Born and raised in Monmouth County New Jersey, Jay Délise is a published poet who has received national recognition for her writing. As a Scholastic Art and Writing Awards National Gold Key recipient, Jay has performed at locations such as Pratt University, The United Nations, The Pulitzer Center, and Carnegie Hall, for an array of audiences some of which included familiar names such as Lin Manuel Miranda, Agunda Okeyo, Kathy Najimy, Jessica Williams, Jill Dolan, BETTY, and Abigail Disney. She is currently completing a bachelor’s degree in theatre at the University of Chester in the UK. Jay has written articles for Affinity Magazine and UNAPOLOGETIC Magazine, and her work has been highlighted in publications including Afropunk, Broadway World, and Huffington Post. She is a poet and a teaching artist, but more importantly, she is black and magic.
You know what I love?
The constant reminder that not only has my body seemed to fail the world,
but the world has reciprocated.
I love living in the mold
That society has given me
Based on what my body looks like
Let me give you a quick rundown
Society tells me, that my body suggests
You wouldn’t see anyone like me prancing through a field of tiger-lilies, now would you?
Of course not.
The problem is that my body doesn’t really conform to a specific stereotype
I’m not a Precious, but I’m not quite a Leslie Jones
Basically it just means I can’t act in anything not written or produced by Oprah
Society tells me that I belong in a place that would suit my appearance more,
like in a gym bench pressing 180
or at a DMV yelling “Sir, I will call security!’
Sometimes it even feels like no one really looks me in the eye
Because they’re too busy staring at the sign above my head that reads
Tyler Perry Presents
According to society I’m angry, or at other times I’m not anything.
I don’t have time to have emotions
Because black women are supposed to be strong.
And that gets really overwhelming
And that’s probably why I’m so depressed all the time among other things that are probably wrong about me
And it’s just kind of like holding in a really big fart all day
And after a while you just know you’re going to shit yourself.
And you don’t know how you’ve let it get this bad but now you’re stuck and tired
AND I CAN’T ALWAYS BE VIOLA DAVIS
But according to society, that’s not even really an attainable goal
My future doesn’t look too bright considering my son will probably be shot in the street
And within minutes, he’ll be a hashtag.
Society likes to tell me how I should live, and my choice to accept it determines