A black man’s job should never make him think
about Spike Lee movies, so I won’t
go to the next staff meeting and joke
about there being no brothers
on the wall in any of the office posters.
Besides, there’s only one other brother in the office
and a couple of sisters, and, if they missed
out on the joke, this job would be lonelier than it is.
I know I should be better
than counting the number of black faces
in every room I walk into, but I’m still a slave
to the mathematical proof of one black face
+ one black face = infinity or zero
black faces because America
doesn’t know the difference between two black faces
and an armada of black faces.
America only knows a black face means it’s time to fire
off a question about basketball or Black Panther.
If there were more brothers on the wall
and more brothers and sisters in the hall,
then maybe I wouldn’t leave
my door closed so much. But maybe
I would close it more because I don’t know
how to love a black face because I never wanted to
see my own face as anything more than a rental
that wasn’t likely to make it
past its warranty. I’m only playing
a role. I’m Mookie. I’m Raheem. I’m the Mayor.
I’m the heat making the world
squirm and scowl and hate
God for making me.