This is My Story. This is My Fight.

My first semester term of school towards my MSW (Master of Social Work) is complete. For my class on Diversity, Marginalization and Oppression (great class!) we had to do something for a 'participation' mark. I challenged myself to do a spoken word piece, something I've never done before. I performed it last night and it went. I wanted to share the text of it here.

This is my story. This is my fight.  by: Ken Dryfhout

14 years old.

Picked up by another John.

If I'm lucky he won't notice I'm a boy.

At least here it's my choice. At least here I get paid.

This is my story.


We needed to make a statement.

Words wouldn't get the job done.

Lives taken would be minimal in comparison to lives lost.

It is time for being Black to no longer mean being weak.

This is my story.


I can see it in his face.

Tonight is going to be a very bad night.

If I leave, my family will never speak to me again.

I was given to him at 14 years old. There is no other choice for me.

This is my story.


He was my best friend.

I trusted him with something that had been trapped inside of me.

The pain that started when they threw me to the ground has never really stopped.

The word 'fag' will always mean "unloved" "unwanted" "worthless"

This is my story.


 I'm the mommy now.

She tried to prepare me. Teaching me what she could as her strength and life left her.

Mother to 4 before my 12th birthday.

I hear there are places where this disease is not a death sentence. But not in this land.

This is my story.


I have not perfected the art of not caring.

Stories become a part of me.

An ally? An advocate? No... I'm being selfish.

It is my stomach twisting, my tears I've cried, my guts that are wrenched with the agony of the rejected.

I feel the pain. I am hurt. I am angry. I am terrified.


I feel guilty.

Not because my face resembles the face of abused power.

But because my skin is a costume that hides me from the oppressor.

They think I'm one of them.

I slip through cocktail parties unnoticed.

Everyday like a masquerade behind this mask.

But not playing the role that was written for me.


At times both the host and the waiter look at me with narrow eyes.

"This is not your battle." "This is not your fight."

Did they say it, or was it me? A part of me wishing to withdraw into the malaise of wife, kids, two cars, hockey practice, Sunday services, supermarkets...



This is my fight.

Ink spills on the table as I cover arms and hands to declare and defy...


This is my fight.

Their stories become my story as I allow my heart to be changed by them.

This is my fight.

Empathy becomes the energy by which I live. I can't separate them from me.

This is my fight.

If there is not a place for "them" there is not a place for me.

This is my fight.


The walls of comfort will never fit like a nice, warm jacket.

The frame and foundation filled with nails that dig in.

They hurt me.

I am in pain.

This is my fight!!!!


This is my story.


I blink my eyes as my vision goes red.

Light pierces the darkness.

Moments of hope that say that a new way forward is possible.

If we build it together.

Tear down the frame. Dig up the old foundation.

A new way. Forward. Together.

I hear the shovels in the ground even now.

At the crack of dawn.

Can you hear it?

The stories of pain interwoven with stories of hope.

Can you hear it?

This is my story.


And I grab the daybreak.

And I hold the light in my hands.

And that becomes part of me.


The pain and hurt bring me to my knees.

This is my story.

Hope urge me rise again.

This is my story.

I take a step.

This is my fight.

Hope my inspiration.

This is my story.

Love my weapon.

This is my fight.

Because the arch of the moral universe is long.

This is my story.

But it bends towards justice.

This is my fight.

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