How To Befriend a Brown Girl: Part 1

(working title)

On Hair:
  1. Don’t ask to touch my hair as you’re touching my hair.
  2. Don’t touch my hair.
  3. Don’t ask to touch my hair.
  4. Don’t ask if my hair is real.
  5. Don’t ask how I get my hair to look so pretty.
  6. Don’t ask what I’m mixed with because my hair is so pretty.
  7. Don’t tell me you wish you could have hair like mine.
  8. Don’t.
Your fingers in my hair without my consent or expressed permission
Is like a statement that black bodies are akin to amusement parks
That America’s history of disregarding black bodies is lost on you and will continue to be so
Chains. Whips. Water hoses. Dogs. Eurocentric ideas of beauty and now your fingers in my damn hair.
Our bodies have never been ours.
They have only been whatever you choose to make of them.
They have never merited kindness and care.
A stranger putting their hands on you without your consent
Is assault
Except when it comes to black hair and black bodies
I’m only beautiful when you’re around to see it
I’m only pretty when you’re around to tell me
Even my love for myself and my blackness is offensive to you
I can only love myself in ways that you approve.
In secret and in whispers
Because black girls are too rowdy
We’re too angry
We’re a handful
We’re too much
Too much
And not enough
I am not enough for you to view my body as my sanctuary
My hair as my glory
Not enough to prevent you from violating sacred ground
To claim for your amusement.
I am too much
And not enough
Not enough to keep your fingers out of my damn hair.


I’m only half black
Those are the modifiers assigned to my blackness
I am not like those other girls
I am “pretty for a black girl”
I am the exception
And so I look around and see beauty identified as something else
As anything other than me
Beauty is for white girls
And I am a shade too brown
And a touch too ethnic
I guess I’ll eat in the kitchen

If You Leave…

If you leave,
I’ll be empty
But empty is who I am.
I’m wrapped in twilight and silence
And hollow to the core.
If you leave,
I’ll still be empty,
Lying broken,
Craving more.
But if you leave,
I could breathe.
I’d still be empty
Nothing more.

Based on: 


I can hear them there
Voices tip toeing like thieves
Beyond the edges of my consciousness
Wrangling with my guilt
Poisoning my thoughts
With fears dipped in acid
And force fed into my dreams
Eating away
Until my secrets are coated in pain
Eating away
Until crimson regret and silent longing
Push me down to languish in self loathing

I can hear them there
Releasing all my secrets
Giving life to all my fears
Stripping disguises made from tears
So they no longer hide my face

I can hear them there.
Someone shut them up.
I can’t make them shut up.

Loosely based on the Daily Prompt:

The Corner of My Smile

I hide my secrets in the corner of my smile
Where no one thinks to look.
Hidden in the curves of a subtle smirk,
Perched prominently on my face
And still no one thinks to look.

And in the corner of my eyes
I hide my feelings for you.
Crystalline and sharp edged,
My eyes run red when they escape
To the corners of my mouth.

Sometimes I find the red trails they have etched into my skin
And sometimes I clutch my chest in agony,
For I can see the scars they have worn into my heart,
Seeking a way in.
Seeking a way out.

When they escape,
They whisper in my ear.
They whisper
And they remind me
That I want to kiss my secrets onto your collar bone.
Whisper them into the hollow of your throat,
And trace them onto your lips
With fingers dipped in heat.
I want to scratch them into your back
And scream them into the empty spaces between our bodies.

Then I’ll listen for your secrets
Clinging to the edges of your laughter,
Swimming through your veins,
And embedded in the looks between us.
I will listen for them
And I will keep them safe.
I’ll lay awake at night
And listen to their whispers
Before adding them to the corner of my smile.