Artifact: Excerpt of WHITE GIRLS DON’T by Chrystos

Let me take you to Purdy white girl
I’ll show you some torture that works & works & works
doesn’t leave a mark
Somewhere else is safer & not your fault & not your responsibility
to be outraged & run off to save somebody
on your white horse airplane
come back with slides to show me how horrible it is down there
gore gleaming in your eyes your excitement just
held in
I’ll show you blood on every street in america
We aren’t the latest fad in your candy-striper life
You want genocide
look out the window at the road going past your house
it’s killing us

Identification: This poem was published in 2012. Written by Chrystos, a Menominee and Native American poet, this poem describes the racial tension and dividing history in the United States, saying, “I’ll show you blood on ever street in america/ You want genocide // honey // it’s killing us.” Chrystos puts special emphasis on white privilege and oppression, an often forgotten element of privilege within groups like the LGBTQ community. Chrystos has written other works of queer poetry, but is most well known for her activism and work with intersectionality.

Annotation: Not only is Chrystos Native American; she is also Two-Spirited. Two-Spirit is a Native American term for describing the LGBTQ individuals in their community– a combination of spirits, so to speak, such as a masculine female or a feminine man. Chrystos has identified more specifically as gay according to her book Living the Spirit: A Gay American Indian Anthology. Her work has discussed many parts of her identity, including her gender, sexual orientation, and race. All of these are important to note when assessing her poetry and how her experience as a queer poet is different than others.

Leave a Reply