Poetry Hour: Shade

Screen shot 2014-03-20 at 1.51.58 AMShade

“Light skinned girls be like”     I’m mixed           French           English                Irish

not rape        forget one drop                 I’ll drop it low for Drake                   He understands

& when Lil Wayne said,            “beautiful black woman, I bet she look better red.”

possibly he forgot       his daughter           brown goddess        but light must be right

it contains                 the same ghostly present                     used to divide blackness


Colorism is that               grotesque gargoyle                          it lurks in playgrounds

relationships & households               that wash brains                 into wars about shade


“Dark skinned girls be like”                 I’m the catalyst for this black shit             I am

descendant       of some African queen                      I’m so glad         no light skin

as if       some disease         as if negro not vast enough to hold all umbra

from hazelnut colored creamer          to $20 dollar dark chocolate


No teams                               God’s use of melanin                   shouldn’t brew brown beef

our self-esteem            not silly putty                   marketed against us

seeing is not believing                      brown                         not just an adjective

it’s a responsibility              to greet queens                             as female sovereigns


We let the world          tell us more                    than our mothers

we turn to European lies                favoring

thin noses        straight teeth             small butts         perpendicular hair

but not even bleach             can diminish the               growl in our barks        or the

command in our strut


We          sisters                              same tribe            same fight

against over sexed stereotypes

comparing cocoa complexions                     vs                     Sara Baartman prototype

naked frame                    framed us                      all the same

yet we make rivals                        within pigment                              like being marked

onyx                       will                           melt                                                     away

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