Brown Skin LadyPosted: August 26, 2013
Brown Skin Lady
I never looked at you like you were brown
skinned meaning you are not black, meaning
your tongue can wrap around America
like a scarf as you curse at the television. I’m in
the kitchen trying to make lentils like yours
and it’s so windy in Brooklyn that a tree branch
taps my window like out of a horror movie
(where the black guy always gets killed first).
The TV shows the dirt where you were born from
smoking and little halos of dust remember
your first breath that doesn’t look dangerous
even washed in bullets your mother doesn’t look
dangerous and I picture you climbing some fruit tree
and yanking the most dangerous fig from it, for her.
You are the blackest of the black the most hated
most dangerous even now as the branch outside
my kitchen window is shaped like your name
in Arabic and reminds me who I eat daal with
who I wanna change the pronunciation of god for,
just so I can wrap a ring around your finger
and call you mine.
Editor’s note: Michael wrapped that ring around Sara’s finger this August!
Michael Cirelli is the author of THE GRIND (Hanging Loose Press, 2013), EVERYONE LOVES THE SITUATION (Penmanship Books, 2011), VACATIONS ON THE BLACK STAR LINE (Hanging Loose Press, 2010), and LOBSTER WITH OL’ DIRTY BASTARD (Hanging Loose Press, 2008), which was a New York Times best-seller from an independent press and was featured in the “Debut Poets” Issue of Poets & Writers magazine. He has also authored two curricula, Poetry Jam (Recorded Books, 2010) and Hip Hop Poetry & The Classics (Milk Mug, 2004),and is the Executive Director of Urban Word NYC. As a performer, he has been a National Poetry Slam finalist and was featured on the HBO series Def Poetry Jam and Brave New Voices. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.