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First This, Then That



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Do you ever feel like the world is made up of contradictions? June Jordan’s poem “A Short Note to My Very Critical and Well-Beloved Friends and Comrades” speaks to this reality. Read the poem below, and then, using Jordan’s structure of “First they said… / then they said,” write a poem about contradictions or paradoxes. Perhaps you’ll write about a personal experience, as Jordan does, or capture a broader issue or situation in which contradiction reigns—
 
You can follow the template as loosely or as closely as you’d like.
 
 A Short Note to My Very Critical and Well-Beloved Friends and Comrades
 
First they said I was too light
Then they said I was too dark
Then they said I was too different
Then they said I was too much the same
Then they said I was too young
Then they said I was too old
Then they said I was too interracial
Then they said I was too much a nationalist
Then they said I was too silly
Then they said I was too angry
Then they said I was too idealistic
Then they said I was too confusing altogether:
Make up your mind! They said. Are you militant
or sweet? Are you vegetarian or meat? Are you straight
or are you gay?
 
And I said, Hey! It’s not about my mind
 
[This prompt was designed by Community Ambassador Jasmine_K.]

In search of more inspiration? Check out these paradoxical pieces from Community Ambassadors SunV and Delia Rune!