Speak

Black women’s faces are so expressive because we have

always been perceived to be in the position of servants

meant to bow politely

and with aggressive humility

enjoy giving service to the man or woman above us

She’s not sassy because she wants to be

but because she has to be.

Because the sheer absurdity of other people’s realities encroaching on her ability to live freely necessitates comment even if she is not allowed to speak.

–A. Long

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To Anonymous…

The larger picture is this: Brooklyn is a bitch built on turmoil

blood, black and white, has steeped into its foundation

that’s the legacy we fight over 

and churn the butter to claim

when you from here

I will always do better 

but I giggle through your attempt at trying to tell me my history

my grandfather was a blockbuster

blacktaxed

he stood on our porch with a shotgun in hand 

as they scribbled nigger across his domain

it was as real as the bricks and mortar I reside in my mixed neighborhood

seeing as how that wasn’t the point though. let me stay on message

thanks for reading, for being a critic

for caring enough about the consequences of your words and mine to blot out your name so I can impartially give you these facts

shoutout to the first of firsts and to dissenters in the ranks

The Press

Hail the press, sword-arm of justice

once chosen for its resistance but the existence of fake news is a mass misconception because there has always been the fake and the real

since inception.

The black journalist, duplicitous in nature, was shut out of newsrooms

strung up by their necks 

literature spread that let the long-arm of the law snatch boys from their cribs

who fit the profile

The panther party persisted 

the so called Freedom Messengers

inciting revolutions with pens and passion

pantherp

What did the press and the president say of them then

the fake, the real. The red or the blue pill

John Henry’s Woman

my daddy’s name was john henry

my moms name was polly ann

he never sold crack 

but was a hard workin man who laid track in the subways

bent back like his people 

and when he died from all that 

he gave ma his legendary hammer

she had a slammer that was mean 

and took no shit from men, white brown or black

weary, she 

me and your daddy built this city

so you wouldn’t have to

now take this hammer 

and show’ em what you can do

 

 

Dedication

i wrote a lil diddy

dedicated to daddy’s nickname

that i got tattooed 

when i was 22

it went like this: i am to soar, evermore, like the eagle above the clouds do 

then i wrapped my skin in wings so i’d always feel free, got a job and two degrees to support a writing habit, see

So I…

nana died. sometimes daddy isnt here. sometimes i sit so still that i kind of want to be invisible. except Mommy always sees me. so i smile.

im pretty sure no one person should watch this much Buffy in one sitting when my Mom comes in. she peers at my sunken form on the couch. been in relatively the same spot since graduation. i cant afford college though i got in places. i cant hop off to see the world, but i can turn on the tv. im not good enough. i cant leave and move forward. i cant go back to high school. i cant-

enough, she says. she picks up my blanket, muttering in Spanish that you are who you are and you are where you are. then she unceremoniously dumps me on the floor of my future. so i get a job.

we fight about me cutting my hair. we fight about schools. we fight about the dishes and cleaning the bathroom. so i go away.

Ma calls. she’s hurting. she’s busy with the little ones. she’s angry. she needs help. she misses me. so i go home.

my Mother pushes me to write. to create. to paint. to be better. so i get a masters.

sometimes when life’s too stressful and there’s deadlines and i cant finish anything and i shouldnt be a writer and i suck compared to everyone else and im tired–

she hugs me and smiles. so i smile.

 

 

 

Homey Don’t Play

when I was a kid they still burned crosses on Stone Mountain you know

I am old

obsidian war-like headstones jutting out from the ground

old

stumped, roving, mad

mobocracy

there’s too many mysteries for answers

known unknowns that fill the cracks of conscious when we probably should be paying attention

but I’m over it

that shit will swirl in an endless cycle

pale faces speak,  brown preach, women woman all over the place

just provide me with pretty and silly thangs

I’ll cradle the corner and entertain the children

as the world burns

The Fanboy

breathe easy youngling. we know you bury yourself in characters, trying to recreate your own story

a hero noir as dark as you

they don’t know the night you’ve faced at such an age.

the lil and lonely homey

hiding behind his mask while the city he loves screams and shoots and beats him down

the quiet one with crossed wires and bloody sneaks

nose deep in a book

when we all know dark side boys don’t read

they’re too black

of heart

to fantasize about anything other than their own dry ass reality

we see you future.

you are valid