“Not A Number” – A Poem By Alysia Nicole Harris


Worthless! Dumb slut! Faggot! Punk! They called her #146. Maybe you know the sting like razor blades. Maybe the desire to disappear: It resonates. Maybe you, too, know the feel of forgettable: that ache that lingers inside you like the taste of a last cigarette on the tongue, like the pain in your body because the work is never done. Maybe you know the sound:
the sound of your dream being crumpled into the dollar in someone else’s jeans. Like when your parents, or your friend, or the man down the street tried to pimp your self-esteem. At first they called you pretty,
Then they called you weak, good for nothing, never be worth much —
every syllable in your beautiful name and the story behind it
exchanged for slurs. They’ve broken down your spine,
sanded down your shine and branded you with their labels. Next, they’ll put you in a box to put you
on the shelf, hoping you’ll be picked before your expiration
date. But…but your soul is not damaged goods. We won’t be fooled
by those who only care about us long enough to make money off us,
make us packageable profitable, those who treat people like products, turning
children into chattel, the vulnerable into victims, and… And maybe you’ve been told you deserve this.
That this is all you’ll ever get, so shut up and be happy. Be happy somebody wants you. But you will not be happy with bare minimums. You will not be bought and sold at a discount. Don’t count your past against you. A few mistakes just gives your skin that human
hue. That hue that says I’ve been put into dark
places and did not stay there. So don’t dance in their dark rooms. Don’t pose for their cameras
because your portrait’s worth a thousand words, all more beautiful than the ones you were
told: Irreplaceable! Unconquerable! Unstoppable! You might be fractured, but unlike a fraction
you cannot be reduced. Tell them:
My life is not mathematics. I’m not a statistic,
not a hashtag, not a price tag. I am not a number. I have a story. A story that includes love. And survival is just the beginning. I don’t have all the answers
or any easy solutions. And I don’t really know how this ends. But your story is yours. It’s what’s behind the eyes
and cannot be commodified. [Music]

40 thoughts on ““Not A Number” – A Poem By Alysia Nicole Harris

  1. my favorite poet! she never fails to give me chills ๐Ÿ˜ซโค๐Ÿ’ช

  2. what is the love146 project? I hope she reads this, I would love to learn more about it.

  3. You know a poet's good when they make your bones turn to ice, your shoulders quiver, and your eyes water. I LOVED THIS!

  4. This was incredible I wish I could take some cues from you for my own trafficking poem

  5. please check out my poetry at Lela nhlapo ' we are but only sand'

  6. This is so Incredible, I had to watch it a few times it's so Encouraging!!

  7. Always gets me in my feelings , so beautifully written – Thank you Alysia Nicole Harris

  8. I LOVE HER SO FREAKIN MUCH!!! SHE'S SUCH A GREAT POET AND SHE DESERVES EVERYONE'S ATTENTION!!! ๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—

  9. I have skipped over this poem a few times on my timeline. I'm glad I listened to it today. Thank you Alysia for over standing the will of a conscious soul navigation g this artificial world that caucasians have created in order to survive on our melanated planet

  10. Love, loved, loved this voice with these words made the message loud and clear as we wake up to all injustices against all humanity.

  11. This is an incredible very powerful and touching. Great work!

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