No Days Off

"Beautiful, strange, and colored: I’m starting to think that I am purity personified."

This piece is from Maiya Fong-Lee, one of SPICY‘s guest contributors. Maiya is an artist, photographer, and artist who integrates her experience not as only a woman, but also a Black person, in everything she does. She is dedicated to inspiring the decolonization of creatives who are just like her, and is a strong believer in healing through art for children of the diaspora. This poem is about overcoming societal standards for Black women and how she learned to love the skin she’s in.

Today, I had a conversation with America…

He told me I’m not special.

I replied:

“Well, my hair defies gravity.

The sun spent more time on me, I think.

Eyes as brown as what’s beneath the grass.

And I love it.

My big nose lets me smell all the aromas of nature

It goes: Roses, roots, regrowth—in that order.

That I have big lips to taste the sweet fruits from my ancestors’ labor,

With hips wide enough to connect the east to the west.

But most importantly, a beautiful black mind to ponder the existential.

I think that makes me pretty special.

Legacies of pain do not define me.

Products of hate do not define me.

But because of this, I am stronger than my counterparts.

Beautiful, strange, and colored: I’m starting to think that I am purity personified.

‘Cause when you look like me, there are no days off.”

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