Skimming the surface


I feel seen by your eyes; this frightens me

A bead of sweat drips down your face. I stare, enthralled. I find myself contemplating its flavor.

Your mouth has got me shook. I cant. Stop. Staring.

I peek inside your mind and find it lined with shelves, littered with papers and books, some left open and forgotten. I imagine you skim through them from time to time. But only when necessary

I want to be there when you get out of the shower to smooth your skin with shea butter while your body is still steaming, and hot, and wet

Sometimes, I imagine you’re stretched out beside me. We lay on cool green grass below a tall sprawling tree, sheltered from the blazing sun

you know how when you’re reading and you realize your mind has wandered? Well, my mind wanders to you

I fantasize about loving you. For this, I blame you and I blame Audre. In no particular order.

If I’m right, you think of me slightly less than I think of you, this both draws me back and drives me forward

List for me the following:

your favorite book

your favorite poem

your favorite song

I want to search for you in their words

The next time we are alone, I will not tell you how I feel

I write around you, not about you. I tell myself skimming over you is easier than diving in.

To the White Man Who is No Longer a Part of the Conversation:

I bet it hurts you, doesn’t it?

to think that there is something

in this world which does not

revolve around you

it must shock you to think that

though the fuckery stemmed from you

you are no longer a factor in this equation

I’ve cancelled you out

smudged the edges of

my apartment and

ushered the toxicity

which is your imprint

upon my flesh

out of the building

you are hereby dismissed

do not think for one moment

I am sorry to see you go

you who have fetishized

raped and abused me

crawled between my

bones and my flesh and

leaked out your poison

What really gets me?

you’re convinced this is love

your smugness is nauseating

your certainty preposterous

yet you stay firmly planted

rooted in the rewritten history

you believe is your truth

your blindness is appalling

your presence is threatening

it is time for you

to exit the conversation.


Mad as Hell

Cant you see your ignorance brings pain
Over and over and over again?

Tell me, what do you get 

From being an insufferable fucking twit?
I’d smack hard upon your face

If I thought for a second it would make you change
But your ingnorance is so deeply ingrained

It’s not astounding to see you have no shame

Benefiting from bodies lain

Casually in unmarked graves
Where will you be in a hundred years

When all that remains of us are your tears

Trickling down your pale white face

As buildings burn and what’s left of your race
Are sitting on the searing coals

With nothing to eat and only each other to hold?


I had a dream that you walked away from me

Your eyes slid from my face like a sliding glass door

Clicking into place

On the street in front of you

You were wearing a black baseball jacket 

With a black baseball cap

Cocked to the side in the way that you do

Always leaning, always swayin’

And there was something in your eyes

A finality

Which leaves me wondering if 

Dream has finally merged with reality.

Dear white boy,

Do “I hate you” and “I love you” mean the same to you?

Because it seems to me at times, you may confuse the two

You’re the type of boy who’d fuck me thinking “Nigger”

Who’d ask again and again if black men’s cocks are bigger

I see you

Walking like you own the place,

Like god cried in the heavens the day that your face

Cracked open your mother’s legs so you could stand before me and say

“I hate you”

Boy, Imma laugh in your face.

Solving for F


My brain has been ticking for months

got me feeling like math class,

pulling my gum, twisting it around my finger

eyes fixed on the page, staring at the problem,

body cemented in angsty agony

praying for the bell to ring

so I can put it aside for another day

begging the universe for more time

to try figure out how to solve for F

Freedom or Facism


freedom from facism

How do I balance the equation?

Got me like Taraji in Hidden Figures

up on that ladder

skirt leaning while I sway

I need me a computer

in the form of all those brilliant

rad and mad woc who got us to space

I need to accept that computer is the way to soar

Yeah, I think that is a metaphor

We’ve got to teach us how

to break these chains and fly

We be how we solve for F

Computing, how to Fuck this Shit all the way Up.

On being black in white spaces

It eats at you, little by little
Tries to peel you open and gnaw at the core of what makes you human

Tries to gnaw at the core of what makes you magic

What makes you sing from that space of history and ancestry and truth

That feeling that makes your body hum as music rises up from your gut, around your heart and out your soulful lips

You sing to elevate the spirit and carry the soul to the heights it was formed to go

You let your blackness radiate in heavy, shining waves around you

Deterring anyone who might think to tear you down, who might think to make you feel small

Sometimes you falter

Sometimes you get afraid. You get tired

You let them tear at you, peel you open

Grab your guts and show them to you. Like they weren’t just ripped out from your own stomach

And then you wake up, you come to

You get hugged by a tall woman with long, dark twists that graze lazily across her back, skin smooth and the color of chestnuts

She holds you to her chest and whispers that you are a god, you are powerful

You are magic

She reminds you to shine, to burn bright

She reminds you that you need radical love, and radical honesty

She reminds you that fire hums in the pit of your stomach

You remember that you forgot to love yourself, appreciate yourself

Trust yourself.

You remember what it feels like to blaze

Blood Letting

Lets talk about 

Blackness and 

Blood and 

How often they go 

hand in hand

Blood being shed 

in streets

Blood being spilled 

at birth

blood being let 

in sorrow

Blood though, 

Our blood 

Is the oil that fuels 


Holds our magic

And it courses 

Through us 

Setting off eruptions 

As it goes 

Racism in your Living Room

I’m tired. There has been this trend in my life of white people, predominantly white men, who feel the need to tell me something about blackness. A joke, a story, an observation… This need is so overwhelming in fact, that they feel it necessary to encroach upon my safety and the safety of those around me. To the point of physical violence.

What’s more, these men cannot seem to fathom the fact that I have less than no interest to hear, engage or indulge their certain to be offensive and off base anecdotes.

This seems to enrage them. Beyond reason. That’s not to say that they were all that reasonable to begin with, but they lose it. Shoot directly to rage, then bargaining, then back to rage.

Some of these incidents, the last two, actually, occur after at some point in the night, I have rejected some sort of advance from them. How dare I not allow myself to be fetishized?

I see the changes in them. See the confusion work across their face, ugly and stupid. Watch as confusion morphs into bargaining, then rage.

And when I push back? Talk back. Rage back ?!

They’re beyond reason. They push people. Hit people.  Break things. I cock my head while looking at them, watch as they throw temper tantrums on a massive, dangerous scale.

These men live in Portland. Drink at your bars, walk down your streets. Hang out in your living rooms. 

Privilege is a hell of a drug.

At times, it’s as though I can hear inside their heads, thoughts spiraling. I see the fetishization of myself in their eyes, projecting onto me like a shroud.

They move toward me, eyes glazed. They step forward, I step back. They step forward, I step back, a rage filled dance.

Until I stop.  Until I’m done. Until I move forward. Advancing. Raging. Throwing their language back in their face. Stronger. Righteous. Knowing that the odds are not stacked in my favor. Knowing how precarious the state of my body is.

But heres the thing:

I’m done. I’m tired. I will no longer allow people to press their will onto my own. Racially, emotionally, physically, sexually, I’m done. For twenty-seven years, this body has been a dumping ground for other people’s baggage – garbage that they have forgotten, neglected, or refused to unpack – and I’m sick of it.

So, the next time you have an urge to tell me (or any other black person, for that matter) something about blackness. Don’t. Just – dont.

I promise you, we don’t want to hear it.