Published on Academy of American Poets (



Grind me Nautica, Vic Tayback.
Line chef para Alice arm hair,
fore-sausage & anchor tat,
snatch, a silvered chest, V-
neck, sleep hard Weezy—

As in how do you do that?
Glimpse, a tad, pecking
the surface glaze, or Dove
Men+Care. iNot be puppy breath,
tan streak down the cheek, scar,
or Bowie’s bass: VANILLA ICE 

tricks a pompadour. Jim Carrey
a detour, when slips the tongue.
Airborne pellet in seltzer fizz. ED— 
father had a junk business...barrels 
of jimmied pistols...they wouldn’t fire 
...but they were good for kids.


Copyright © 2019 by Ronaldo V. Wilson. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 27, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

"‘Ed Asner’ is from a cycle of poems that explores a kind of quotidian whiteness, as expressed through North American (U.S.) 70s televisual and current pop iconography as influence. The poems are intended to act as sonic, sculpted responses to questions of memory and desire. Between modes of critique and play, I enact this work as a means to explore race, gender, power, and representation.”
Ronaldo V. Wilson


Ronaldo V. Wilson

Ronaldo V. Wilson was born on March 12, 1970, in Millington, Tennessee. He holds an AB in English from the University of California, Berkeley, an MA in poetry from New York University, and a PhD in English from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He has studied with such poets as Gwendolyn Brooks, Toi Derricotte, Allen Ginsberg, Galway Kinnell, Yusef Komunyakaa, Sharon Olds, and Ishmael Reed.

Wilson is the author of the cross-genre collection Farther Traveler (Counterpath Press, 2015); Poems of the Black Object (Futurepoem Books, 2009), winner of the Asian American Literary Award in Poetry and the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry; and Narrative of the Life of the Brown Boy and the White Man (University of Pittsburgh, 2008), winner of the 2007 Cave Canem Poetry Prize.

In her review of Narrative of the Life of the Brown Boy and the White Man, Claudia Rankine writes, “Ronaldo V. Wilson's prose poems are alternately tough and tender probes into the underbelly of their psyches. With audacity and wit reminiscent of the work of Hilton Als, bell hooks, Frantz Fanon, and James Baldwin, Wilson decodes sociopolitical narratives around race, sexuality, and class. Identity, Wilson seems to say, is only a collection of stories—the ones told about us in battle with the ones we tell ourselves. What we have here is palpable consciousness: a stunning achievement.”

Wilson is the recipient of fellowships from Cave Canem, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, the Ford Foundation, Kundiman, the National Research Council, the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, and Yaddo.

With poets Dawn Lundy Martin and Duriel E. Harris, Wilson cofounded the performance-based Black Took Collective. Wilson is currently an associate professor of creative writing and literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and splits his time between Santa Cruz and Long Island, New York.

Selected Bibliography


Farther Traveler (Counterpath Press, 2015)
Poems of the Black Object (Futurepoem Books, 2009)
Narrative of the Life of the Brown Boy and the White Man

Date Published: 2019-08-27

Source URL: