'If You Are Over Staying Woke' The Exhaustion of the Activist
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'If You Are Over Staying Woke' The Exhaustion of the Activist

An analysis of Morgan Parker's ode to the crusaders fatigue

'If You Are Over Staying Woke' The Exhaustion of the Activist

If You Are Over Staying Woke

By: Morgan Parker


the plants. Drink

plenty of water.

Don’t hear

the news. Get

bored. Complain

about the weather.

Keep a corkscrew

in your purse.

Swipe right


Don’t smile

unless you want

to. Sleep in.

Don’t see the news.

Remember what

the world is like

for white people.

California born and currently Brooklyn-based, Morgan Parker is one of many renown black female voice of our era. As an activist and feminist, her poems often center around race, gender, politics, and current events. Her poem If You Are Over Staying Woke explores the thought process of the modern person of color, as well as integrates her personal experience.

If You Are Over Staying Woke is a modern and contextual poem, referencing many concepts specific to the past two years in the United States of America. It takes on a progressive form as it continues from start to finish, and in a way requires the reader to stop and focus on the weight of each line.

Listen to

cricket songs.

Floss. Take pills.

Keep an

empty mind.

When you are


do not say

I’m never drinking

again. Be honest

when you’re up

to it. Otherwise

drink water

Upon initial analysis, the poemmay seem as though it is structured as a complaint- but is actually the grappling thoughts of a person of color in a world that seems to heed no cry for reform.

As the writing continues, Parker carefully intermingles verses that communicate issues on a large scale.

lie to yourself

turn off the news

burn the papers

skip the funerals

take pills

laugh at dumb shit

fuck people you

don’t care about

use the crockpot

use the juicer

use the smoothie maker

drink water

from the sky

don’t think

too much about the sky

This play between superficial day-to-day ideas and the unfortunate realities of society angle If You Are Over Being Woke as a somewhat stream of consciousness writing. The poem mirrors the way in which thoughts speed through ones’ mind, yet instills an intimate but harsh dose of reality to the audience.

The stanza set up of this poem also communicates the theme of thought pattern. There are no line breaks throughout the entire work, each line follows another in a unique and sequential pattern. As is continues, the poem becomes increasingly frenzied and anxious, mirroring the way a person silently speaks to themselves in their mind.

don’t think about water

skip the funerals

close your eyes

whenever possible

When you toast

look everyone in the eyes

Never punctuate

the President

The motivations of the speaker are conflicted, signaled through the rising and falling of the dialect throughout the poem. The emphasis of the author changes, fluctuating between a distressed poet and an average citizen.

The webbing of the speaker’s thoughts allows for a comparison of normal life amidst the dark backdrop of the unspoken cruelties that occur every single day.

Write the news


into water


the fire escape

Burn the paper

Crumble the letters

Instead of

hyacinths pick


Water the hydrangeas

Wilt the news

White the hydrangeas

Drink the white

Waterfall the

cricket song

The central nature of this poignant poem is the disheartening anthem of the modern social crusader.

Keep a song mind

Don’t smile

Don’t wilt



The complicated nature of the piece creates a paradox that perfectly surmises the seemingly dim future of a world where sometimes...it is just too tiring to care.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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