Defense Mechanism

By: Alice Kogo

words bubbling on my tongue are not metaphors,
They are a message, a warning of future plights to come.
I should thank this body for that, thank
you. piece of flesh you
distracted woman you
girl, mere girl, who cares more about making a living than making happiness
who’s future has begun, yet to become a winding twisting turn of events which can be made a biography out of, you
should be grateful to this body
shouldn’t you. shouldn’t
you weep at the thought of compliance, at
coercion and the past term vocabulary verb coerced, the way it encapsulated 
your very being in the moment. your introduction gave way to the need to hide darkness in a pure
white room. thank
you for this defense mechanism, this
shielding of the eyes for the past decade, making me feel like the need to hide blackness as a default understanding, part
of how the world works. part of the way the world spins on its axis.
it is simply a fact, a term,
like I said, the verb
coerced. remember that. remember
me in the back of a classroom as I sat, the only black girl in the room. remember those advanced math classes that you didn’t want to take (that your parents didn’t want you to take), but you knew you had to take because
remember the way that the winding twisting turning makes me care more about making a living than 
making happiness. remember 
that software development pays $112,000 per year. maybe
that’s enough to get me out poverty. maybe that’s just enough to make me (lol sarcastic ) happy (but that’s not the priority). maybe even though it’s just 12% versus the winding 88% of males in the field, maybe I’ll be 
the one out of the many that will grow. even though happiness is not a default.
even though writing is a default way for me to vent. this passion 
this passion for 
seeking for its 
to be seen in the eyes of the media even though it will never be *seen 
defense mechanism 
r e member
new ways of life
r em ember
making happiness 
you. should. be. grateful.
very (buried).