The Black Woman's Latitude Zine Issue 1

Page 1

T H E

L A T I T U D E

"non binary" by Jhamasa Lewis-Adams

W O M A N ' S

B L A C K

ISSUE 1

edited by Christiana McClain & Taylor Alyson Lewis


Letter from Taylor One of the most fulfilling consequences of being a writer is the inherent potential for loving community. It's the lifeblood of all of our words and actions. That's what Christiana tapped into when she founded The Black Woman's Latitude. I am honored to be a part of a project that prioritizes and honors Black artists in this way. This zine is special to the both of us because of what we put into it, our dreams and expectations for it, the readers and writers that made it possible in this moment, the sacred work of writing itself, the magic of sharing words and art and having them be shared. As artists, we all listen to one another, we all write for one another, we all talk to one another, and we all share the bounty of our lives with each other. I'm thankful to be a Black writer in community with Black writers. I'm grateful for beauty and the capacity to share and express it. Thank you. Taylor


Letter from Christiana I wanted to create this zine because I wanted proof that we, this small organization of black writers launched from a single tweet, had ever existed. I had no idea when I sent that tweet out that I would meet as many writers as I did. I chose the format of a zine for two reasons. As an online platform, I was looking for ways to share our words in an accessible medium. I did not want cost to hinder anyone from reading this zine. The other and most important reason is that zines were birthed out of a history and culture of self-made, independent, radical expression. It fits perfectly with our group because we found each other and carved out this platform for ourselves. Every one of you heard me asking for a friend, someone to help me along this journey as a black woman writer, and you all answered my call. I hope this volume serves as a reflection of that. The way one writer speaks out into the world, and those around them listens and responds. I’m forever grateful for the way you made me feel seen. I’m grateful to all the writers who took the courage to submit and grateful to our readers. Sincerely, Christiana McClain


TABLE OF CONTENTS poetry/fiction/visual art

witch in white no 2, witch in white no 2, witch in white no 3 by Michelle Chikwanha 1 How it feels to be free by Ama Akoto 2 Man. 3 by Jhamasa Lewis-Adams 3 Blue in Green by Aarel Calhoun 4 Man. 2, Man. 4 by Jhamasa Lewis-Adams 6 Don’t Question Me by Alison Wheagar 7 Man. 5, 7, 8 by Jhamasa Lewis-Adams 8 Three Little Latchkeys by Onicia Muller 9 High Stakes 2: What Would Happen If You Just Let Go? by Bryce Evan Lewis 12 Man. 1 by Jhamasa Lewis-Adams13 Kiddo by Gail Egbeson 14 Things That Make Netsai Smile by Michelle Chikwanha 16 14th & Constitution by Ama Akoto 22


witch in white no 1, witch in white no 2, witch in white no 3

1


2

Our End When you left the spot next to me was so full with your absence there was a sunken dip where your body used to lay And broken urns shattered around the soil I used to grow you into a man with formidable legs and stomping feet I cut my foot on the broken glass walking to the window this evening Bled into the floor and the dirt I fell asleep nursing the wounds When I woke the next morning it was cold around me and darkness started to creep from the corners of the walls Pieces of me seemed to be missing and the spot inside me was still full with your absence What a fool was I to think my aching heart could kid the moon

how it feels to be free

WRITTEN BY AMA

My beginning I slept again Fed myself and kissed the insides of my elbows I dried my blood from the floor but couldn’t lift the shards of us I cleaned and sang Held myself, tight until one day my arms were heavier and the earth you spilled the day you were gone from me/ walked out with alla my stuf - my scars and laughter/ sprouted a sprightly green thing My feet swept through the glass and it looked like grains of sand around a mountain I was so big with myself I could barely fit through the doors of our home The walls you built/ the ones erected around me/ either shrunk or I was so stuf ed on my own lovin I outgrew your little oppressive cottage The shit was breaking itself to fit the newness of me the abundance of my voice and weight of my everything The imprint of your ass lost itself to my wonder then flattened out before disappearing completely In its place I appeared My style of dancing my thoughts about Blackness and my open spirit which you thought was reserved just for you I crowded the little rooms just me, myself, and I so I could live like I been longing to live It seems, I’m way overdue So I’ll be starting anew


3

Man. 3


BLUE IN GREEN WRITTEN BY AAREL CALHOUN

Where are you? I can’t wait to find you We’ll sit and drink coffee With Miles Davis playing in the background Brown coffee grounds adding a Third color to Davis’ well-revered track As it rains we’ll be cozy, together Reading poetry, theatre, theory Drinking in the smell of the evening, The sound of the music The sight of each other I could listen to you read for hours And never grow tired Each lilt, each note, each breath you take Like music in my ears, and warmth in my heart Can Miles Davis compare to the song that is you? You you you I want you, I have you You and the world, you are the world The world is better with you in it Or at least mine is; infinitely changed by your existence Back to the book, we read and read and read In my mind there’s a fireplace You say this chapter’s over, what do you think? I try to hide it but nothing excites me more than this (I say this about everything you do) Your mind tangos with mine A discussion of the arts, a melting of ideas It’s my favorite thing. The best thing. A blue and green sort of thing that Encompasses life and death and anything else That happens on this green and blue and brown Earth That exists within the space between you and me.

4


5 You The one I haven’t met yet. Oh but imagine the fire that’ll come to fruition When I do. When we do, meet. A spark is cool and all but I expect more from you. In a museum we’ll discuss beauty and grandeur And that’s when I’ll be sure it’s you After the air between us grows crisp as an apple, Our words the life giving seeds that created it. You and me A meeting of minds A melding of appreciation Green and blue and all the other colors Make up the masterpiece that is the combination of me And you


6 Man.2, Man. 4


7

DON'T QUESTION ME If I can go back before mental illness stole my mom’s sanity and cancer stripped my father of his humanity. If I can see the guys who gang raped me when I was 9 years old. If I could go back and ask the police officer why he could’t save me. Who do I really have to blame? Schizophrenia, cancer, or the boys that used their ding-a-ling. For the fucked up mentality I have, For the flashbacks and the replays in my head. For the anxiety that eats me alive and the depression that puts up no fight. I’m suffering in sorrow but my face doesn't show any emotions, You wouldn't dare see me blink while a tear fall. I am no longer living. But you see I wear my mask perfectly, they’re too blind to see. Oblivious to my pain but gain sight when my failure speak. Actions speak louder than words so why the fuck haven’t anyone said a word when my actions Displays everything that’s not of me. Alison Wheagar


8

Man. 5, Man. 7, Man. 8


9

THREE LITTLE LATCHKEYS WRITTEN BY ONICIA MULLER

Balancing the thin line of beauty and torture is a

There’s something very soothing about watching

difficult and necessary act every girl and woman must

cartoons while mud dries on my skin.

learn. My father was a restaurateur and entrepreneurial-minded, party boy. My mother was a

I flex my toes. Then my fingers. I stretch my arms.

former disco lover turned born-again-church lady. We

Then my legs. I contort my face. I am a mummy

were often reminded to be well-dressed, well-spoken,

resurrected.

and on our best behavior.

Finally, the shower’s warm water washes away the dirt. “When you go into daddy’s restaurant, DO NOT drag your words. You don’t have to ‘yank’ like the Americans, but speak properly.” Luxuriating Mud Bath

My in-home face and body mud mask made from all natural, Caribbean dirt. Some women pay hundreds for this experience. I had these luxuries for free.

We’re in the living room. The sound of rain tells me it’s time. I head to the closet for my swimsuit, towel, and

Emo Baby Pop Star

slippers. Then, I go to my parent’s bathroom for my mom’s shower cap.

We’re in Sharon’s room: our headquarter for beauty research and development.

Our garage was unpaved. The heavy rain transformed it into my personal mud pit. The Caribbean sun warms the wet dirt. The smooth chocolate squishes between my toes. Between fingers. The thick, smooth consistency covers my arms, legs, and face. Mmm, what I would give for some cucumbers. Regenerated; I return to the living room. But first, I slip on my flip flops, so I don’t leave tracks. I spread my towel out and rejoin Sharon and Stitch.

We sit crossed legged while sorting our stash of pink, red, and green fountain pen ink cartridges. These are our findings. Paper absorbs ink. Napkins do too. Most light-colored fabrics, really. Should we dye a t-shirt? A two-to-one vote says no. We don’t have enough ink. Stich calls in Check Up for an expert opinion. Check Up is our life-sized baby doll and leading beauty guinea pig.


10

She survives on daily servings of wet Cornflakes and

Perfect Water Curls

cold bush tea.

We’re in the bed room. Stitch’s afro hair is difficult to

Bush tea? Yes. It’s any tea, really. We pluck the

manage. It is kinky and coiled. It is fluffy and full.

leaves from plants in our garden. Then we steep them in a mug. We create suction by squeezing

The hairstylist sectioned her braided hair extensions into

Check Up’s belly. This is how she sips and eats. Each

for jumbo plaits before dipping them in hot water. Then,

meal ends with a soothing tummy rub.

she towel dried them so they could cool. We see and understand that this is a process to curl and crimp hair.

After a few weeks on this diet, she is constipated and her breath is rancid. We switch her to a liquid diet of

Research question: will this work on all hair types?

diluted mouthwash and bleach. There was no cure for the incontinence which she developed. By

All the dolls line up on a towel. Real hair. Synthetic hair.

‘develop’, I mean Sharon took to her anus with a pair

Stuffed dolls with yarn hair. Thick plaits. Thin twits.

of scissors hoping to make a larger exit hole for the

Bantu knots. All their luscious locks wrapped taut around

stale Cornflakes trapped in her abdomen.

drinking straws.

There’s no cure for the runs. Thankfully, these super

Mommy says not to play with fire. We fill the rice cooker

absorbent Always diapers found in mom’s closet

with water and set it to boil. Dip. Dip. Dunk! Pocahontas,

greatly improved her quality of life.

Barbie, and Check Up sit for sixty Mississippis before we towel dry them. Our experiment is marginally successful;

Her self-esteem was low, but we were confident a

yarn hair does not curl.

makeover would raise Check Up’s spirits. We used the pen ink to dye her hair. She became a pop star.

Don’t play with fire. Fill the rice cooker with water and set it to boil. Once. Twice. Three times boiled. Protect your

Finally ready to retire from touring the world, we try

fingers; use oven gloves to carry the water.

to revert her hair with Clorox bleach. We corrected our failure by dying her hair with black shoe polish.

Ok, Stitch. Dip your face in that water, hold for exactly

It turned green. Her eyebrows didn’t match, so we

sixty Mississippis --

convert our pen into a tattoo needle and developed a new line of permanent makeup.

Her survival instincts prevented us from baptizing her face with scalding water. This is why we can’t have

We try recreating the look on Stitch. Only light

advancement in black beauty.

colored fabrics take ink. We dye a few strands from our least favorite blond Barbie and attach it to

Finally, she is convinced to sit on a chair out on the

Stitch’s hair. With more advanced technology, she

upstairs porch. Safety first; Sharon and I wear gloves to

too might became a pop star!

transport the water. We drape the towel over her neck and shoulders for protection.


11 As we pour the water directly onto her scalp

Crispy Indian Tresses

“LAWD JESUS SAVE ME! MOMMMMY!”

An incorrectly used curling iron caused Pocahontas to have wrinkles in her hair.

For what seemed an eternity, she screamed. “Shhh! Shhh!

When mommy’s clothes or sheets were wrinkled, she made

Don’t tell mommy. You’ll laugh at this once you’re beautiful.

them smooth by using spray starch and the iron.

Nah, she screamed.

“Stitch, if we make Pocahontas hair straight, we can make your hair straight, and then you will be beautiful. You in?”

Praise be for resilient hair follicles. Pocahontas rests with hair fanned smooth on the pillow. Red-Hot Lips

The iron is plugged in with dialed turned to highest heat. Her hair is soaked with spray starch. We pressed the iron

Don’t play with BIG fires. A lighter. A small flame. A shot

firmly down. Hold for sixty Missis—

glass. Melted red crayon. Twirled thread. We’d created a candle.

“Oh, Jah it's smoking!”

Done playing with the flame we find our fingers stained.

She didn’t scream because she was inanimate. On the

Sharon rubs the red crayon against Stitch’s lips. I think I see

upside, now we had a doll with afro hair.

a difference. It needs to be more saturated. We hold the crayon to the flames and then apply to Stitch’s

Stitch returns to the living room where she watches cartoons as therapy. Sharon and I return to headquarters to

“LAWD JESUS SAVE ME! MOMMMMY!" For what seemed an eternity, she screamed. “Shhh! Shhh! Don’t tell mommy. You’ll laugh at this once you’re beautiful.” Nah, she screamed. Praise be for regenerating skin cells.

document our findings and draft new plans.


12

High Stakes 2:

WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF YOU JUST LET GO?

6am, the only way to beat traffic. Another boring drive, a monotonous ride that makes you feel like every day you are getting closer to nowhere. Hitting the road before most had even lifted their heads from their beds, even earlier now that that the snow had fallen and turned streets into snowy grey swamps. 10 minutes to dig out the beater, another 10 minutes to the highway, still 30 more till you finally reached your destination. You step on the gas and the little blue car accelerates, turning your steering wheel towards the left and around the familiar curve. Too fast. You hit the brakes and feel the comforting shudder of the ABS. But the revolution of your front wheels overtake the back. Spinning. You try to correct your mistake. Spinning. You squint through the freezing rain. Spinning. You see the wall so close that if your window were open you could reach out and stop the spinning. The tread of your tires grab desperately for something to hold onto but the freeze and melt, freeze and melt of the days before left nothing but slick dirty slush. You clutch the steering wheel with the same desperation as your tires to asphalt, trying to remember driver’s ed, trying to remember what to do. But all you can think of is the many lectures on distracted driving and you weren’t even trying to change the music. Your heart beats faster than the blades of the windshield wipers and your mind keeps coming to one question:

Bryce Evan Lewis


13

Man. 1


Kiddo

BY GAIL EGBESON

I know the past, I live the pain. But if i stay chained, There’s nothing to claim. I know the dark I see through it. Its just the light, i wont admit. I see my life. It shines so bright. Ive dream it once or twice. I do this for you. More work to prove. I’ll be whoever i want to. Lets clear up now, Rebellion fit well But with it i cannot move further. Sketch’s The art! She’s holding it up The map just sees right through me. She’s hurt you gave up. To her so abrupt This wasn’t the vision she came for. She wants it for you, and so do you, So why just lay here and do nothing? You haven’t outgrown her She sees the yuck You’ve grown without a refund.

14


15 That adulthood scheme? The ghetto it seems. There aint no path back here. Remember this day, You mustn’t forget Young Abs will get her own future. I owe it to her. Lets clean off this muck, We’ll bless the world! They’ll witness these pearls. Im running this race. The vision our base. Yes kiddo, we will be remembered.


16

MICHELLE WANHA

Things That Make Netsai Smile

I saw a cloud of red dust like Mohlomi saw in his predictions before he died. And after that, I started having dreams of myself eating my own flesh. Skin so tough, it would take a while for it to tear open. And when it did, I just kept chewing and chewing and chewing, until I tasted its zinc. The red in my clear glass mug slowly began to turn to brown as I started to remember where I was. At work, in a social cluster of about four people, excluding myself. Outside, the trees were bony and the clouds wore a heavy grey. Still, the office insisted on keeping the aircon on. Because of this, my body is as stiff as my smile. And my smile is wide and white. So wide, my cheeks are wearing out. But I relax them when I decide that enough time has passed for the joke to be considered irrelevant. Eventually, I lose myself in the liquid brown of my coffee again. Swirling the clear glass mug, amidst my tiredness. My tired bones. My tired flesh. My tired melanin. My tired smile. “Dineo.” I hear Matthew call out. “Dineo, are you with us?” he adds, jokingly. I pull my head up, and the small group begins to quieten. But then one woman forces a laugh to ease the still, and says, “Dineo’s over there, Matt,” pointing to the only other Black girl in the room. “Her name is Nene, remember?” she concludes, as she pats my shoulders consolingly, continuing to laugh it off. I pull my smile again and laugh it off too. But inside, I’m bubbling. And the bubbles continue to bloat as I quietly look at Matt, and then at that bitch, Dineo. This performance. I am fucking sick of it.


17

I just need a quick break; I think to myself. So, when a lag finally arrives in the conversation, I manage to slip out and move towards the kitchenette. The kitchenette is adorned with worn-out cream tiles that have a fading pattern of pretty blue swirls. I walk towards the countertop and rest my elbows on top of it, as I witness a few bodies spill out of the area, returning to their rightful places. Sipping the last bit of my coffee as I swallow an aspirin pill, I notice a woman who is about to walk past me. So, I stretch my long, thin legs behind me, and force her to fall. I keep my lips still, making sure they don’t curl upwards. And when I see that I have enough control over my smile, I bend over to help the woman back up. She seems convinced that I pushed my leg backwards by mistake. This office forces an oblivious tiredness. A tiredness that yearns for momentary solitude in the kitchenette. And impromptu stretches before we contort our bodies, through arched backs, in front of our drafting tables. She understands. But sometimes I don’t understand myself. The things I do, and the reasons I do them. It’s the rage in me, I suppose. Forced to be contained in a cool temperament, soft face and a white, sterile accent. When I return to the countertop, Matthew walks in. He carries a smug walk. Maybe it’s by the way he fits his hands into his pocket, thumbs out. And how he slightly holds his chin up, alluding to his perfect posture. I suck my teeth before I pull a smile again. “Hey Nene,” he says assuredly, “are you looking for more?” “Hi Matt, and yes, I just finished mine,” I reply, as I pull my body up from the counter, and watch him search through the cupboards for a tin of instant coffee. I then spot his clear glass mug that’s almost emptied. So, I quickly sift through my small purse to find my laxatives, slipping one in, and then another, and then another again, just to make sure that they can work fast enough.


18

But they barely manage to dissolve. They’ll melt eventually, I think. Luckily coffee is a drink to drink slowly, otherwise, he’d undeniably notice the small little white pills dancing in his clear glass mug. Unlike what I afforded the woman earlier, I don’t force my smile away now. Instead, I allow the corners of my lips to rise. Slowly. I think it’s because I’m satisfied with the thought of him shitting until the relation between him and shit is finally acknowledged by the rest of the office. Finally, Matthew pulls out a tin of coffee, pours a few spoons into the filter of a coffee maker, and brews the water until it turns muddy. Like red earth mixed in a bath. When it finishes, he brings a kitchen towel to the arm of the coffee pot and begins to pour a bit into my mug and his own. “What are you smiling at?” Matthew eventually asks as he puts the coffee pot down, and returns the tin into the cupboard. “Nothing.” I reply, still smiling, “Just thinking about a funny memory." Matthew shrugs, and continues: “She’s assimilating fast, isn’t she? Dineo, I mean.” “Yes, I don’t know how she does it. You know she knows all our names already?” I reply teasingly. A part of me hoping that he can read my anger in between each vowel. But it seems as if he hasn’t heard a thing. “She’s really serious about this job. Did you hear that she already sent in those sketches for March? She’s making us all fucking look bad,” he says, giggling as he sips some of his hot coffee. I giggle too. My eyes dropping to observe his mug for a bit, and then moving out of the kitchen to search for Dineo. “Don’t let her zealousness fool you, though. She’s new. Give her a few months and then her pace should ease.”


19 “Like yours?” And there’s his response. His passive-aggressive tone failing to escape him. I thought he had missed my joust earlier. I laugh again, and I’m hoping he doesn’t discover how mechanic it really is. I can feel my body labour to push air through my lungs, and irritate my throat to produce sound. All of this to pull a laugh out from my chest. Matthew then walks out of the kitchen, while I follow closely behind. Shifting from one conversation to the next until we return to the social cluster. But I notice a small change to it because Dineo’s amongst the group now. She’s wrapped her long, thin fingers from both hands around a mug, that’s still a bit full. She then takes a sip from it, and I begin to notice her cheap, bright red lipstick, at odds with her bare, clean face. Her eyebrows are sparse, and so are her eyelashes. The lack of facial hair makes her eyes look large, and in turn, her disposition soft. But I hated those large, empty eyes, her boring face and those lanky fingers. I simply hated Dineo in all her entirety. Rage so abundant, I didn’t know what to do with it, until recently. So, I told the office stories of Dineo’s supposed thieving inclinations. Weeks of subliminal and easy convincing. Her long fingers weren’t for nothing, after all. Now Jessica has witnessed her steal a pack of staples; Claire has learned that she got a position through a ‘racist’ quota and I saw her flirt with Leandri’s fiancé, Matthew. It’s her hands. Those fucking long hands. The way they grip a pencil, and the way they can draw beautiful straight lines. Up and down, left and right, till they mould a perfect square. And then another square. And then one of the best designs ever produced from this firm. I’m convinced that she is here to displace me. That’s how these things work. Two of us is pushing it. I stretch my hand towards Dineo’s, and Dineo places her thin fingers into my palm. I hold it tightly and smile until she smiles too. Then I let go to greet another co-worker who had just joined the group chat. Afterwards, Leandri tugs on my white blouse and pulls me away. And with her very faint Afrikaan’s accent, she whispers: “Where’s Matt, Nene? Have you seen him? I had noticed Leandri’s impulsiveness, and that her impulsiveness was so neatly tied to her anger. Anger she liked to keep for a very long time. And an anger I thought I could keep for myself too.


20 “I don’t know. Last time I saw him, he was talking to you know who.” I lie. Now Leandri’s forehead crinkles, and some freckles hide in between the folds of her skin. “You know, Jessica saw her take a few staples last time. Fucking klepto,” Leandri mutters angrily. “Don’t forget that she probably wants to use her long fingers to take more than just that,” I suggest, as I move my hand up and down to gesture a handjob. “Never mind. I shouldn’t have said that.” I add quickly, faking regret. Leandri shrugs to appear nonchalant, but her disdain for Dineo remains evident by the way she pulls one side of her lips upwards as if she’s smelling something foul. There’s a brief pause until I allow myself to speak again, changing the subject. “Anyway, I’m glad you called me. We still have to move the printer upstairs, remember? Let’s do it after lunch.” I suggest. Leandri nods in response before I return to the group. And when I do, I lose myself in the swirls of my coffee again. With the brown turning to red. Mohlomi said he saw a cloud of red dust in his dreams. Coming from the east to consume their tribes. There was a need for sustenance. And because resources were low, it required a few to chew through brown sheaths, until they saw red, and then white. Now I found myself looking into Dineo’s empty eyes again. Pulling the friendliest, toothless smile I could ever muster. “You don’t mind, neh?” I ask casually. “Not at all. I’ve finished most of my work anyway, so I have time to spare.” Dineo replies. “Okay, she must be waiting by the printer by now. Just put it on the trolley over there and then take it to the elevator – to the new printing room.” Watching her as she leaves, I make sure to hold my smile. And then, from a distance, I observe her as she walks towards Leandri, who is standing beside a bulky, cream-coloured printer. Dineo waves and Leandri waves back until she reaches the printer. Then they both hunch their backs to reach the bottom of the machine; lifting it up and taking small, timid steps towards a heavy-duty trolley. I see Leandri’s iris shift to the corner of her eyes, until she turns her head to my direction, acknowledging my piercing gaze. I proceed to shake my head softly. Up and down, and up and down again. The gesture should be clear. It can’t mean anything else, and I think Leandri understands that.


21 So, gradually, she loosens her grip, her sweaty hands, as well as her anger, helping her fingers slide. And then, a heavy and loud thud follows. There, red spreads from the bottom of the clunky machine, and spills into the carpeted floor; Dineo’s long, thin fingers crushed by its weight. And from afar, with my two hands clasped together, I smile.


22

14th & Constitution 1. by AMA So I guess now I’m a domestic terrorist I usedta live in dc Really move through it Like a woman in the know Of the concrete and brick buildings Very familiar with The heavy sound of congas Steelpan drums Alleyways and corner store runs I used to really live in dc Mark my name on newspaper stands Hop the fare gates Slide in between closing doors, and find my favorite spot I was / we were / the back and bone of this Restless city Kind in its ways Abrupt/ but lovable Loud/ but rarely boring This used to be a city of homes And dancing bodies Since our great grandmothers and fathers Stumbled into this swampy marsh Cotton and mud on their arms and legs Flavoring this inconsequential District With the thick slurred language of Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, and North Carolina Mixing them in a way only colored folk can Some chocolate comes from cocoa plants Ours came from our parents


23 Who told us keep ten toes down Ur head on a swivel Cus u never know what’s lurking around Around the bend for u— Opps donned in badges, others with social capital And monies Itching to rob u Of ur home And well-deserved identity I usedta live here Now I bleed on the corners Die In between torn asunder Communities Barbed wires and empty promises

2. So, to quell my aching spirit I took to the streets Brandishing all the weapons I could find— Glocks, knives, tasers, and mace— And became a domestic terrorist I pushed newcomers off the sidewalks Hoping to send A sliver of satisfaction to my people—dead and displaced I bust the windows out their cars Screamed “go home! We want our city Our music, and claim to our culture Back” We want our sweet mangoes back Guzzlers Singles and a safer Barry Farms back I lit flame to the monuments Burned ‘Soufeast’ into the Mall Until it was made clear That this city was meant for the blackened I picketed on 14th and Constitution I yelled at the top of my lungs that This ode to history and culture is nothing When vessels of said “history and culture” Are discarded wiped out I threw landlords from The top floors of their buildings I dethroned Lincoln from his Seat/ porcelain like the teeth Of Washington’s first slaves I used the parcels of his remains To etch my name All along Independence Avenue


3. I cut myself open and Recolored the scape of my city Until it was Black like it was meant to be

24


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