A Year of Creating Dangerously, Day 293: Paper Dolls


Sierra DeMulder

“Some weeks you’ll remember how hard it is to breathe in public,
but know this:
the person who did this to you is broken. Not you.
The person who did this to you is out there,
choking on the glass of his chest.
It is a windshield
and his heartbeat is a baseball bat:
regret this, regret this.”

Poet Sierra DeMulder provides an incredibly powerful conclusion to the poems I’ve published on this blog over the last few days. I was hoping to discover the power of art to combat the warped culture of sexual assault and harassment that persists in our world. What I found through these amazing works provided to me by poet Meggie Royer is a strength beyond what I could have imagined. What I found was the hope that arises from the sorrowful truth, spoken without fear and shame, that works away, letter by letter, phrase by phrase, to wash away the filth and the guilt that so many victims carry.

I feel I’ve been given a window into something that I have never experienced, yet helps me realize how important it is to speak out, to stand up for people, to give dignity, respect and true compassion.

Here is a bio of Sierra DeMulder from her website. Following that is the full poem, “Paper Dolls”…

Sierra DeMulder is an internationally touring performance poet and educator, a two-time National Poetry Slam champion, and a thrice-published author of The Bones BelowNew Shoes on a Dead Horse (2010, 2012, Write Bloody Publishing), and We Slept Here (Button Poetry, 2015). A 2014 McKnight Fellowship recipient, Sierra’s work has been featured by NPR, Huffington Post, Nike, To Write Love on Her Arms, The Advocate, and more. In addition to performing, Sierra is the curriculum director of the Slam Camp at Indiana University, an annual writing summer camp for high school students, and one of the founders of Button Poetry, the largest digital distributor of spoken word in the world. Her latest full-length collection, Today Means Amen, was released early 2016 by Andrews McMeel.

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