I Feel Most Colored When I Am Thrown Against A Sharp White Background: An Elegy

                  Photo credit: Stacy Parker Le Melle, from #NMOS14 vigil, Harlem, NYC. by Morgan Parker   After Glenn Ligon after Zora Neale Hurston Or, I feel sharp White. Or, Colored Against. Or, I am thrown. Or, I am Opposed. Or, When White. Or, I Sharp. Or, I Color. Make it quiet. Wash me away. Forgetting. I feel most colored when I swear to god. I feel most colored when it is too late. My tongue is elegy. When I am captive. I am the color green because green is the color of power. I am a tree growing two fruits. I feel most colored when I am thrown against the sidewalk. It is the last time I feel colored. Stone is the name of the fruit. I am a man I am a man I am a woman I am a man I am a woman I am protected and served. I pay taxes and I am a child and I grow into a bright fleshy fruit. White bites: I stain the uniform. I am thrown black type- face in a headline with no name. Or, no one hears me. Or, I...
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Magpie

by JD Scott   When I was a teen I stole T- shirts much too small for my body. I klept movies, kept fountain pens deep in my pockets, glossy magazines, pills, cologne, hair gel, lotions, pristinely folded kerchiefs. O the thieving magpie perches in blue and black and white and takes what it wants without the penalties of man. I do my dim mathematics: I am sixteen and caught twice. My feathers are cleaned in this human suit through community service and fees, a nest of bureaucracy cradling. Ten thousand dollars in damage and the white boy pays his fines and continues. He goes on. A trinket does not warrant death. No one should die over the shine of pennies. Snatched packaging is not a reason for slaughter. It’s the same sentence again and again and still it’s not enough. Steal a bag of chips. Make it Skittles. Make it a Popsicle and read me the riddle on the stick: ‘How many Black bodies does it take to _______________?’ O who will be the accountant and sort through the dead that fill this silence? Who will answer? Who will be accountable? I was a bad, brutal teenager, and like...
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Notes On Loving A Black Man

Photo credit: Lucas Jackson / Reuters by Taylor Steele   1. When he leaves the house, know he may not come back. If he comes back, know he may not be whole. Knowing this will not make you any readier for either. 2. When a bullet is the only thing that grounds him Enough to weather the hands of porcelain, Glass shards full with promise, lily torn from womb, Remember, a bullet has never made a happy hymn Of Black skin. And “grounded” here means dead, The way Black skin means dead, And dead means nothing to porcelain, glass, lily But the inconvenience of a fallen tree limb on the way to the grocery store. 3. It’s World War IV. The President is still our President. He livestreams himself singing nursery rhymes About democracy, so we hum it At work not noticing, so we Tuck our children in night, That they grow up unafraid to bear buds of dusk, Knowing someone will burn the tree they fell from, They are the tree. That song just be so stuck in their heads— 4. Oh, how well-oiled the rig is! Hear that whistle a-blowin’? Better get off the train tracks! It’s not that...
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