Artist Statement:

I write poetry because it is a way for me to come to terms with the many obstacles that I face daily as black woman.  Poetry is my therapy.   I like to compose in pencil because there is something about the sound of the lead scraping across the page that soothes me.  I can only begin a piece when I am arrested by a thought.  It’s like, when I set down to write, I am banging this thought out of my head like a washer off kilter.  As the thought rattles around in my head, I compose lines under my breath, and it’s only through my writing that I can get it out.  I know a piece is done when I am no longer arrested by the thought.  After writing, I read my words aloud to hear how they sound sequentially, to ensure that they are the remedy to the thought that has rendered me static.  I know that I’m done with my piece when I am no longer arrested.  When others hear my work, because it works better when it is read aloud, I would like for them to gain a better understanding as to what I go through daily.  I want them to work through, just as I have, the things that have arrested me, and see how I have banged the thoughts out of my head and onto the paper, so that they can hear them bouncing around in theirs.

{there’s a hostility to our existence as humans}

Chereka Dickerson

this influences that which influences the Other

this was stolen from that

then (re)appropriated by the Other

who doesn’t want to give credit to that

like how African bodies were stolen from Africa and appropriated as slaves

and we hollered

and we sang

songs of sorrow

songs of worship

songs of rebellion


negation of society

of the culture that was superimposed on us

so that our culture would be lost
and theirs could persist


this influences that

and the Other appropriated this

and so they look down on us

our interpretation

of their appropriation

so that they could take it

dilute it
re-appropriate it

then take it again because the Other is what matters
not this or



like our bodies were stolen

and branded

and beaten

and raped

and degraded

and objectified

and down graded

and deflated

then trampled


put awayin a box

shoved in the back of a closet

light turned out

lock dead-bolted

key thrown to the wind


they raise their eyebrows at us in confusion

when we attempt to assert our voices

telling them that they can't have this

and that was never theirs

and the Other is a punked-put

pussy-whipped version of

what it used to be


songs of sorrow

voices thundered with soul

from the heart

from the gut

from deep down

way down in the pit of our stomachs

wit' some stank on it

a wail

that is heartfelt

that generated empathy in those who lived it


is now an autotuned reiteration

that is rotated

over and over again








less than pure


this was stolen from that

and that was appropriated by the Other


Euphemism Campus Box 4240 Illinois State University, Normal, IL 61790-4240