I need to believe her when she says black
is a goddess with black eyes,
and tightly curled black hair
catching stars as she glides atop a black stallion
across a moon-night blue sky –
she assures me that black is light.
black is contrast and contrarian:
we say black poet, black doctor
because we need sculptors to carve lines
against the edge of black to contain it
today’s lesson: tell me, how does a poet
become a black poet? a man become a black man?
Ask Tiger –
after his mug-shot.
somewhere, always here, in america
my poetry is rendered black
does that mean it is dark? Unrefined?
art without enslaved black bodies, the editor says, is colorless,
devoid of contrast, meaning
does trauma have a color?
come on, you know the “black experience.” you’re black.
does that mean I’m threatening or that I’m starless?
O, stop being dark – where’s your edge, your fire
unarmed black woman?
Don’t you know how to be black