oppression/ makes us love one another badly/makes our breathing
mangled/ while i am desperately trying to clear the air/
in the absence of extreme elegance/
madness can set right in like
a burnin gauloise on Japanese silk.
though highly cultured/
even the silk must ask
how to burn up discreetly

– Ntozake Shange, “a photograph: lovers in motion”

All women speak two languages:
the language of men
and the language of silent suffering.
Some women speak a third,
the language of queens.

– Mohja Kahf, The Marvelous Women

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