Knuckles and Knees: Part 1

My uncle, who is not really related to me, says that I shouldn’t have black knees. That no man wants a woman with black knees. I am confused by this, as I sit on the stoop listening to him laugh in his throat with another uncle of mine whom I am sure is not related to me. They seem to agree. One is a drug dealer. Overdue for his next bid and real estate man and property investor and owner of his own construction company. The other is notorious for his drinking binges and odd sightings around the neighborhood with packages of baby wipes that aren’t brand name. I say, but I am a black girl and I already have black knees. They continue to chuckle at me.

images (3)I am lost.

But I have black knees don’t I, I am black. You are brown. Women with black knees have scars from rubbing their knees on the ground. No one will want you if they look like that. He points to the other non-uncle’s skin, dark as charcoal. I am not charcoal, but I am brown. When did I become brown? Besides there’s other kinds of scars I’m talking about that you’re too young to know about. I am nine. You shouldn’t anyways, he says, and then swigs whatever it is he’s drinking. I played football a lot with the boys on the block, that’s why my knees are darker, and they know it already. I’m not talking about boys, he says, I mean men. Men like them?

When you get older men don’t want to deal with that kind of baggage. You all scarred and scuffed up from other dudes or games or whatever, and now he has to deal with your blackness. Wear stockings from now on or something, just trust me. By this point in the conversation Daddy has descended the stairs, and upon seeing the confusion in my little face, asks what we were talking about. Non-uncle number one, the lighter one, tells him. Daddy curses him out and punches him into the street. I wonder deeply. Why can’t women be dark and wanted, why can’t men deal with her scars? Daddy comes back to tell me that my uncle is not really my uncle at all and that he’s a sexist, nasty fool that I should never take advice from. My Daddy is a correctional officer at Rikers Island prison, he was an all-star running back in high school and a college drop out, he has made many mistakes but loves my mom and he loves me.

157d903a50054f232787527c5cd57da3He says that my legs are fine the way they are.

And if not, then find a man in life who likes scars, brownness, and the edges of blackness.  


Kissing Thighs

I surmise that my thighs have separation anxiety

When I stand they shake hands vigorously

when I walk they rub

with enough electricity to jump start a car battery

The intensity of long distance lovers wrapped in denim

the fabric is in between

so they undo every stitch

every strand is rubbed away clean

until they are reunited

I have gone through more pairs of pants than an NFL team

What should I do

separate them and walk with a gap, no, that would be mean

I’ve got thick milkshake fat bottomed thighs that love to touch

a plight

 that most people don’t hear about much

They’d span oceans, tidal waves

 valleys and caves to be closer

build camp and then start a fire

My curvy hips swish as they share a dry kiss


unaware of my agony

I can’t even wear shorts without them embracing each other

slamming like cogs in a wheel made of rubber

My hips are wide enough to birth mountain diamonds and destroy skinny jeans               


i would have it no other way

because they bend like cheek skin around smiling dimples  

they spread like mozzarella on warm bread

Tongue twisting finger licking mango dippin lollipop thighs

good enough to eat

Indicative of 522 years of finely crafted frames mixed with thousands of my ancestors

queens, peasants, and Zulu warriors

The inspiration for the original coke bottle shape

back when my grandmother rocked the hip-huggers and a sophisticated gait

This one’s for every girl that’s had to jump up and down just to pull your pants up to the waist

with no room to waste

between those

AN312-700x500apple round tire sized make men cry lovable

kissing thighs.