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 am thrown
a language bone: unarmed.
I feel most colored when my weapon
is I feel most colored. When I get
what I deserve. When I can’t breathe.
When on television I shuffle
and widen my eyes. I feel most colored
when I am thrown against a mattress,
my tits my waist my ankles buried
in veiny White. Everyone claps.
I feel most colored when I am
the punch line. When I am the trigger.
In the dawn yellow, I know
what I am being told. I feel most
colored when I am collecting dust.
When I am impatient and sick.
When they use us to distract us.
My ears leak violet petals.
I sharpen them. I sharpen them again.





Morgan Parker’s first collection of poems, Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up At Night, was selected by Eileen Myles for The 2013 Gatewood Prize and is forthcoming from Switchback Books in 2015. Recent poems are forthcoming from Tin House, jubilat, and Forklift, Ohio. A graduate of NYU’s Creative Writing MFA program and a Cave Canem fellow, Morgan lives in Brooklyn with her dog Braeburn. She works as a poetry editor for Coconut Magazine and Education Director at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA). You can find her at www.morgan-parker.com.





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