Day 350: Curly Hair

The texture of my life
is not bound by the
straightness of my hair.

Though you try to tell me,
that my dreams can
only be achieved by the
light reflecting off
the glow of my
porcelain skin,
available today
for the easy
purchase of my

If the wishes I have
can come true by
the part of me that
connects our shared
histories and ancestors,

Then keep your white washed
fantasies, because I
dominate in the dark,
armored by colours kissed
by the sun,
and my big curly hair
reminding the world,
I am untamed
and I will not
shrink my presence
to fit comfortably
in your pocket.

© Manivillie Kanagasabapathy

AN: When I was writing this poem, this picture came to my mind, and I had to include it.

The photo is courtesy of my very talented friend Ramya from Ramya J Images, in Toronto. For on of her birthdays, we had a photo shoot to help build her portfolio – the pictures from that even remain some of my favorite to date 🙂 Such a talented photographer, filmmaker, storyteller, and artist.



Day 335: Feminism

It’s hard to take a stand,
When these legs are rooted in
foundations missing half
their (her)story.

© Manivillie Kanagasabapathy

Day 322: Mystic Women

They pull at your coat
a way to drag you
down and back,
place you safely
in your box.
If only they could
remove the garment
of power you wear.

But what they don’t
understand is you
do not wear power,
you are the strength
of the universe made flesh.
They cannot rip it from you.

It is trying to claim
Air from the skies,
It surrounds you,
fluid and life-giving.

Freely shared to all,
who dare to breathe deeply.

© Manivillie Kanagasabapathy

AN: Apologies for the repost- hit post  instead of save by mistake. Thank you

Day 264: Reconciling (Feminist) Hinduism

I belong to a
that celebrates
the strength
of my gender and a
religion that tells me
that I am “less than”
because of who I am.

© Manivillie Kanagasabapathy

AN: apologies for the resending but just fixed an error. 


Day 148: Power Over Me?

I refuse to hate who I am
because it is inconvenient
for you to like me.

I will not change my inflections
to be a perfect
reflection of your discourses.

I shall not hide from the sun,
so that my skin becomes
pale enough for you to see me.

I need not change the texture
of my hair and its “kinky” stories
for you to tell me, I am beautiful.

I will embrace all that I am,
a kaleidoscope of entities,
not an exotic tale of your redemption.
I don’t need you
to save me,
to see me,
to hear me
for I will make you
the power within me
and the short time you have left
to keep me contained.

© Manivillie Kanagasabapathy

Day 89: Choices


These words I choose tell you what I believe
#Istandwithsurvivors while I hide the real me
How do I say, I chose not to say
I took the easy way and hid…

But it wasn’t easy
To lie to the one face who knew it all
Tell myself I had been there willingly
Even as my mind ran and hid
In the deepest corners

Packed that night, as if it never existed
So that when I saw you,
I could smile as if it was nothing
As if the nights were not filled with panicked screams
And days where my body crashed from hypervigilance.

I could look you in the eye,
The golden boy who was kind
And asked me if I wanted to cuddle
Right after you tore through my core
Tapping down bile and memories

Until I choked and said “goodnight”
All the while holding the lid closed
Shoving more memories and words of hate
at you, at me, at all the ways this could never be right
Poison me from within
or crave me up from outside.

So Pandora, open your box
Let the world see and know
There is no easy way
There are only choices

© Manivillie Kanagasabapathy

AN: Inspired by conversations with my nephew about the outcome of the Jian Ghomeshi, Survivors, victim-blaming and VAW in general. 

Day 68: The Women

On this sacred day,
I give thanks
For the many women
Who have made me strong
And the many women
Who continue to inspire me
To be more than I can imagine.

My mother who bore me,
Nine months of pain,
To birth a child,
Who needed special care.
She did not stumble,
In her love and protection,
Teaching me that I was
More than a medical diagnosis
Her child in every way
Patient, kind and loving.

My aunts who supported me,
From the ones who flew
To my mother’s side,
Her sister by marriage
Friend in trust,
To those not bound by blood,
Never making us feel a loss,
Though our mother’s arms were gone,
Reminding me that we were always,
Giving, smart and inclusive.

My sister who loves me,
A protector and fighter,
My first friend,
Who set the standard so high,
Reminding me that I am
Gold and diamonds,
A precious gift to all.

All my other sisters in my corner,
Bonded by blood or love,
Who keep me on my toes,
Inspire me to change
And teach me that I am
Worthy, a fighter and flexible.

The young women in the generation after,
Who remind me that things get better,
All that has been accomplished
To recall that legacy
Is passed on.
The new bearers of herstory
That we are
Resilient, demonstrative and kind.

© Manivillie Kanagasabapathy


International Women's Day (2)

Image used with permission from Art by Thiviyaa

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