and Vievee Francis concerning love, redemption,
and the TV show Empire
might not be the most august
of openings, but like hypocrisy in this great falling
hegemony, it’s all I got.
Besides, what’s history but
a conversation we’re born into without context,
and what is society but three friends who keep dipping
to the DM’s from a group text. Oh, America, where its
ID states, I am Erica, in glittery pink
hearts, the hologram hinting at the fact that this card holder
has a dogmatic Top Forty devotion,
only eats organic granola, and raises strays humanely.
It’s easy to be angry when the constitution starts for some,
We the People, and begins for others, Well see, you people.
Some can’t start a sentence without To be fair.
This is where, if I were a white poet, I’d be ironic,
especially if I had, in the Stevens’
vernacular, a mind of winter,
which is a generous manner of saying said poet’s
emotionally snowed in.
It’s still socially unacceptable in my community
to admit predispositions toward depression.
In part because we think sadness is bougie. I sure
as pig believed
that I was too broke to be
depressed. Machismo culture means, Matthew,
that we never needed any other emotion than
power, anything but anger was middling, that
I never had the courage to be anything but
mean, to say, hey friend, I see your achievement. Hey friend,
I see your achievement. Hyperbole shades in
what we are afraid to say. In my experience,
when someone’s really feeling you, they’ll ask,
You got some black in you,
don’t lie. Beautiful black women, ask me again what I am,
touch my hair once more, tell me it must be the Indians
in me. Tell me otra vez, while holding my ears, while
I look up at you, no tienes labios pero tus besos
son como azúcar. Beautiful black women,
we’ve built so many types of pyramids. I can love you,
like the rhetoric.
If you say you don’t smell beach-y, oceanic,
a wave breaking obsequiously, then you don’t. Skin
can’t be the night, too
filled with a lonely white consciousness.
We up in church yet, Vievee?
The dog and pony show of white tears makes some of us
pretty pet-able. And here is where if I were a white poet
I’d say black women are saving the world.
Some of the poorest poets swear
by their Kraft. A politics. Perfection, beauty were never white
aesthetics. Despite this, pimps
put white girls out during the day, black girls at night.
Rachel Dolezal went on the nightly news and
televised us with falsehoods, darkened us all, but she probably
understood Louis Simpson best, who said every
aesthetic statement is a defense of one’s own,
so when I say I love you, what I mean is I love what
I am, but especially, maybe more so,
what I’ve never been.