issue 13: oct 2016, Poetry
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Women Can’t/Can by Jendayi

Women can’t talk
Women can’t eat
Women can’t breathe
Women can’t sleep
Women can’t shop
Women can’t.
Women can’t reason.
Women can’t feel.
Women can’t be sick.
Women can cry.
Only for trivial things.
None of them real.
Women can’t stand
Women can’t shout
Women can’t scream.
Women can sit.
With their legs closed,
If they please.
Women can’t dream.
Women can’t learn.
Women can’t speak the spoken word from their soul.
well i can.
As I a young black women in defiance!
I can!
I will breathe
I will speak
I will write
I will talk
I will stand
I will shout
I will scream.
You will never ever quiet me.
I will speak for all the women
I will cry for all the women
I will stand for all the women
Whose hearts and souls are empty
From shouting all those years
On deaf ears.
I will carry the burden
Because women can.
Women can’t talk (Yes we can! You will hear our voices for centuries)
As we rise crescendo
You will hear our call.
About the rape culture
and the slut shaming
and the domestic abuse
and the bossy women of the world
Who can never be leaders
Because men always are.
Women can’t eat. (Shut up and watch me eat the entire pizza)
I will not be ruled by your silly laws
Of what is a good body and what is not
I am not here for the male gaze.
I am here to be Caribbean Empress I praise.
Women can’t breathe. (I will bring the guerilla of women warriors)
To come down upon
The misogynistic landscape.
That is our world.
because women can.
and we will.
and we must.
Women are.


Jendayi is just a young person immersed in the world of intersectional feminism. She is a writer, but her favorite art form is poetry. She uses it to describe the way she experiences the world, especially as a Caribbean bisexual black girl. You can find her on instagram.

Illustration by Nadia El H.

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