut, Assetou has performed her poetry worldwide and has been featured on HBO. She is currently the Poet Laureate of Aurora.

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