Prof. Randall's Note: Since I have been adult, (especially as an African American woman professional) it seems like my whole life is centered around being a bridge between groups that can't seem to communicate directly. About two years ago, my friend Kim O'Leary (who was a former colleague here at the University of Dayton and who teaches at Thomas Cooley Law School) gave me a book This Bridge called by Back, Writings by Radical Women of Color. In it I read The Bridge Poem, by Donna Kate Ruskin. All I could say was Hallelujah!! Amen! February 15, 2006)
The Bridge Poem
Donna Kate Ruskin
I've had enough I'm sick of seeing and touching Both sides of things Sick of being the damn bridge for everybody
Nobody Can talk to anybody Without me
I explain my mother to my father my father to my little sister My little sister to my brother my brother to the white feminists The white feminists to the Black church folks the Black church folks To the ex-hippies the ex-hippies to the Black separatists the Black separatists to the artists the artists to the my friends' parents. .
Then I've got to explain myself
To everybody I do more translating Than the Gawdamn U.N.
Forget it I'm sick of it
I'm sick of filling in your gaps
Sick of being your insurance against The isolation of your self-imposed limitations Sick of being the crazy at your holiday dinners Sick of being the odd one at your Sunday Brunches Sick of being the sole Black friend to 34 individual white people
Find another connection to the rest of the world Find something else to make you legitimate Find some other way to be political and hip I will not be the bridge to your womanhood Your manhood Your human-ness
I'm sick of reminding you not to Close off too tight for too long
I'm sick of mediating with your worst self On behalf of your better selves
I am sick Of having to remind you to breath Before you suffocate Your own fool self.
Stretch or drown Evolve or die
The bridge I must be
Is the Bridge to my own power
I must translate My own fears
Mediate My own weaknesses
I must be the bridge to nowhere
But my true self And then
I will be useful.