Our Black Magic
I am standing in line for coffee, it is early and the windows are fogged,
The morning chill still rattling in my bones when I hear a voice behind me,
lowered to a whisper. A girl says, in a tone of disgust-
“It can’t be that bad to be black”
I do not turn around and school this girl about how bad it actually is.
being in America, feeling as though you’re not all that American and being
African but to them you’re just not African enough!
That when we signed up for the American dream–
we didn’t get to read the fine print written in invisible ink.
I don’t say that it gets quite difficult to sleep when I keep mistaking my white
sheets for a noose each time they tangle around my neck.
I don’t say that there is always a funeral marching through my veins for people like
Sandra Bland, Roy Nelson, Kevin Matthews and Tiara Thomas,
that there is a vigil held in the glow of my skin!
I don’t tell her that on my worst days, days like
this–my very own stomach aches with the blood that fills it from biting my tongue. Instead,
I think to tell her about the untouchable, unfathomable beauty
we possess, sometimes so beautiful it’s considered a crime!
I think I’ll tell this uneducated girl about our black magic,
I think I’ll tell her about the time my mother told me the story of my birth.
How I came out screaming a song of liberty.
How my brand new melanin shown against the fluorescent
lights and I was still brighter! I think about the coil of my hair with every
bounce in the steps I take. I won’t tell her about how our skin is so used
to producing dead things…I mean, history.
I shouldn’t have to explain to her that all our different shades of brown
are just as significant as her ivory piano key hue.
I think of my sun absorbing,
earth toned beauty, we are rich in all the ways money can never buy!
I almost utter the story of how my grandmother’s grandmother was cut
open because they wanted to see if she bled red like they did only to find that
she bled pure gold! I realize this rattling in my bones is not because of the cold.
I don’t say a thing to this girl, but when I leave the sun has fully risen, the day is warm and there is light gleaming through me-
This is our black magic.
First I told her to straighten her hair,
Said her face was too round, cheeks too
Fat–straighten her hair to cover all that.
I told her to run more, run faster, harder-
Walk everywhere. The more weight you
Lose, I said, the better.
I told her to shed her skin,
then that one after,
It was easy to tear her down, she was never
Quite properly built up to begin with–
Her foundation was crumbling, insides rotting,
All she needed was a shove.
I began to tell her secrets to the walls
so it would echo back to her and she’d hear how
Ugly she truly was. I’ve been destroying her
From the inside out. She’s been gifted with a
Robotic mouth, telling others they are goddamn
Beautiful in all their glory.
That all her brown is amazing,
I told her to be careful with her melanin,
wouldn’t want to smudge anything.
I am her most dedicated bully, been at it since she was
Twelve years old, no one knows her like me!
Call me disgusting, call me heartless, society,
Caution, all you want but she’s been asking for this.
I know you see the way she holds herself like she’s
Made of broken glass, the way she practices
folding into herself like sloppy origami- they called
Her freight train for the way she walked, never stopping,
Always going, like the ground was disappearing, they
Sat back waiting for the collision, I know you see that…
It’s hard to miss.
I started telling her that what she said
didn’t matter. Then judged her for what she wrote on the page,
I broke this girl! Stripped her down to nothing,
Collected her scraps and ground them in my iron fist,
Simply because she asked me to, got on her knees and
Begged for this.
When I’m done for the day,
I force her heavy legs to stand in front of the mirror.
She looks a lot like me, she sees her ugly truth.
There it is–the wolf in Human skin.
Being Truthful with My Therapist
It must have been easy to do the
Procedure. To tear through my chest,
Rip up the bone and dislodge my heart
With bare hands, no anesthetics needed.
When I describe this to my therapist she
Tells me to elaborate, so I say I feel like
Wrapping paper, all pretty and neat- being
Ripped apart on christmas morning by a
Glee filled child.
She tells me to stop trying to sound like a poet,
I tell her to stop trying to sound like a handbook.
Try to explain how I feel like a sidewalk on most
Days, like people are running and stomping and
Building all over me.
My therapist tells me she doesn’t know what I mean, so I
Struggle to find the right tools for this execution,
Dig through my stomach for the perfect DIY noose
And show her my handy work. When she asks me how
That makes me feel I tell her about my fascination for
Thunderstorms and how it comforts me to know
That sometimes, the sky needs to scream too.
She cries when I don’t and asks me exactly how I’m feeling.
Like an extraterrestrial, I say, like I’ve got two
Moons for feet and my name is a galaxy, pronounced
Like “release” and everyone is trying to open me up
To see how my insides work. To this, she sighs and
Closes her notebook and tells me–
Perhaps, I need more sleep.
Daezsanae (Day-zuh-nay) preferably Daisy, is an eighteen year old full time writer and lover of words. Daisy is an aspiring author who lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and attends CAPA (creative and performing arts high school).