A review by maple_dove
Call Us What We Carry: Poems by Amanda Gorman

emotional hopeful informative inspiring reflective tense slow-paced


The "Spanish" influenza did not originate in Spain. In fact, the first recorded case was in the United States--in Kansas on March 9, 1918 (bewareth March). But because Spain was neutral in World War I, it did not censor reports of the disease to the public. (pg. 81)

To tell the truth, then, is to risk being remembered by its fiction. Countless countries laid blame to one another. What the US called the Spanish influenza, Spain called the French flu, or Naples Soldier. What Germans dubbed the Russian Pest, the Russians called the Chinese flu. (pg. 81-82)

It's said that ignorance is bliss.
Ignorance is this: a vine hat sneaks up a tree, killing not by poison, but by blocking out its light. (pg. 82)

The Tribune reporter Henry M. Hyde wrote that Black people "are compelled to live crowded in dark and unsanitary room; they are surrounded by constant temptations in the way of widespread saloons and other worse resorts." (pg. 83-84)

The oppressor will always say the oppressed want their overcrowded cage, cozy & comforting as it is; the master will claim that the slaves' chains were understood, good, all right, okay--that is to say, not chains at all. (pg. 84)

We politely asked the white lady behind us
If she could please take the next lift
To continue social distancing.
Her face flared up like a cross in the night.
Are you kidding me? she yelled,
Like we'd just declared
Elevators for us only
Or Yous must enter from the back
Or We have the right to refuse
Humanity to anyone.
Suddenly it struck us:

Why it's so pertubing for privileged groups to follow restrictions of place & personhood.
Doing so means for once wearing the chains their power has shackled on the rest of us.

It is to surrender the one difference that kept them separate & thus superior. (Pg. 143-144)

Some were asked to walk a fraction / of our exclusion for a year & it almost destroyed all they thought they were. Yet here we are. Still walking, still kept. 

To be kept to the edges of existence is the Inheritance of the marginalized. (Pg. 145)

For what does the Karen carry but her dwindling power, dying and desperate? Dangerous & dangling like a gun hung from a tongue? (Pg. 145)

There is more than one hue of haunting.
We want to believe that
What we care for can keep.
We want to believe.
The truth is, we are one nation, under ghosts.
The truth is, we are one nation, under fraud.
Tell us, honestly:
Will we ever be who we say. (pg. 166-167)

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