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The Plan - A Poem by Aimée Okotie-Oyekan



I haven't been feeling like myself lately.

The purpose of this division

I have been feeling isolated and out of touch—

is to ensure opportunity for the provision

and like my body is no longer my own,

of adequate numbers of needed housing units, 

because my cells attack each other without my consent,

the efficient use of buildable land within urban growth boundaries

causing unpredictable and painful inflammation.

and to provide greater certainty in the development process so as to reduce

housing costs.


Stress and anxiety about the future of the world, 

The mix and density of needed housing,

and about the positioning of my black female body within it, 

is determined in the housing needs projection.

exacerbate the swelling in my tissues. 

Sufficient buildable land shall be designated on the comprehensive plan map

All the while, I am starting to believe the stories the world tells me 

to satisfy housing needs by type and density range 

about who I am, and who I am allowed to be: 

as determined in the housing needs projection.

othered, invisible, unbelonged;

The local buildable lands inventory must document the amount 

my value reduced to labor, productivity, outcomes. 

of buildable land in each residential plan designation.


In believing my work was my worth, 

I made the fatal error of thinking myself

a worthy sacrifice. A life for a life. My own for the planet's.


Demonstrate to me: what is a body's zoned capacity for labor?

For extraction? For exploitation?

Study me: am I connected? Livable?

Or am I condemned? Blighted inside? Nonconforming?

Show me: what structures are missing in my middle?

How can something as complex as the world embodied by my flesh

ever be clear or objective?

By what means could you ever assess my value,

condition my use, police my power?

Never. Not in my backyard. 


I would like to appeal for my healing. 


Remove the plotlines where there were no prior confines. 

Cease to census what a number can’t make sense of;

attempting measure to how much love in a square foot, how much joy in an acre.

This Life is unzonable. Uncodable.

Redistribute the land. Raze the settler state.

A decolonized domain is imminent. 

I motion to let liberation have the right of way.

All in favor, say “aye”.


Copyright © May 2023, The Plan by Aimée Okotie-Oyekan

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or

transmitted in any form by any means, including photocopying, recording, or

other electronic methods without the prior written permission of the author,

except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews and certain other

noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.

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