Katherine Sauro Found Poem

the girl              under my thumb                               the clothes       

  the change                         has come       

  it’s down to me 

the truth                yes      the squirming dog

            it’s alright                                   

    the sweetest

pet in the world                                                   it’s down to me.            change 

has come            take it           do what she’s told                                

  it feels alright 

         her eyes                kept to herself        I can still look at           someone else 

down to me                                             change 

                       has come                                           its alright 

    under my thumb 

I based my found poem on the song “Under My Thumb” by the rolling stones. In this song he is basically saying that he has his girlfriend under his thumb and that she is a “pet.” At one point it says “Her eyes are just kept to herself under my thumb, well I can still look at someone else.” This is a very misogynistic song about a man who is controlling over this women and giving her basically no freedom. 

The reason I made my poem the way I did was because there were so many derogatory terms in the song and I just wanted to add a few because I feel that often when women are in a relationship like this they are silent. Some women don’t stand up for themselves and they stay in a mentally abusive relationship and think that it is normal. For that reason, I used repetition of “its alright”.

“What’s Free?”

I chose to write about Meek Mills song “What’s Free” where Rick Ross and Jay-Z are also featured. Throughout the song, Mill and the other artists talk about the inequalities that African Americans have been through and are still exposed to today. I chose this song because Meek Mill is an artist that brings up issues in society that are in dire need of attention. He fights for what he believes in, and inspires change. He has been through so much inequality and racism in his life that he calls it to attention through his music for all to hear. In a time period where rap music is more popular than ever, Meek Mill calls attention to important topics where many other rappers only talk about drugs and girls.

Meek Mill said almost exactly a year ago when he was released from prison, “Although I’m blessed to have the resources to fight this unjust situation, I understand that many people of color across the country don’t have that luxury and I plan to use my platform to shine a light on those issues.” That is exactly what he has done. He has called to attention the injustices African Americans endure in America today. As he continues to gain more exposure with his platform and his music, the more change he is igniting.


Real Life

[This found poem is written in white font on a black background, as a metaphor that just because things may seem dark and deceitful at first glance, the truth can still be found]

For my found poem, I took an example from my personal life that evoked anger and confusion, as well as sadness. Social media can be a positive thing, or a negative thing, depending on who is using it and for what purpose. A trend that is fairly new to Instagram, is the creation of fake Instagram accounts, or “Finstagrams”. Usually these accounts are private accounts that users make, where they can go to rant, post funny or maybe inappropriate photographs and captions that they otherwise wouldn’t want to be on their normal, public Instagram profile. This specific example comes from the Finstagram account that belongs to my former best friend. Normally, posts about consuming alcohol, rants about school, or funny captions that may not make sense to post on her normal profile is what made up this account. However, after a bit of a hard time in our friendship, she turned to this fake Instagram to vent, rather than to me. 

            While this post is something that I can now laugh at and roll my eyes over, to some, posts as such are not as easy to get over. Cyberbullying is defined as “bullying that takes place over digital devices such as cell phones, computers, and tablets, which includes, but is not limited to, SMS and text message, social media, forum, online gaming, any other app that allows people to view, participate and share content” by the National Crime Prevention Center. Cyberbullying is still a strong form of bullying, considered to be a growing problem, and when students are asked to indicate which social media platforms they experienced cyberbullying on, 42% of students chose Instagram. 

            I chose this caption, that was full of hurtful lies and deceit, put on the internet for anyone to see, because it helped portray my feelings towards the situation as well. While it was untruthful from her side, an attempt for me to look like a villain and her to look like a victim, in reality, it was the other way around. That’s how cyberbullying works; lies and rumors and targeting occurs to make others feel inferior. Luckily, I was able to recognize that while for my former best friend, these words were fleeting and fake, for me, I could personally relate to many of the things she said. While this is a very personal example, I am willing to share it, to draw attention to a bigger picture; posting hurtful and deceitful posts on any social media platform is a serious offense and ultimately not worth it. 

Racism in Soccer

The article I chose for my found poem is one on racism in soccer. As we know, racism is present throughout the entire world and does not seem to be going away any time soon. Throughout my life I had played soccer and this is why I gravitated towards this article. Racism in soccer is very prevalent and is happening all of the time. Kevin-Prince Boatang is a professional soccer player who has battled with racism throughout his career. It is really disturbing that professional athletes and people all over the world are being called disgusting names and having racial chants being shouted at them. The article explains how even though the league had admitted to the presence of racial chants and prejudice, there was no action towards those people because there had only been ten people reported and it was not noticeable during the game. The referee said he did not hear the chants which allows the the league to dismiss any sanctions against these cruel and cold hearted people. The league is allowing these racist comments to be made without sanctions and this is a terrible thing to see in modern day. Everyone knows this is happening because this has been happening forever but it just gets hidden and never fixed.

Eggshells

[Image description: a found poem, black text on a white background, made by blanking out pieces of words into text. Accessible transcript link here.]

I made this poem from a transcript of an Autism Speaks video called I Am Autism. It was known for its strange fear-mongering tone, which made autism out to be a disease comparable to cancer or pediatric AIDS, and its focus on the point of view of parents of autistic children rather than actual autistic people. There are a lot of real issues I tried to touch on, from the under-diagnosing of autistic women which denies them resources, to the culture of normalizing ignoring the actual wants and needs of autistic children. But I also wanted to change the fear-mongering and self-righteous tone of the original to something else. My intent was to make this sort of pretty/haunting/disorienting effect.

This poem can be read without any background knowledge, but maybe the most important is that autistic people sometimes used to be thought of as changelings, or fairy children swapped in for stolen human children. This has been reclaimed a lot by autistic adults, including me (hello, if you haven’t figured out I’m on the autism spectrum, that is also pretty important background knowledge). In folklore, cooking in eggshells is said to confuse changelings enough to speak and reveal themselves, so that’s what the title is a reference to.

I didn’t originally mean for this poem to sound vaguely threatening, but I think I wanted to blend real experiences of being forgotten and not having resources with the more ominous “I” statements. I think the point of that was that there is power in I statements. “I live/I hover/I know/I speak”, in asserting existence and taking up space. The repetition of “We are” is also important, because community ties and organizing are vital to efforts to combat ableism. I do think the ominous tone is warranted (the intended effect was something like walking through a forest where you are unwelcome, and trampling over something more important) because the original transcript’s promise to eradicate autism and treat it as a disease rather than listen to actual autistic people gets turned around. You can make videos like this but you literally forgetting us and figuratively forgetting yourself. Why are you here? Why are you in our space? Why are you speaking for us?

Happy Autism Acceptance month.

Original transcript.
Factsheet.
Accessible (screenreader) version.

Locked Away for Life

This poem is a very unique poem that illustrates struggle, hardships, and even pain that certain type’s of people are still experiencing. The article “Locking Up the Lower Class” by Nathaniel Lewis explains that class disparities are the main reason for the gap in black-white incarceration rates. Since the beginning of time the American law system has locked people up at jaw dropping rates. The united states alone holds over 20 percent of the worlds prisoners. Blacks are incarcerated at rates much higher than blacks. Rates as high as 2,306 per 100,000 compared the whites as 450 per 100,000. Blacks are 5 times as likely as white people to be in jail or prison in the US. My article and poem suggest that racism still exist today and it is thriving under American Law.

My poem highlights the most important issues in todays law system. The first point is Mass incarceration exists primarily to control black people. A racist system that developed following the end of the legal segregation and the success of the civil rights movement. THe second point is of the poem is to show that Mass incarceration exists primarily to manage the poor. Its a class-biased system that emerged as as the welfare state was rolled bak an neoliberal reforms took off. A system that does not only target minorities but poor minorities who are helpless. This poem is trying to show people that our legal system needs to change, so that black people aren’t monitored and controlled their whole lives. 

Continuing Trend of Racism in the NHL

I found throughout my experience with watching the NHL, that racism played more of a prominent role then i could have ever imagined. In a league that is 97 percent white, its stunning that racism can still be exemplified with such a short sample size.

What i wanted to stress with my work is that racism in the NHL has been a recurring event, and not just stemmed from a singular incident. I also wanted to express the emotions of the NHL players themselves who have been victimized. I believe its significant not only to see the examples of racism that has occurred, but to understand the voice of the players who have dealt with these encounters first hand. What my poem also does is describe how the players themselves cant see this harsh reality of race ever ending.

I Know You Want It

I created my found poem from the lyrics of the hit song “Blurred Lines” by Robert Thicke and Pharrell Williams. Both of these artists have won several awards for this song including the 2014 Billboard Music Awards for Top R&B Song, Top Digital Song, Top Radio Song and Top Hit 100 Song. These lyrics have become widely known and are sang to heavily to this day, but I don’t believe all fans of the song are truly listening to what is being said by these men. In the song, Robert Thicke repeats the phrase “I know you want it” 18 times. In rape culture, this is a heavily used line and sometimes actual belief by a man when a woman is being assaulted. This is only one line of many in the song that support these disgusting acts.

In my poem, I rearranged phrases that were said in Blurred Lines to attempt to create a setting and dialogue of an assault. Although I was aware that the lyrics angered me prior to making the poem, I grew to an extreme level of uncomfort when I broke down each phrase separately. It felt like every line in the song was disrespecting and objectifying women. Phrases such as “it’s in your nature,” “must wanna get nasty,” and “you’re an animal” create implied consent from men. These lyrics will continue to be played and sang every day regardless of gender, and the support of ideas of rape culture will continue to spread as well.

Keep Your Apology

For my found poem I chose “Na Na Na” by My Chemical Romance. The song is originally written to describe a futuristic post apocalypse world where the people have found themselves with no way to any sort of salvation.

I altered the original song to remove most of the futuristic pieces and odd wordings of the lyricist to condense it into a poem that rings true of any time in our society. My poem is meant to embody the struggles and desperation that underlies nearly every bad/terrible/horrid (whichever term you prefer) situation a person can be in and the lengths they are willing to take to escape it.

Several Weeks

I based my poem off the statement released by SeaWorld after the death of one of an orca in January. SeaWorld is no stranger to controversy surrounding their orcas. What really stood out to me with the process was the close reading you do while making a found poem. As I read through, I was looking for what key words and phrases stood out to me. I wanted to capture the emotion I felt as reading this. While they may say one thing, their actions clearly show another. The fact that this death was in January, and as I’m typing this there is still no post-mortem exam results is alarming. SeaWorld has also posted blogs about how the wild isn’t safe for orcas anymore and its better to keep them in captivity. I chose this topic because something I’ve always been passionate about is our ocean. From sharks to whales to coral, everything needs our protection as the ocean affects everyone.