Jay Délise

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.

SOCIETY PRESENTS

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

Aggression

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

whether or not it does the same

And you know what?

Whether or not it accepts me isn’t my problem.

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