Crew Entry, 10/17/14: My Stuff

Something that I have struggled with for a long time is having the courage to be alone. I am afraid of being alone; so afraid that I fool myself into staying with horrible and abusive men with the hopes that my love will be enough. I think, “If I just do more and show him how much I love him, things will get better.” This poem by Ntozake Shange has stuck with me for at least a decade. It is one of the most powerful pieces of prose I think I have ever read, mostly because I see so much of myself in it… the sadness, the resolution… realizing that someone has taken the essence of you and realizing they don’t even know (or care) they have it… and the anger that eventually comes when you’ve had enough. I allowed my first love (the Engineer) to walk away with all of my stuff. I thought I had learned from that verbally and emotionally abusive relationship but then I found myself with another man (my ex love, the Narcissist) who was just as abusive, but in different ways. I tried to be smarter with the Narcissist, but I still gave way too much and almost let him walk away with the best parts of me. This is all to say, I think I may have finally learned the lesson, and even though I am petrified of being alone, perhaps it is better to be with myself and my stuff, because I can handle it.



“somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff”
A poem by Ntozake Shange

somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff
 not my poems or a dance i gave up in the street but somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff

like a kleptomaniac workin hard & forgettin while stealin 
this is mine/this aint yr stuff/now why don’t you put me back & let me hang out in my own self

somebody almost walked off wit alla my stuff
 & didn’t care enuf to send a note home sayin
 i was late for my solo conversation or two sizes to small for my own tacky skirts

what can anybody do wit somethin of no value ona open market/did you getta dime for my things/hey man/where are you goin wid alla my stuff/to ohh & agh abt/daddy/i gotta mainline number
 from my own shit/now wontcha put me back & let
 me play this duet/wit silver ring in my nose/honest to god/

somebody almost run off wit alla my stuff/& i didnt bring anythin but the kick & sway of it 
the perfect ass for my man & none of it is theirs this is mine/ntozake ‘her own things’/that’s my name
 now give me my stuff/i see ya hidin my laugh/& how i
 sit wif my legs open sometimes/to give my crotch 
some sunlight/& there goes my love my toes my chewed
 up finger nails/niggah/wif the curls in yr hair/
mr. louisiana hot link/

i want my stuff back/my rhythms & my voice/open my mouth/& let me talk ya 
outta/throwin my shit in the sewar/this is some delicate 
leg & whimsical kiss/i gotta have to give to my choice/without you runnin off wit alla my shit/now you cant have me less i give me away/i wazdoin all that/til ya run off on a good thing/

who is this you left me wit/some simple bitch widda bad attitude/i wants my things/i want my arm wit the hot iron scar/& my leg wit the
 flea bite/i want my calloused feet & quik language backin my mouth/fried plantains/pineapple pear juice/sun-ra & joseph & jules/i want my own things/how i lived them/& give me my memories/how i waz when i was there/
you cant have them or do nothin wit them/

stealin my shit from me/dont make it yrs/makes it stolen/somebody almost run off wit alla my stuff/& i waz standin
 there/lookin at myself/the whole time
 & it waznt a spirit took my stuff/waz a man whose 
ego walked round like Rodan’s shadow/waz a man faster
n my innocence/

waz a lover/i made too much
 room for/almost run off wit alla my stuff/
& i didnt know i’d give it up so quik/& the one runnin wit it/don’t know he got it/& i’m shoutin this is mine/& he dont
 know he got it/my stuff is the anonymous ripped off treasure
 of the year/

did you know somebody almost got away wit me/me in a plastic bag under their arm/me
 danglin on a string of personal carelessness/i’m spattered wit 
mud & city rain/& no i didnt get a chance to take a douche/hey man/this is not your perogative/i gotta have me in my 
pocket/to get round like a good woman shd/& make the poem
in the pot or the chicken in the dance/

what i got to do/i gotta get my stuff to do it to/why dont ya find yr own things/& leave this package 
of me for my destiny/what ya got to get from me/i’ll give it to ya/yeh/i’ll give it to ya/round 5:00 in the winter/when the sky is blue-red/& Dew City is getting pressed/if it’s really my stuff/ya gotta give it to me/if ya really want it/i’m 
the only one/can handle it

What has been your experience?

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