No Dash Needed

I am not   African-American

there’s no dash needed

if anything

I am

a native spook who sat by the door

listening for opportunity,

devout in my non




making lemonade.


why make me this way

all painted and poet brown

like black women sleeping in silk caps

praying it lays their hair flat

not born but bred 

to carry the cotton sack

a touch away from the fairy tales

we tell ourselves


buried bones triple axle across a lake of frozen dreams


The way I’m is

I’ve loved left and leapt

changing my heart’s mind with the cool breeze of a whim

unable to warm my daughter’s hands

the invisible man,

whose breaths give him away in winter 


I put on normalcy like a stiff cloak

to tackle the little anxieties of the day

at home, unsheathed and alone

I wonder aloud

Why I’m made this way


Smear this idea of fate 

on with a thick brush

dipping in faith

to replenish the bristles

as I write the rest down

from my burning castle


To Nina Simone

I am a

black woman

my parents migrated from Paris

i speak  three languages

i struggle everyday to raise my children

braid hair, day in and out

They call me Mama

I am a

turkish woman

in Germany, i want to pass on my customs

there are others like me

pushed into neighborhoods while our foods feed their stomachs


They call me Outcast

I am


i came to america a woman

praying on my knees to keep my sons free

my youngest shouts of foot baller dreams

i’ll go home one day and he’ll be there

They call me Hopeful

I am a


i spend nights on the underside of the italian rivera

my smile is ethereal

no matter where i rome

They call me Real Sweet


Don’t Ask Me Who I Am

dont ask me who i am, i

wont tell you, cant

& dont put your goddamn con–

descending paws around

me for the sake of

“existential brotherhood”

no words mean, thats why…

no words mean standing on a corner

in another world

no words mean…

(Someone falling

to his heart in filth)

or become because i wont become

(Rats rounding corners

like locomotives)

what you think i am

the only open door

is the door to man

James A. Randall Jr.