i’m black

Posted: April 13, 2010 in Uncategorized

reason number 365 to be proud of my people:

we have dissolved
“i know where i came from
i know where i’m going
and i don’t know who you think you are
but i think you’re crazy
white person in the vicinity
saying some silly white person shit
and i know i am not alone
in thinking that you need to clean
whatever white lenses you’re wearing
that’s making you claim to see
something that anyone with a brain
cannot see and are trying to convince
all of us to see right now
slavery is over and i am not going to warp
my eyes or my life trying to fit your
crazy white person shit of the moment
into my vision and
i KNOW i can’t be alone on this
can i get an amen from the people”
into a single, prolonged, sidelong glance
into a fellow black person’s eyes.

our lives are codes.
saying that we want to be more
than maids and janitors and whores
means that we remember the jobs
our parents and aunts and uncles
and grandmothers had to do.

hearing any glorification
for the confederacy means
that some white person is angry
that black people are doing jobs
traditionally held by white folks
to keep white folks happy even if
they’re getting screwed the same way
the black people are screwing them
because at least the screwdriver
looks familiar.

when we hear “the victim’s door
was unlocked and there was
no sign of forced entry” we know
it happened in a white neighborhood.

we can’t say this out loud
because if we did white people
would climb over their cracker boxes
to exclaim:
“SEE Y’ALL NIGGERS ARE RACIST
JUST LIKE US”
and we’d have to sit around for
days and weeks explaining
how we don’t have the power
to make our sidelong glances
into full-length history textbooks
or successful television shows
or regular programming on
AM news radio stations
across the nation,

and if we just said “ho siddown”
they would say we’re sexist
primal horny jungle jiggaboos
trying to exercise our
super-strength and intimidation
on poor little them.

we don’t own language
so in this game of codes
and switches we take what
graces and glances we can get.

napowrimo #12: secret codes

Make up a secret code. Begin by writing a few nonsense sentences, like “The raindrops tap out a cry for help” or “The dandelions are saying all at once, ‘You are overwhelmed.’” The formula is easy: come up with a message and assign it to something unlikely. Remember, of course, that inanimate objects can speak and that signs and symbols may be nonverbal.

Once you have a few sentences, select the one that is most intriguing to you and use it to start a poem.

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Comments
  1. This is powerful written – I can only imagine it’s even more so when spoken. Would love to hear you perform this aloud some day. Well done!

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